Photo: Berta Soler, Ladies in White with Passport
The leader of the Cuban dissident group Ladies in White was issued a passport Friday and said she hopes to travel outside the country for the first time next month.
“They gave me (the passport) today at 9:00 in the morning. I went in immediately, I signed, it was very fast,” Berta Soler told Efe by telephone.
Soler had applied for the document shortly after an overhaul of Cuba’s highly restrictive migration policies went into effect on Jan. 14.
She plans of visit Spain next month and to attend a regional conference on human rights in Panama next April.
“But having a passport in hand is no guarantee that I’ll be able to leave,” Soler said after some dissidents complained that the government had denied them permission to travel abroad.
Such is the case of Angel Moya, Soler’s husband, and of Jose Daniel Ferrer, both former political prisoners, who say the authorities refuse to process their passports for reasons “of public interest,” and because their sentences have not been fully served.
Both men are free on parole.
Lady in White Gisela Delgado said this week that, despite having a passport and having traveled abroad, authorities told her that she is no longer authorized to go outside the country because she appears on a “list of people who belong to counterrevolutionary cells.”
In contrast, Cuban authorities granted a passport last week to dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez after having denied her an exit permit on 20 separate occasions over the past five years.
Sanchez said this week that her first trip will be to Salvador, Brazil, where she hopes to be attend the Feb. 18 presentation of a documentary in which she appears.