HAVANA TIMES — Dear readers, I confess that when I read about the changes to Cuban immigration policy, I immediately became excited. That’s when I wrote the Havana Times article Immigration Policy Changes.
I realize now that I was a bit selfish and focused only on the topics concerning the situation of Cubans here on the island and didn’t think much about Cuban emigrants.
After having read and analyzed the new policy in the Gaceta Oficial in detail, I would like to refer to the section of those new regulations as they relate to Cubans living abroad.
A special provision says that “Cuban citizens living abroad as emigrants or with permission to reside abroad at the time when this executive order takes affect will maintain their foregoing immigration status.”
Later we find Resolution No. 44, which states that Executive Order No. 26 (“Regulation of the Immigration Act,” dated July 19, 1978, as amended by Order No. 305 of October 11, 2012, in Article 48, Paragraph 2) makes it the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior to establish procedures for the processing of applications presented by Cuban émigrés seeking residence in the country.
The procedures for dealing with applications for residence in Cuba by émigrés involve them dealing with the appropriate entities, such as Cuban consulates abroad or the Processing Office of the Ministry of the Interior in Cuba and presenting:
– A request for residence accompanied by their valid passport.
– Information from the individual referencing who in Cuba is committed to ensuring their accommodation and meals, until the person can provide for their own income and housing.
– Payment of the tax or consular fee, as applicable, according to the legislation.
It’s interesting to see the enormous number of resolutions, articles and sections that have been repealed or amended. This includes issues such as stays by Cuban emigrants who are visiting the island for up to 90 days; as well as stays by Cuban citizens residing abroad, who may remain to the island for up to 180 days. In both of these cases it is now possible for immigration authorities to extend those terms.
I’m of the opinion that these provisions are the prelude to reconciliation between Cuba and Cuba, this island that is divided into two halves – those inside and those outside. There should not be any walls between Cubans. These are beginning to crumble and it is my hope that many other changes will occur in my Cuba, in the Cuba that belongs to all of us.
(*) Editor’s Note: We have not had direct communication with Dariela since Hurricane Sandy hit Santiago de Cuba on October 25 as there has been no electrical service there or possibilities for sending email. However other HT collaborators have been able to talk with her by phone and know that she and Janis Hernandez (another HT writer in Santiago) are safe and sound, despite the disastrous situation of their city.