HAVANA TIMES (dpa) — Berta Soler, the leader of the Cuban dissident group Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), received a passport Friday that will allow her to leave the island when she wishes.
Soler, 49, got the document at an office in her neighborhood, Alamar, on the outskirts of Havana. She had applied for it on January 18.
“I did not ask anything and they did not say anything,” Soler told dpa of her encounter with the authorities.
The government of Cuban President Raul Castro did away with the long standing requirement of an exit permit in an immigration reform that went into effect last month.
Now, Cubans need only a valid passport to travel abroad, along with whatever entry visas they need for their destination countries.
Several dissident leaders have been denied a passport. Among them is Soler’s husband Angel Moya Acosta, who was denied the document because he has a criminal record. Moya Acosta was released in 2011, but remains on probation.
Soler said she plans to travel abroad soon and holds the “hope” to be able to collect in Strasbourg the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which the European Parliament granted to the Ladies in White in 2005.
She said she has received invitations to travel to Spain, Germany and Panama, so she intends to apply for visas soon.
Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez also received a passport last week. She already has a visa to travel to Brazil, and is applying for others from Peru, Argentina and the United States, among others.
Sanchez has repeatedly said that she only plans to leave Cuba temporarily and intends to return home after the trip.