Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Upgrade of Cuban Migration Policy?

Upgrade of Cuban Migration Policy? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega
Jeovany J. Vega, Translator: mlk

It is already a fact: the awaited "migration reforms", announced by Raul
Castro a month and a half ago, arrive with a lot of noise — much ado
about nothing. Published "casually" five days before the elections for
delegates to the Municipal Assemblies of Popular Power, the modification
to Law No. 1312 "Law of Migration" of September 20, 1976, was again the
plastic carrot hung in front of the herd. Some simpleton might believe
his opportunity in life has arrived, but the disillusionment — I really
wish I were wrong on this point — sooner or later will reveal the true
intention behind a decree where they repeat the verb "to authorize"too
much which has ruled the destinies of a people confined to their borders
for more than half a century.

According to my understanding of Decree-Law No. 302, issued by President
Raul Castro October 11, 2012, and published in the Official Gazette last
October 16, nothing changes for the professional Cubans — including
thosefrom the Public Health, needless to say — we continue dragging that
cross that the government became by havingdevoted ourselves to the
cultivation of knowledge. Once again it pays us so: leaving us at aclear
disadvantage, violating our right to travel, depriving us ofany
opportunity to meet the world. Articles 24 and 25, subsections f, make
it very clear when they exclude from leaving the country all those who
lack "the established authorization, pursuant to the strict rules of
preserving the qualified work force…" which with one blow leaves
millions of Cubans out of the game.

One does not have to be really smart to notice that articles 23, 24 and
25, added entirely to the former Law of September 1976, give fullpower
to the authorities to refuse passport, to refuseentry and equally to
refuse exit from the country, respectively and according to subjective
criteria, to any person inside or outside of Cuba, all of which serves
to leave bare the true, hypocritical and deceptive nature of this law.
Too much ambiguity leaves open Article 32, subparagraph h — and by
extension the same subparagraph of Article 25 — when they establish that
some clerk can refuse the award of the passport and/or exit from the
countryto anyone, "When for other reasons of public interest the
empowered authorities determine…", ambiguity which will serve to
continue detaining millions of Cubans under this blue sky every time the
Cuban Government feels like it. These articles and subparagraphs will be
hanging, like the sword of Damocles, over all Cubans.

The other invidious facet of the matter: Article 24, by means of its
subparagraphs c, d and e, establishes as ". . . inadmissible. . ." for
entry into the country — because they put them into the same category as
terrorists, human and arms traffickers, drug dealers and international
money launderers — those accused by the Cuban Government of
"…Organizing, encouraging, managing or participating in hostile actions
against the political, economic, and social fundamentals of the Cuban
State…", "…When reasons of Defense and National Security so suggest…"
and also — this is the little jewel in the crown — all those whom the
Cuban Government considers must "…Be prohibited from entering the
country for being declared undesirable or expelled." If one wants it
clearer, pour water on it: it is a given that those Cubans with
politicalstandards divergent from the Government lines will continue
being deprived of travel, and in case they do manage to leave the
country, they assume a high risk of not being permitted to return, and
this includes, of course, the millions of Cubans and their descendants
who live outside of their country.

Something remains clear: as long as one authority might prohibit those
of us living in Cuba from leaving freely, and also prohibitthat anyone
of the millions that live outside return unconditionally to the embrace
of their homeland, no one will be able to speak of realfreedom of
travel; this is an individual's exclusive decision and will never be a
clerk's because, right to the end, it is inalienable. As long as they
make us leave our families here as hostages as a prerequisite to travel
abroad, freedom of thought is abridged with an exit blackmail, if even
one Cuban is denied his right to freely come or go as his birthright,
nothing will have changed in Cuba. Time will have the last word, but for
now everything seems pure illusion; for the moment, on the balcony of
Havana, this little room is just the same.

Translated by mlk.

October 25 2012


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