Cuba loosens travel restrictions for emigrants

Cuba has said it will ease travel restrictions for emigrants who left the communist-ruled island illegally, including doctors and high-profile athletes who did not return from overseas missions.



By (AFP)

Published: Thu 25 Oct 2012, 2:27 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:26 PM

The latest measures come after a decision earlier this month to eliminate exit permits for foreign travel, the latest in a series of reforms by President Raul Castro aimed at modernizing the economy.

The latest measures will “normalize the temporary entry” of Cubans who left illegally after a 1994 migration agreement with the United States, Homero Acosta, a senior government official, announced Wednesday.

He said they would also apply to doctors and top athletes who left after 1990, provided their departure was more than eight years ago.

The measures will not apply to Cubans who left via the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, “for defense and national security reasons,” Acosta said.

Acosta said the government was also “expanding the grounds for repatriation” for those who left when they were under 16, and for other emigrants asking to come back for humanitarian reasons, such as to care for ailing relatives.

On October 16 Cuba announced that citizens would no longer require an exit permit to travel abroad beginning next year in a major overhaul of a half-century-old policy despised by the island’s residents.

The changes were the latest in a series of gra

The latest measures come after a decision earlier this month to eliminate exit permits for foreign travel, the latest in a series of reforms by President Raul Castro aimed at modernizing the economy.

The latest measures will “normalize the temporary entry” of Cubans who left illegally after a 1994 migration agreement with the United States, Homero Acosta, a senior government official, announced Wednesday.

He said they would also apply to doctors and top athletes who left after 1990, provided their departure was more than eight years ago.

The measures will not apply to Cubans who left via the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, “for defense and national security reasons,” Acosta said.

Acosta said the government was also “expanding the grounds for repatriation” for those who left when they were under 16, and for other emigrants asking to come back for humanitarian reasons, such as to care for ailing relatives.

On October 16 Cuba announced that citizens would no longer require an exit permit to travel abroad beginning next year in a major overhaul of a half-century-old policy despised by the island’s residents.

The changes were the latest in a series of gradual reforms implemented in recent years by President Raul Castro, who took the helm from his ailing brother Fidel Castro in 2006.

But the government indicated that it would maintain some limits to avoid a “brain drain” that it blames on the United States.

Around two million Cubans live abroad, 80 percent of them in Florida. Cuba’s population stands at 11.2 million.

In 1994 the United States agreed to admit 20,000 Cuban immigrants per year, and the following year announced its “wet foot, dry foot” policy, in which illegal Cuban migrants apprehended at sea are returned to the island while those who make it to land are allowed to remain in the United States.

dual reforms implemented in recent years by President Raul Castro, who took the helm from his ailing brother Fidel Castro in 2006.

But the government indicated that it would maintain some limits to avoid a “brain drain” that it blames on the United States.

Around two million Cubans live abroad, 80 percent of them in Florida. Cuba’s population stands at 11.2 million.

In 1994 the United States agreed to admit 20,000 Cuban immigrants per year, and the following year announced its “wet foot, dry foot” policy, in which illegal Cuban migrants apprehended at sea are returned to the island while those who make it to land are allowed to remain in the United States.


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