Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cuba: Crossroads for Washington

The application of the new Cuban immigration reforms shatters the old stereotypes created by the fierce propaganda campaign carried out by the U.S. government against the Cuban Revolution. Washington will not be able to continue selling the ridiculous image of the island-prison that the big media has been spreading worldwide. The United States is exposed as the only American country that prevents its citizens from travelling, although such insulting fact will not appear in the headlines as noted by Cuban blogger Iroel Sanchez in his web page lapupilainsomne. The promoters of press freedom hide the fact that Americans are banned from traveling to Cuba. If they do so without authorization from Washington, they are heavily fined or sanctioned. However, from now on Cubans can not only travel anywhere in the world without having to perform cumbersome proceedings, but will be allowed to become residents or citizens of other countries, including the United States, without losing legal residence in Cuba. But this, if necessary, can be retrieved at any time upon request. Although the State reserves for reasons of national security or of public interest, the right to deny permission to travel to a minority of officials, scientists and elite athletes, we are seeing a willingness to make less use of that prerogative. Even the U.S. mercenaries on the island have proven that they can apply for a passport, so I guess as soon as they get it they will travel to the country that grants a visa. We know that they are not lacking money. The new legal regulations, with all its depth, come from a policy of gradual relaxation in immigration controls by the Cuban government. According to official data, between 2000 and August 2012, 99.6 per cent of the exit permits requested by Cubans were approved. In that period some 941, 953 persons travelled for private reasons, of whom 120, 275 did not return, equivalent to 12.8 per cent. Of travellers, 158, 68 were university graduates, of whom 10.9 per cent did not return. The figures clearly show that the vast majority of Cubans who travel come back to Cuba. So the versions or illusions of an alleged exodus are devoid of substance. Although I do not have official data, I know first-hand that many Cubans are returning to the island as a result of the crisis of capitalism or are moved by the growing facilities that are available to start a small business in the island. The impact of this change is such that just a few hours after taking effect it has leave the members of the Miami mafia dumbfounded, beyond uttering expressions like "everything that the Castro dictatorship does is to keep them in the power." For its part, the State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland and even the most anti-Cuban media like El País have called the new Cuban immigration reforms positive. The main problem now is to Washington, which will have to decide what to do with the famous Cuban Adjustment Act, which allows the granting of work permits, residence and naturalization to all Cubans who-legally or illegally-enter the United States. It is supposed to be politically persecuted, but very strange, because they have traveling for years to the island by hundreds of thousands and now they can do so with every facility imaginable from Havana. The vast majority are economic migrants and their political positions are far from those of the rabid Miami counterrevolution. With information from

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