A simple look

I read the exchange between Silvio Rodriguez and Adrian Leiva about the constraints on entering and leaving the country. In recent months, this has been one of the themes most discussed in Generation Y. I’ve come to be, to my regret, a specialist in every nuance of the restrictions on traveling outside the island. After checking around and verifying that these migratory restrictions don’t enjoy any popularity and that even an ex-parliamentarian has declared himself unhappy with them, the question I ask myself is why are they still in place?

The answer that occurs to me comes from a simple question: What will my neighbor—a communist party militant who’s never been sent on an official trip—think if I succeed in accepting one of my invitations from abroad?  What will happen to his ideological “loyalty” if he finds it’s not a prerequisite to step foot outside of Cuba? It will be a hard blow to him to see all those now on the black list of those who may not enter Cuba, arriving loaded down with gifts.

If applauding no longer wins you the privilege of buying a new refrigerator, spending a couple weeks at the beach, or receiving an incentive trip to the countries of Eastern Europe, what then is the advantage of maintaining the mask? I can only conclude that permission to exit or enter the country is one of the last dikes of containment, so that the waters of free behavior do not wipe out everything. The fear of not being granted the “white card” has remained one of the few reasons to keep faking it.

In Silvio Rodríguez’ blog: the letter from Adrián Leiva and Silvio’s answer are here.

7 thoughts on “A simple look

  1. Nico… I sent your comment to the WHITEHOUSE. Really, appreciate it. Everytime I see
    a new article re the OBAMA admiistration and Cuba I check the GEN Y blogs and
    comment and forward some on to the Whitehouse.

    Of course, I do hope someone there reads it every day anyway… Especially in the
    original Spanish, so all the commets, links etc can be read. But just in case they don’t,
    … I forward them.

  2. To all,

    Im about to leave for a 20 de Mayo event (the “other” cuban independence day).
    I am happy to be in the US where I can be free but at the same time I feel sad that my brothers and sisters in the JAIL called CUBA cannot enjoy the “mojitos” I will drink tonight and the freedom of congregation I will experience any time I wish. Cubans have a nack to cry and laugh at the same time at the irony of life. A cuban friend turned me on to this viral video (see link below) of a black cuban in Havana who got the courgage to break into a filming of a music interview about the impact of reageaton in Cuba but started to rant about “jama”! This term comes from the slang “jamar” which means to eat, and his point is that what we need in Cuba is to “jama”. Now he was a bit(maybe a lot) drunk but that is how he got the courage to say what he meant. Maybe we should ship a bunch of booze to Cuba and see what happens! Maybe ther is a translate video somwhere. Enjoy laughing and crying!

    Humberto Capiro
    El Cubano de Venice Beach, California

    Panfilo Barack OJama._Next Cuban President

  3. Certainly all people should have the right to travel, to emigrate and to move about as they please. This is a basic human right and has been happening for millenniums. It is man made laws and boarders that prevent this very natural movement of people from occurring. In the United States we have a border policy that causes the deaths of hundreds of people and divides families along the Mexico border. But at the same time our government pursues a policy where trade (goods and money) is allowed to freely move across that border. The immigration waves are a reaction to this policy. This is an unnatural situation. All borders should be open and people should be allowed to freely move where and when they want. A similar situation is happening with Cuba on both side (US and Cuba) where both countries are pursuing economic and political policies that forces people to move from their homes, but puts in place policies that make this movement a death sentence.

  4. Machete:

    I have a different opinion about this subject.You are “partially right”!!!,,because, the reality is, that in any society not “everybody” can travel, mainly, because “financially” you can’t do it.

    However, and honestly, the proportion of the people residing in a free world, and able to travel, is much, much, bigger than the proportion of those people residing in a totalitarian regimes, like Cuba’s cruel system (this is simple statistic!!!!).

    Nevertheless, the most important thing is that, from the very moment that the authority has prohibited the right of traveling by “law, or resolution, or simple desire of the dictator!!!” your rights have been violated!!!!! does not matter if you have or not the money, does not matter if you want or not to travel, what counts, is that this “elemental right is violated, is killed, is murdered!!!!,,,and in Cuba’s case, this is happening “because the authority just follows Castro’s will, Castro’s instructions, etc,.

    Conclusion: “Every human being has the right to travel or move as freely as he wants, if any person has the permission to enter in any country, his own country does not has the right to stop it!!!! (I’m talking about a normal people, with no legal pending problems , or a criminal trying to escape, etc, etc,).

    Castro’s regime has been using the exit permission to punish and control anything for more than 45 years, starting from the sixties, when he did send the people who wanted to leave Cuba, for a period of 2-3 year to do force laboring in the Cuba’s agriculture before issue the exit permission!!!!!, for every person that decided to escape from Cuba without permission (Castro call them defectors), the punishment was applied to their family prohibiting the exit , even, after they get everything ready and legal to stay permanently in other country, this has been a usual practice, something normal, that still today is present (example: Doctor Hilda Molina), in other cases, the “so named defector” was enough brave to go to Cuba and rescue his family ( example: The pilot Orestes Lorenzo, and, hundreds of rafters, that went back to Cuba and were able to rescue the family taking it from the shores).

    Cuba is a member of the Human Rights Commission that belongs to United Nations, Cuba had signed the Human Rights Declaration, that had included the Article # 13 which allows the freedom of movement and traveling, then, if Cuba does not allows her people to enjoy that Declaration, then, “The Law has been Broken”, then, Cuba is doing something illegal, Cuba’s is a law broker, Cuba is a simple and evident violator of the Human Rights!!!!


  5. I found this in The Tiger and the Children by Roberto Luque Escalona.
    Of all the human rights violations that the Cuban people have suffered over the last thirty years, the most severe arise from the fidelista regime’s restrictions on emigration. Such restrictions, which masquerade as laws, vest in the State the prerogative to permit or deny any citizen the right to leave his country and settle in another. What is worse – if anything can conceivably be worse – these “laws” also enable the State to prevent any citizen from returning to his country, if he so wishes.
    Because of the suffering that these restrictions have caused by dividing families and therefore an entire nation; because of the millions of people who have been affected adversely by them; because of the horror of countless deaths they have caused – it is far worse to be eaten by sharks, to drown, to lose your life from thirst, or to be burned to death by the sun, than it is to be shot buy firing squad. Because of the non-belligerent character of victims who only wished to express the natural desire of every man and woman to flee from where he is not esteemed or respected; because of all the weddings, baptisms, Christmas dinners, births and funerals that have taken place in the absence of loved ones; because of all the broken marriages and frustrated loves; because of the humiliations to which hundreds of thousands of people have been subjected in exchange for permission to do with their lives as they thought best; because of this massive and daily suffering, without even the rewards of heroism, I think that migratory restrictions are the worst crime committed against our people.
    Yet, little is said about it. The victims of these restrictions have almost always been common or ordinary people, who are not prisoners, or exactly persecuted. They are unimportant people, oppressed by despotism, but unimportant.
    Here and there, however, in this confraternity of millions, you will find an occasional well-known personality, such as the greatest Cuban novelist, Josѐ Lezama Lima.
    Separated from his exiled sister and nephew, and condemned to watch his elderly mother suffer the pain of that separation, Josѐ Lezama Lima penned these words: “How have we come to be in this bland alley, without a glimmer of hope, surrounded by death?”

  6. The truth is though, that for most people even though they have the freedom to travel they cannot afford it. Travel is a luxury to most people around the world, even most people in the US. If Cuba were to lift travel restrictions, which obviously they should, the vast majority of people could still not afford to travel.. Maybe a few with family could go the US or Canada. But the privilege to see other countries far from Cuba would still be left to the elites, those with money and political connections.

  7. Article 13(2) of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own, and return to their country.”

    To me, the right to travel internationally without the permission of one’s government is one of the more easily understood tests of how free and democratic a country is. Clearly, Cuba fails this test.

    It’s also one of the reasons I think the travel restrictions placed on US citizens who wish to travel to Cuba are so counter-productive, as are the denial of US entry visas to the likes of Silvio Rodriquez. Let’s not give the Castro dictatorship any more excuses for maintaining this particular mask.

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