After a denial, the majority of those seeking permission to travel give up going back to ask again. A few, very few, continue to insist when they’ve heard the phrase, “You are not authorized to travel,” more than three times. Only a handful of stubborn ones, among whom I include myself, return to the Department of Immigration (DIE) to demand the so-called white card that has been denied on four occasions. Although with each new request it would seem the possibilities become more remote, I’m driven to make it clear that my imprisonment on this Island has been for my not having exhausted all legal avenues.
Under this philosophy of the impossible I’ve launched another application in the direction of the Plaza municipality’s DIE, this time to go to the city of Jequié-Bahia in Brazil. In July there will be a documentary film festival where a young filmmaker will present a short film about Cuban bloggers; if I miss it it will be because I’ve received the sixth “No” in just two years. As with all previous applications, the letter of invitation has arrived on time, my passport is up-to-date and my criminal record is spotless. In theory, I meet all the existing requirements to cross the national frontier, but I am still emitting critical opinions and this turns me into a special kind of criminal.
For this trip I have decided to knock on as many doors as possible, and have even sent a letter to the Brazilian president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva. Who knows if, failing to listen to the demands of its own citizens, my country’s government has receptive ears when a foreign dignitary speaks. My friends are hinting that I have become, at the DIE office, just another piece of “office furniture” with the little metal inventory tag nailed to my shoulder blades, like on all the other furniture in state institutions. I can only smile at such jokes and shake off the despair with a nice play on words: “I am going, yes… I am going to become accustomed to staying.”