Cuba’s Secretary of the Council of State Homero Acosta Alvarez announced a new package of measures that complement the new Migration Law, during a special broadcast last night.
The new policy, based on the new law, allows temporary entry to the country to those people that illegally left the country after the signing of the US-Cuba migratory accords, as long as their departure took place eight years ago or more.
High-performance athletes and health professionals that defected after 1990 or migrated illegally will be authorized to enter Cuba, with the exception those who did it through the Guantanamo naval base. In this latter case the prohibition is made on the grounds of national security.
Cubans who were under 16 when they migrated can apply for their repatriation as well as those who seek it on humanitarian grounds, if they need to look after their relatives in Cuba, and so on.
Also the new measures establish that persons who were minors at the time of their illegal exit of the country can visit Cuba, considering they might have been dragged into the adventure lacking the capacity to decide according to the law.
“These are the new measures the revolutionary government is implementing to keep strengthening its relations with the emigration” said Acosta. At the beginning of the broadcast he stressed that “Cuba is not seeking any good behaviour certificate” and added that the changes obey to the “sovereign decision of the Cuban government and are not an answer to anybody’s pressures”.
Regarding the special restrictions to certain individuals whishing to travel abroad, including some professionals, Acosta said that answers to the Cuban goal of “preserving the human capital created by the Revolution” and that those regulations are similar to other nations, that limit the freedom of movement to those who have access to state secrets, are of age for military service and so on”.
“However, just a limited number of persons will be forbidden to travel freely” Acosta assured and to demonstrate that Cubans have been traveling without too many limitations during the last ten years, before the passing of this new law, showed some data worth mentioning: 99.4 percent that applied for exit visa between 2000 and 2012 got it. During the same period 941,953 people traveled to other countries out of which 120,705 (12, 8%). According to that figure 156,068 had a university degree and just 17,153 (10,9%) didn’t return.
When asked by one of the journalists on who would be included in the category of “people who perform a vital activity,” Homero Acosta mention cadres at different levels of management and executive bodies of the Central Government and graduates of higher education related to specific research projects and programs, which should be licensed by their corresponding bosses.
In this regard he said that the Ministry of Labor and Social Security will still issue new regulations, so that not only those bosses, but also the individuals subject to those limitations are aware of them and are properly advised on their rights.
Meanwhile, Colonel Fraga Lamberto Hernández, deputy chief of the National Directorate of Immigration and Nationality, insisted on the fact that under the recent provisions the former names for temporary and final migration are definitely abolished.
In line with the new procedure, all citizens receive a normal passport and will need no other requirement that the visa of the country of destination for the trip. They will become émigrés if they stay outside the country for over 24 months. In that case, they can apply to extend their permits or a residency, in which case they keep their Cuban residency.
Cubans who leave the country without completing the formalities prescribed by law will be declared emigrants.
“But they are all Cuban citizens, and included into one of three categories: residents in Cuba, foreign residents and emigrants. Everyone needs a Cuban passport to enter and leave the country, even those who hold another citizenship. Those who can prove to the immigration authorities who have lost for any reason Cuban citizenship can eneter the country as citizens of another country.”
“These measures respond to a historic moment of the Revolution,” concluded Acosta Alvarez. “And they must be understood the same way of others that taken at an earlier time. Today we change because the country is changing. ”
Cubans on the island and the migration must still wait for the release of other regulations whose content is unknown. Their true extent of the changes will be discernible only after their implementation and practical application. Some praise them highly, others show their scepticism.
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