Sunday, May 11, 2008

Cuba leaning towards free travel

Sun, 11 May 2008

Mariela Castro
The Cuban president's daughter tells a Spanish newspaper that Cubans should be free to leave the country as they wish.

Mariela Castro made the statement in an interview with the La Vanguardia. She said, "It is not necessary to deprive people of their right to leave. I think we should grant permission to all those who want to leave".

Usually, Cubans have to ask for prior authorization in order to travel abroad and the authorities in Havana even prevented the Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez from traveling to Madrid recently to receive a top journalism prize from Spain's El Pais daily, AFP reported.

Mariela believes her father, Raul Castro, who succeeded Fidel in February, wants to bring in reforms but "slowly".

This is while the Spanish daily El Pais cited an unnamed government official in April as saying that Raul Castro will soon give the green light to migration reform, simplifying exit and entry permits and ending the requirement for people to get permission to leave the country.

This potential shift would be the most significant one up to now by the 76-year-old president, who took office in February and has already ended several smaller prohibitions.

However, this kind of shift would test Cuba's stability, as the nearby US grants automatic residency and working rights to all Cubans who reach US soil.

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