Third time is not a charm

This time they’ve been more direct: “You are not authorized to travel,” the woman told me quietly, almost nicely, dressed in her olive-green.  My attempt to get permission to leave ended without much delay and with the same negative response.  I demanded an explanation from the officer, but she was only a wall of contention between my demands and her hidden bosses.

While they were telling me “no,” I recalled the declarations made by Miguel Barnet* a couple of months ago.  The president of the Writers and Artists Union of Cuba (UNEAC) affirmed that all Cubans can travel, except those who have a debt to the justice system.  I spent the day looking for some legal reason hanging over me, but nothing came to mind.  Even the rice cooker that I bought on credit at the ration store I paid for in full, even though it only worked for two months before completely breaking down.

I have never been charged in court yet I am condemned not to leave this Island.  This restriction has not been dictated by a judge, nor could I have appealed it to jury, rather it comes from the great prosecutor—with full rights—in which he’s set himself up as the Cuban State.  That severe magistrate determined that the old woman sitting next to me in the office at 17th and K would not receive the ‘white card’ because her son ‘deserted’ from a medical mission.  The boy who waited in the corner couldn’t travel either, because his athlete father plays now under another flag.  The list of the punished is so long and the reasons so varied, that we could establish a huge group of forced islander “stay-at-homes.”  It’s too bad that the vast majority are silent, in the hopes that one day they’ll be allowed to leave, as one who receives compensation for good behavior.

One of the first places of pilgrimage for those who don’t get the exit permit should be the office of the naive president of UNEAC.  Maybe he can explain to us the crime for which we’ve been condemned.

To augment the papers in my collection of negatives, here is the latest document received from SIE (Immigration and Emigration Section).  I am also posting my visas, to record the fact that my problems are not about entering another country, only about leaving mine.

Translator’s note:
The opening paragraphs of the article about Miguel Barnet read, in English translation: 

The writer Miguel Barnet criticized, today, those who believe his countrymen cannot freely leave the island as he, who has traveled widely, does and says the only ones who can’t travel are those in prison.  “People believe that we Cubans can’t travel and I’ve been to more than 47 countries,” Barnet said during a meeting with the press  in a bookstore in Panama City.  “Cubans are traveling,” he stressed, “the only ones who don’t travel are those in prison,” affirmed Barnet, considered one of the Cuban writers most published abroad.


  1. La paloma esta por encima de la cerca……. nada puede retenerla………
    Pigeon is over the fence………… nothing can retain it…………..

    Yoani…….. you don’t need no one permit…….. you’re free………. much more free than your “captors”!!!

  2. Again, where are all freedom defenders, specially the beautiful people in USA and Europe? This is the time to come out of you cage and denounce this troglodyte action.

  3. Dear translator, in my “translation” of the Form 2, I missed a very important cell in the last table. So between the question “- Personal condition, Candidate or accompany” and the question “- Country where visa expedites” must be placed the following question:

    – Owns the candidate a real state property? If yes, it is some one else living there?

    It is a very important question because it can decide the approval or deny of the solicitation. If the candidate owns a real state property (house, apartment, lot, etc) and no one else is living there, then this property will be confiscated. Many times a well located property that can be confiscate decides the approval of the solicitation even if the candidate is one of those persons with heavy impediment in theirs expedients that make very improbable the approval of a travel permit, such persons are doctors, scientist, army officials, members of the intelligence, police, firefighters, nomenclature, dissidents, etc.
    A Cuban tourist can stay out of Cuba as maximum 11 month. If the tourist doesn’t shows up in Cuba on time all its properties will be confiscated, that’s way the best friend you can have if you pretend travel out of Cuba is an empty house left behind.

  4. The writer Miguel Barnet mention above is using the known logical fallacy of Cherry picking
    Just because he is able to travel to 47 countries does not imply that all cubans that are not in prison can.
    Or maybe another way to see it is that he is one of the few not in prison
    the rest of the Cubans in Cuba are in fact in prison because they are not allow to travel.


  5. Yoani,

    Sorry you could not travel this time. It is particularly cruel, to live in an island, and look out at sea, but not be able to experience what’s beyond. We feel for you and others in the same conditions.

    I know some day soon, this situation will correct itself, if not by the actions of the people, then by universal forces that are already at work and bearing down on these dinosaurs. And I don’t mean a meteor strike. It will be a simple extinction brought about by the second law of thermodynamics – i.e. all systems decay into a state of increasing entropy or chaos. To put it simply, these people will die and disappear into calcified rocks and dirt soon, well within our lifetimes. Since they refuse to accept the input and vitality of the young, they and their ideology are doomed.

    I’m not religious, but one thing that is an absolute certainty is that from dust they came and to dust they shall return, and much sooner than the rest of us.

    So relax have a drink, if this is not possible, watch the sunset and rejoice in the good things to come tomorrow.

  6. The Cuban writer and dissident Hector Ramírez who had arrived to Havana last Mars 18 at 11:30pm to pay a last visit to his dying mother were arrested and deported before passing the Havana’s airport toll controls.
    In 2005 Castro self had ordered Cuba’s Emigration and Immigration Department the suppression of Hector Ramirez Cuban citizenship after the writer published his book “Cuba, an enslaved nation”.
    Hector’s mother 75 years old suffered a pulmonary cancer and the imminence of her dead made Hector soliciting Cuba’s visa. Then the dictatorship played one of its preferred vendettas: To make Hector and his family inside Cuba believe he has got visa and make him spend huge amount of money in Cuban embassy paying for all permits, passport, fly tickets, etc; and make him believe he were authorized to meet his mother in order to make him suffer the deception.
    Hector declared to his friends, “the most painful is not the several fly hours, neither the money or the fact that my doter were all night long outside the airport crying but the deception suffered by my mother who also raised the hope of see me before die”

  7. CUBAN People need to demand MORE RIGHTS. The Government in Cuba is a BIG CASH COW,and how sad , its always about the money. Cuba always has a story

  8. viva cuba viva fidel viva raoul……………………viva los communiste. abayo a los cubanos de miami……son malecons

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