One month after arriving in Madrid, today December 22, Teacher’s Day in Cuba and the National Lottery in Spain, I want to share with the readers of Voces Cubanas this note about my departure from Cuba after wrestling with the Immigration Office in Vedado and the approval of the agents of State Security that had been blocking my reunion with my wife since last March.
Three factors led to my release. The first lies in the fact of having accepted I would have to request a Final Exit Permit and instead of the Permit to Travel Abroad as I had done in March.
This banishment came about because of the previous repeated denials of my request to travel, and the suggestion that given that I am a freelance journalist I would “have to leave once and for all or forget about it.”
Still, after obtaining a new visa from the Consulate of Spain and returning to the Immigration Office, I was refused permission to leave because I remained “on the list of those who can not leave the country”, which I thought was a joke and I demanded an explanation from Chief of Immigration, also warning that would go out to the streets to denounce my retention should this officer keep me on the “black list”.
To this element of personal pressure was added the inconvenience for the regime that someone show to be a lie their “good intentions” expressed in the new immigration law — which from January 2013 removes the humiliating Exit Permit and makes the matter more “flexible.”
So much so that before being received by the Chief of Immigration I was visited at home by the official “Simon,” who told me that it was not necessary to go out to the streets to protest because I was already off the “black list,” that he had come from Immigration, where he left a not for his boss that “resolves the matter.”
So it was. Upon arriving at the Immigration office at Calzada and K, in Vedado, Havana, the Head of the Unit told me my case was settled and that within a week I could pick up my White Card (the exit permit). The web of almost a year fell apart by the grace of those that forged it: the State Security officials who punish those who exercise freedom of expression in Cuba, where to speak one’s opinion is still a crime.
One month after the nightmare I am able to write about my stay in Spain and other issues related to Cuba and its culture, as manipulated outside the island as they are within.
Miguel Iturria Savon
December 22 2012