Cuba is an authoritarian state and has many restrictions regarding US travel into this beautiful country. Their citizens have many restrictions to exit the country for travel as well. However, there may be some signs of progression into easier travel requirements for its’ citizens.
CNN recently reported via Cuba’s official news site Granma, that Cuba will make begin to lighten restrictions and make it easier for its’ citizens to travel abroad. Effective January 14, its’ citizens will only have to present a valid passport and entry visa for their destination. There are still some limitations for the average traveler. A statement in the Granma said, “The ordinary passport will be issued to the Cuban citizens who meet the requirements of the Migration Law.” President Castro stated he would implement this change and this appears a great step for the country.
Cubans travelers have had it difficult to travel up to this point. Cubans are currently required to pay $150 for an exit visa plus the resident they were visiting had to write a letter of invitation. There are other fees as well. Even with presenting all necessary documents and fees, there is still a possibly the government could deny them an exit visa. With low monthly wages, this made it a very challenging issue to travel.
The US Department of State informs us of restrictions to Cuba. It states that travel by US citizens and permanent residents to Cuba is restricted by US law and regulations. Even with receiving a license to participate in certain activities, there is restricted while US citizens are there. US travelers that do engage in island activities are subject to surveillance by Cuba. US Diplomats are not even allow to travel freely outside the Cuban capital. These are just a few barriers that communicate the difficulty to travel there. This ease of travel restrictions by its’ citizens could be an avenue to initiate easier travel regulations by US citizens into Cuba.
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References: 10.16.12, CNN, Ben Brumfield-Cuba eases travel restriction for citizens; www.travel.state.gov