NY Cubans Applaud Travel Changes in the Island
Cuba’s government announcement that long-held travel restrictions for their citizens will be eased is welcome news for Cubans in the tri-state area, El Diario La Prensa reported. The article was translated from Spanish.
Relief and hope was the reaction in New York to news that the Cuban government will put less hurdles to island residents who want to travel abroad.
After a deep sigh, Rogelio Vidal said that he yearns to bring his parents to visit, who have been denied the permit to leave Cuba three times.
“It’s simply an excellent news and a relief, as much for them — Cubans who live in the island — as for us, who live here in the United States,” said Vidal.
The policy, which will go in effect Jan. 13, was announced in the official newspaper Granma on Tuesday. It eliminates the permit that is mandatory for Cubans who want to travel from the island to other destinations. And it also does away with the requirement of an invitation letter to justify the trip.
Soledad Salgado has tried twice to process the travel permit for her sister who she hasn’t seen in six years.
“It’s been impossible, twice she has been denied the permit to travel because they say she is high risk for not returning back to Cuba,” said Salgado.
“Now I think that if she doesn’t need the permit, she is not going to have problems coming, at least for a few months,” she said.
The only requirements for travelers will be to have a valid passport and any visa required by the destination country.
Passports will be granted to those Cuban citizens that comply with the requisites established by the Migration Law, which has also been updated.
By the same token, the new policy extends to two years the permit of continued stay for Cubans living abroad that currently is a maximum of 11 months — with the possibility of requesting an extension — without losing their status of residents of the island, which grants rights to health, social security and education.
Nevertheless, the new policy still leaves in place travel restrictions for some sections of Cuba’s population, as a measure to avoid a brain drain.