Travel and Immigration Reform: Happy or Satisfied


My suitcase has worn out its wheels in five years of rolling around the house, from one corner to the other. The underwear stored in the little thing has lost its elasticity and its color has faded. The airline tickets I never used are gone, after postponing them over and over they ended up in the trash. My friends have said goodbye to me so many times and so many times I didn’t go, that the farewell has become routine. The cat adopted as his own that handbag I never managed to take on a plane, and the dog chewed on the shoes meant for a trip I could not take. Nor did the picture my friend gave me of the “Virgin of Good Travel” resist the test of time and even the shine in her eyes has gone out.

After five years of demanding my right to travel outside the country, today I woke up to the news of travel and immigration reform. My first impression was to shout “Hurrah!” mid-morning, but as the day advanced I considered the shortcomings of the new law. Finally the objectionable Permit to Leave has been eradicated, as well as the annoying Letter of Invitation that we needed to leave our own country. However, now in the issuance and validation of passports they will define those who can cross the national frontiers and those who cannot. Although the costs of the paperwork will be less and I imagine the time required shortened, this is not the new travel and immigration law we were waiting for. Too limited, too narrow. But at least it has put in writing a legality as a starting point from which we can now demand, protest, denounce.

In my case I am going to believe – until January 14, 2013 – that I am not on any “black list” and that the ideological filters to leave have come to an end. I will fill out the application for a new passport, and wait with that dose of ingenuousness necessary to survive, to not become apathetic. I will be there when they open the doors to decide which Cubans can board a plane and which will continue under the “insular imprisonment.” And my suitcase will be at my side, with worn out underwear, unworn shoes, and a pale picture of Mary who no longer knows if she’s leaving or returning, if there are reasons to be happy or to be satisfied.

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164 thoughts on “Travel and Immigration Reform: Happy or Satisfied

  1. I just wonder if you are able to leave the island is there a possibility that you would not be allowed to return?

  2. Greetings from California. Our Ethnic Studies class has just finished Havana Real. We would like to commend you on your courage for speaking out against such corruption and censorship. Your book has educated forty students to the harsh realities of Cuba. We look forward to a day where you can travel freely and educate the rest of Cal Poly on the current state of Cuba.

  3. We are students from California who have read your book Havana Real and your blog Generation Y. In class we have discussed the issues you bring up in your book and the issue of travel restrictions on your country sparked our interest. Our class thinks that the removal of the travel restrictions on your country will help the Cuban economy, and the people. However, like you, we are skeptical of what the Cuban government promises and believe that there seems to be much more than travel that needs to be reformed within Cuba. Do you think that travel will help your economy as well as the people’s morale? If so, do you think this will be the start of more reforms?

  4. We were just discussing these issues in our ethnic studies class and talked about the issues regarding traveling in and out of the country. We were discussing the actuality of the travel ban being lifted and if the information we had seen came from a reliable source, it is refreshing to see this post and the possibility of the traveling restrictions eventually being lifted. We have read your book in our class and feel that your actions have inspired a new generation to take further actions about these issues. We also believe that with the possibility of being able to travel even more change can be done and will benefit Cuba and those who are wanting change.

  5. When backpacking in Cuba you are reeqirud to have with you at the airport $50.00 CUC Cuban Convertible Pesos cash per day staying. This is to show customs that you have enough to live and get by. A hotel will cost you from $30 to $60 CUC. However I recommend staying at a Casa Particular for about $25.00 CUC per day and this includes breakfast. Meals will run you about $5 CUC each. There are buses that are air conditioned and will run you about $15.00 CUC between major cities. Taxi’s are available but more expensive. Usually $45.00 CUC between cities. You can access cash at Cadecas or Banks. These are open during business hours. Please note that most banks will be closed during the first week of January for National Holiday. Any credit card run through Citibank or any other American bank will not work. Capital One MasterCard’s will not work. Some Canadian Bank Credit Cards run through Citibank and also will not work. I recommend to check with your local bank before you travel. Non American Travellers checks can be redeemed at banks. Cubans are very friendly and don’t hate Americans. They will welcome Americans with open arms. If you decide to stay a day at the beach, an all inclusive resort will cost you up to $60.00 Cuc for a 2-3 Star and up to $120.00 CUC for a 4-5 Star. Bring Euros or Canadian Dollars as American Dollars will be taxed 10% and equals less than a Canadian Dollar. I just came back a few days ago and the current exchange rate gave me $79.00 to $83.00 CUC for every $100.00 CAD exchanged.I would recommend staying two or more weeks as there is much to see. I am assuming you are American. I would bring Cash as your cards will not work..

  6. check with the resort besacue some are adult only best to be sure before you go. I’ve seen people bring small kids to Cuba and the only thing is with the very little ones is bring enough diapers for the whole trip and sometimes kids don’t take very well to strange food. But otherwise they’ve had a hoot on the beach.

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  8. Is it great to see the brainwashed pioneers vrigade of 1 and a half loser going into panic mode when you aske them a simple question or throw them their own lies back into their faces????!!!!!

    IT”S GREAT!!!!

    Suddenly, they talk about ANYTHING except CUBA!!!

    Usually they attack you personally, which only goes to show how right you were.

    And the team :yoani” keep refusing to answer those simple questions about their lies and proaganda, but they

    I N S I S T

    that, for example, Mariela Castro asnwers their questions!!!

    What a bunch of hypocrites!!!

    Come on, heros! Explain to us how come you keep inventing some non-existent “foctor from naples” and keep pushing “Fidel is dead, or dying” lies day in and day out???

    What is the reason for that lie?

    Let me offer an explanation:

    Your pathological hatred of a country that you hate for being different! For not allowing you to buy property there and screw Cubans even more, by squeezing them out of their own homes and out on the street. Like the very team :yoani” suggested in that disgusting post about an old lady living in the mansion while a doctor, who had made his money on stealling from the hospital and doing plastic chirurgy on a side, lives in a 2 bedroom apartment…

    And I won’t even address the hypocrisy of that post now (suddenly, it was okay for the thief to steal from the hospital and make money in order to get that mansion from the old lady and leave her with a minute 2 br apartment…)

    Will you dare to explain this hypocrisy, hypocrites?

    I demand the pin-up granny nailbiter answers my question!!!! After all, she is, supposedly, the author of the post… right?

    Yeah, right… as if she would be able to write anything that intellectually rich!!!

  9. Post 153 from the copy and paste “genius”, yet again demonstrates the lack of intellectual )and I am talking a very basic ones here) to process the information presented.

    Even when that information is self-explanatory like the photo of Fidel holding the Granma with last Friday’s date…!!!!!

    Or Venezuelan ex-vice president, who has obviously the

    S A M E weight and hairdo

    www2.macleans.ca/ 2012/ 10/ 22/ photos-reports-confirm-fidel-castro-is-still-alive/ venezuelas-former-vice-president-elias-jaua-shows-a-picture-of-himsel f-and-former-cuban-leader-fidel-castro-in-havana

    You really need to be a copy and paste “genius” to see things that do not exist,

    And how sad you have to be to peddle the lie first and then when you get caught m blame a non-existent “change” in a hairdo and weight of a third person!!!!????

    That’s what happens to delusional people who think that for living a few years in Cuba makes them Cubans even though they are from Spain, for example.

    Like the copy and paste “genius”. Spaniard who lives in the usa and pretends to be a Cuban “dissident”!!!!

    LAUGHABLE stock!!!!

  10. Yeah, who would rather rely on government to see to their needs…

    Let us see, the public servants of the usa, the expresidents of the nazist gulag, who even have baby sitters to take care of them (after all the crimes against humanity, who wouldn’t feel unsafe…?) all the managers of all the failed usanian corporations who

    R U S HE D

    to the nazist government for heko when their “some kind of pragmatic capitalism” collapsed catastrophically, and the list foes on, and on, and on, and it is still going on…

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  12. THE CASTROFASCISTS AND THEIR FRIENDS ARE SOOO SLOPPY THAT THEY SHOW PHOTOS TO THE INTERNATIONAL PRES THAT DONT JIVE WITH REALITY IN ODER TO FOOL THE WORLD ABOUT THE HEALTH OF “THE MUMMY’ FIDE CASTRO! JUST GO ONLINE, GOOGLE Elias Jaua PHOTOS AND COMPARE THE PHOTO THE VENZUELAN EX “VICE-PRESIDENT” Elias Jaua FLASHES TO THE PRESS TODAY, WHICH HE SAYS WAS JUST TAKEN HOURS EARLIER WITH HIS CURRENT HAIR LENGTH AND WEIGHT VERSUS THOSE IN THE PHOTO. GUESS MEETING FIDEL CASTRO MAKES YOUR HAIR GROW AND IT MAKES YOU LOOSE WEIGHT!

  13. NOT ONLY HAVE THE CASTROFASCISTS FAILED TO SUPPLY THIS ELDERLY COUPLE WITH SOME METAL SHEATHING TO HELP FIX THEIR HOME WHICH WAS IRREPARABLY DAMAGED AFTER A JULY STORM BUT IN 2009 THEY LOST MORE THAN 30 ANIMALS AND THEIR VEGETABLE CROP WHEN THE “GOVERNMENT” SPRAYED PESTICIDES IN THE NEARBY SUGAR CANE FIELD! NO RESPONSE SO FAR FROM THE CASTROFASCISTS TO A LETTER DATED 2009 SENT TO HAVANA!

    YOUTUBE: Vivienda de ancianos en Cuba – The house of an elderly couple in Cuba! (SPANISH ONLY)

  14. Who, in their right mind, would want to “rely on the government to see to their needs”, rather than working each day in order to support themselves and their families? Should Cubans have to wipe their own a@ses, Cuba Libre?

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