|Cubans outside the Ecuadorian embassy in Havana, Cuba|
News wire services reported today that Cuba's "communist authorities said Tuesday that from December 7 doctors will again be required to ask permission to travel abroad for private reasons." According to these press sources this is news because it runs counter to 2013 "reforms", but back in a 2013 post titled "New rules for the same old game" quoted the January 11, 2013 CNN report on restrictions maintained by the Castro regime:
Specifically, the Labor and Social Security Ministry defined categories of Cubans whose travel would be restricted. They include those who may be "criminally prosecuted, are subject to military service or (are denied) for reasons of defense and national security." "Also on the list are citizens who have obligations with the state or are not authorized under rules designed to preserve the skilled workforce and protect official information," read the Prensa Latina story.Cubans do not only face restrictions to leave Cuba but also to return and visit their homeland. Between 70,000 and 300,000 Cubans are banned by the Castro regime from returning to their homeland reported The Miami Herald on August 15, 2011 in an article titled Many Cuban expatriates can't go home again. A friend, born in Cuba, that I went to college with was not able to travel to Cuba when her grandmother died. It wasn't the US embargo that stopped her but the Castro regime that denied her request. No reason given. Many Cubans are afraid to speak freely about the reasons they left the island out of a fear that if they give a political motive they will never be allowed to return. A high profile example of a Cuban woman not allowed to return to Cuba to visit her dying father played out over social media in the latter half of 2013 and was reproduced, in part, in PanAm
Post's The Canal:
Blanca Reyes had requested on July 22, 2013, permission to return to her homeland to visit her ailing 93-year-old father. However, on August 13, 2013, a Cuban consulate official denied her that opportunity. Two months later on October 13, 2013 Blanca tweeted:This so-called migration "reform" is an example of what martyred dissident leader Oswaldo Payá referred to as "fraudulent change." Giving the illusion of an opening while the Stalinist character of the dictatorship remained intact benefited the regime from decreased international scrutiny and increased its legitimacy abroad. Sadly, the reality has been very different. Cubans are no freer to travel now than before January 1, 2013, it remains up to the whims of the dictatorship.
My dad fractured his hip, they are going to operate, and Cuban government denies me entrance to see him. He is 93 years old.In a later tweet she raised an important question:Unable to enter your home, Cuba, can someone explain that? I address the people who still support the Cuban Government.Two days later on October 15, 2013, Blanca tweeted the sad news that the father and daughter would never again to be reunited:My father died today in Cuba did not see him for 9 years the Cuban government stopped me. UNTIL WHEN MY GOD?
Tony Diaz Sanchez, former prisoner of conscience and Christian Liberation Movement Leader on December 1, 2015 over Facebook summed up the current news coverage best: "The 201 'reform' of the immigration law made clear that the 'state' could prevent the departure of any person for the 'public interest'. If this already exists as law, then this with the doctors is nothing new, just smoke and mirrors."
Back in October of 2012 when the regime announced the new regulations I provided the following analysis:
The Castro dictatorship in 2012 is once again demonstrating that it is a master of distraction highlighting a new migration law with new rules that achieve the same result: travel in and out of Cuba is to be administered by the Ministry of the Interior and professionals such as medical doctors do not have freedom to travel. The infamous white card, an exit visa, that Cubans need to exit their own country will according to the regime announcement be replaced in 2013 with new more stringent requirements for the passport.All I can say now is, told you so. The human rights situation continues to deteriorate in Cuba as violence and repression escalates and now the United States faces the latest Cuban manufactured migrations crisis thanks to the inept foreign policy of the Obama administration. Cuba will not change for the better until the system created by the Castro brothers is replaced with a democratic system in which the rule of law is respected. Tourists will not achieve this change and the record in other totalitarian regimes indicates that if anything they will provide hard currency to the most repressive elements in Cuba that run the tourism industry.
What do the authorities hope to accomplish with this so-called reform that the regime says will come into effect on January 1, 2013? First, one of the long term objectives of the dictatorship is eliminating the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act which grants Cuban refugees special immigration privileges for fleeing a totalitarian dictatorship where the freedom of travel is nonexistent. Floating the threat of a slow motion Mariel is meant to pressure U.S. lawmakers into eliminating a law that demonstrates that the Castro regime is different from every other country in the hemisphere.