The Fake Cuban Migration Reform

by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo    /  October 29, 2012  / No comments

Big changes but everything stays the same.

1947 Cuban Passport

1947 Cuban Passport. Photo: Silvia Calderon.

The Cuban government has officially announced that on January 14, 2013 it will abolish the country’s humiliating Entry and Exit Permits, which for decades have been the basis of the migration apartheid that has divided the Cuban family into two groups: Exiles (who cannot return to or reside in their homeland) and “insiles” (who cannot leave the Island freely).

  1. Is it worth-while to focus on the last images and letters coming from the inside of the last living utopia on Earth? Is Cuba by now a contemporary country or just another old-fashioned delusion in the middle of Nowhere-America? A Cold-War Northtalgia maybe? Can we expect a young Rewwwolution.cu within that Ancien Régime still known as The Revolution? I would like to provoke more questions than answers.
  2. Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo was born in Havana City and still resides and resists there, working as a free-lance writer, photographer and blogger. He is the author of Boring Home (2009) and is the editor of the independent opinion and literary e-zine Voces.

The Entry and Exit permits are a repressive visa that the Ministry of the Interior puts on a passport. Without the permits you can’t get through Cuban airports. The visa is used as political blackmail to buy the silence of Cuban citizens. Professionals, for example, have to wait years before they are given the right to travel. Peaceful protest against this never achieves anything, unless you ask to leave “in perpetuity,” a legal measure typical of the worst Latin American dictatorships.

There is a catch in the permit reform that was announced by General-President Raúl Castro on October 16 in La Gaceta Oficial (the state newspaper): The filter has now been transferred to the passport itself—not all Cubans will have the right to have one.

According to Article 23 of the recently published Legal Decree 302, a passport can be denied for “reasons of Defense and National Security,” or due to “obligations to the Cuban State or civil responsibility,” among “other reasons in the public interest,” in order to “preserve the qualified workforce for the economic, social, and scientific/technical development of the country.”

All this means that the socialist government is guaranteeing its enslaving control over the working masses, violating our human rights to travel and choose where to live. In practice Cuban society is once again falling behind an Iron Curtain (or, in this case, a Sugar Curtain).

The media’s reaction has led the world to believe that getting rid of the Cuban Entry and Exit Permits is a sign of democratizing liberalization. But what has taken place is just a coup de théâtre: Changing everything so that nothing can change.

About the Author

Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo was born in Havana City and still resides and resists there, working as a free-lance writer, photographer and blogger. He is the author of Boring Home (2009) and is the editor of the independent opinion and literary e-zine Voces.

View all articles by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

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