Traveling is a constant in the thoughts of Cubans.
I wonder if this is because of the prohibitions on traveling abroad (Cubans who wish to travel must obtain a letter of invitation from someone in the destination country; they cannot just apply for a visa and then go directly to the airport to buy a ticket).
Or perhaps it’s because of the difficulties one must face when a trip is within the country (the long time it takes to buy a ticket, the delays in bus departures, etc.). But once this aim is materialized, the body and soul are thankful.
There are many rumors circulating through the country’s capital. The hearsay travels from mouth to mouth —mushrooming— while the government says nothing definitive on the issue.
It’s said they’re going to eliminate the “Tarjeta Blanca” (white card), the exit permission required by the Cuban government for citizens to leave the country.
It’s also believed that when a new currency is created that will circulate in the ALBA-member countries, their residents will be able to travel from one country to another without previously requiring a visa – similar to the European Union.
However, I’m quite skeptical with respect to this last rumor; and this is not only because of the great deal that is lacking for the institution of a sole currency. It’s also because I think it will be a very difficult step for a government that has feared travel so much (putting restrictions on leaving and then on entering if someone happens not to return when expected). It would be like opening the doors of the cell just like that, allowing its citizens to journey wherever they want.
People continue wanting their right to leave and enter Cuba be respected; they want to see the world, to choose where to live.
According to what a friend in Central Havana told me, it’s reached the point that on New Year’s Eve —in addition to the buckets of water that people traditionally pour from their balconies at the stroke of midnight as symbol of spiritual cleaning— many youth took to the streets dragging trunks and carrying suitcases. This was said to be a harbinger of travel.
For my part, if I had some power, I would wish to see 2010 fulfill the hopes for travel held by all Cubans who need to.