Open the Wall! / Jeovany Jimenez Vega #Cuba

Granma-informaba-migratoria-Habana-octubre_PREIMA20130114_0138_40The implementation, as of this January 14th, of the Cuban political migratory reforms has generated hope unprecedented in more than 50 years for a people who suffered already for too long family separation and the grief of terrible deaths at sea. It is supposed that from this day forward that monster of the “white card” — the equivalent of the sacrosanct Exit Permit — ceased to exist and with it also the execrable figure of the “permanent exit” with which every Cuban who decided to leave his country for a specified time was banished against his will and which implied the automatic “outlawing” (that is seizure) of all he left behind, really serious things if you look at them from the correct perspective.

If I have had until now a rather skeptical position with relation to all this, no one should blame me; you have to keep in mind my condition as a Cuban doctor who lives inside of Cuba subordinated to a Minister who, as of 1999, decided that none of the professionals subordinated to him would leave his country, not even temporarily for vacation, until no fewer than five years passed after having solicited the “liberation” from his minister*.

Now it is said that the phantom ministerial resolution that made this extreme measure available has been overturned, which many digital sites and foreign press outlets have echoed, as have alternative Cuban media, but the truth is that my minister and my government have made no public declaration that officially confirms it, hence the issue unleashes the usual wave of speculation and rumors.

Personally I think that the Cuban authorities could have reasoned as follows: if the new Migratory Law, in Articles 24 and 25, by means of subsection f, establishes plainly that it does not permit professionals to travel freely “. . .by virtue of the rules directed to preserve the qualified work force. . .” then why keep in force that resolution designed exclusively for the personnel subordinated to the Minister of Public Health? Why keep two tools when one is sufficient? After all, in practical terms, something that before only affected professionals in my sector now is made to extend to the rest of the country’s professionals and technicians.

But not to be too intransigent I will hope that the time will come when someone says the last word. I hope that from today on no Cuban will be deprived of his right to travel; that no Cuban will be held against his will, on some pretext, bysome bureaucrat; that no one will be authorized to come and go from his country on conditions. For now, forgive me, gentlemen, I reserve the benefit of the doubt. I have never before wanted so intensely to be mistaken.

Jeovany Jimenez Vega

*Translator’s note: Prior to the so-called “migratory form” that just went into effect, EVERY doctor who asked to leave Cuba had to wait at least five years from the time of making the request before he or she could leave (if they were allowed to leave at all). Doctors on missions in foreign countries have had their passports held so they could not leave from those countries.

Translated by mlk

January 23 2013