Post by redflag Post by PL Post by Barry Schier
M[iami] H[erald]: Cubans drown in attempt to reach U.S.
CubaNews Message #38908 of 38909
These Cubans should be understood to be what they are: victims of U.S.
policy toward Cuba,
actually: they are victims of the repression in Cuba.
Cuba violates the human rights of it's people and even denies them the
most basic freedom of movement: the right to enter and leave the country
as they choose.
That is a barefaced lie.
Cutting the links to the relevant data doesn't change the facts:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
1.. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the
borders of each state.
2.. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to
return to his country.
Recent news on migration from Cuba
1. Right to freedom of movement and residence within Cuba.
2. Right to leave the country.
a.. PVE - Permiso de Viaje al Extranjero.
b.. PRE - Permiso de Residencia al Extranjero.
c.. Medical doctors: the special case.
1. Right to freedom of movement and residence within Cuba.
Decree 217: Heightened Control of Internal Movement
In a public address on April 4, 1997, President Castro urged the populace to
fight against the "indiscipline" favored by the "enemy" and demonstrated by
"illegal immigration" to Havana and announced that the state was planning to
halt such movement.184 He justified such actions by explaining that free
movement to the capital would endanger Cuba's security due to the state's
insufficient control and knowledge of the identities of Havana's residents
and guests. International human rights law assures the right to liberty of
movement within a country's borders and the right to enter and leave one's
country of origin.185 President Castro called upon the Committees for the
Defense of the Revolution (Comités para la Defensa de la Revolución, CDRs),
pro-government groups that have taken part in intimidations of government
opponents, to work with the police to gather information on Havana
residents. The president also mentioned problems with overcrowding,
overbuilding, and crime that had resulted from increased population
pressures in Havana. On April 22, 1997, President Castro signed Decree 217,
creating internal migratory regulations for Havana.
Decree 217 explains restrictions on internal movement as being due to public
health, welfare, and public order concerns. While these issues in some
circumstances justify narrowly-tailored restrictions on movement, President
Castro's prior statements highlighting the government's interest in
minimizing "indiscipline" and maintaining tight control over citizens'
movement for security reasons call into question the government's motivation
in creating Decree 217. By late April 1997, the Cuban press announced that
more than 1,600 "illegal residents" of Havana had been returned to their
home provinces "using persuasive methods."186 By mid-May, many more Havana
residents had received government notices that they had forty-eight hours to
regularize their status in the city or face fines and the "obligation to
return immediately to their place of origin."187 The government's provision
of an extremely brief period for Havana residents to demonstrate the
legitimacy of their presence in the capital raised additional concerns about
whether the Cuban authorities were ensuring sufficient due process
guarantees. By June 1998, the Cuban government reported that some 27,717
people had left Havana since the law took effect, although not necessarily
due to its application, while 22,560 others had moved to Havana, resulting
in a net population decrease of over 5,000 residents.188 While diplomats
noted that the law had not resulted in massive round-ups and deportations,
Cuban migrants to Havana expressed frustration that they could not choose
where to live and that police demands for their personal papers and proof of
"legal" residency had increased.189
Decree 217 prohibits persons in other provinces from moving into Havana on
the grounds that if internal migration was left unchecked, the city's
problems regarding housing, public transport, water, and electrical supplies
would become worse; visits to the city were permissible. Police frequently
checked the identification of persons on the streets, and if someone from
another province was found living in Havana illegally, that person was fined
$12 (300 pesos) and sent back home. Fines were $40 (1,000 pesos) for those
who resided illegally in the neighborhoods of Old Havana and Cerro. Human
rights observers noted that while the decree affected migration countrywide,
it targeted individuals and families predominantly of African descent from
the more impoverished eastern provinces.
On June 1, police in Havana province entered the neighborhood of Buena
Esperanza to remove persons from the eastern provinces living in the area
without authorization. An unknown number of men were removed in trucks on
that date, while women and children were given 72 hours to depart (see
in 1997, Castro implemented Decree 217, which was designed to "control the
migration flow from poorer provinces to the capital city of Havana." In
effect, this specifically targeted the poor black and mulatto population
concentrated in the eastern provinces. "The decree also resulted in numerous
credible reports that said many desperate blacks and mulatto squatters, not
having official permission to reside in Havana under Decree 217, are
forcibly evicted from their homes and sent back to the countryside.
A new documentary by a young Cuban filmmaker has cast a harsh spotlight on
the housing and other serious problems faced by the thousands of Cubans who
move illegally from the provinces to Havana in search of better lives.
The migrants, mostly from eastern Cuba and known as ''Palestinians'' because
they lack legal residency in Havana, often are forced to live in shanty
towns on the edges of the capital and expelled by police back to their
''The phenomenon of forcible return continues to exist, although the police
proceed silently and with some secrecy,'' said Elizardo Sánchez, president
of the illegal but tolerated Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National
Sánchez estimated that dozens of people are expelled from Havana every week
by bus or train after being detained for failure to produce documents
confirming their legal residence in Havana. Repeat violators are taken to
court, although the sanctions consist only of fines and official
''banishment'' from the capital for several years.
Source: "Film casts harsh light on problems in Havana."
Original source link: http://www.miamiherald.com/581/story/163899.html
Archive copy: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaVerdad/message/32256
Cuba and Inequality
2. Right to leave the country.
The Penal Code also defines the crime of salida illegal del país, "illegal
exit from country." Under Penal Code Articles 216 and 217, those caught
trying to leave the country without the permission of the government can be
fined or imprisoned for up to three years if they have not used violence and
up to eight years if force or intimidation is used. In cases where passenger
vessels or airplanes are hijacked, the charge is usually one of piratería,
"piracy." Under Penal Code Article 117, piracy carries a penalty of up to 20
years imprisonment, or a possible sentence of death if there is loss of life
or risk to the lives of others.25
In the past three decades, thousands of Cubans have been imprisoned for
trying to leave the island without permission. In 1994, illegal exit
prisoners were thought to constitute the largest category of political
prisoners in Cuba. In 1990 alone, there were 335 inmates convicted of
illegal exit serving time in a single prison in Havana, the Combinado del
Under the 1995 U.S.-Cuba immigration agreement, the Cuban government
promised to "ensure that no action is taken against those migrants returned
to Cuba as a consequence of their attempt to emigrate illegally."27 However,
the Cuban government still has neither eliminated nor amended Penal Code
Articles 216 and 217 to reflect this commitment. Although recently there
appears to be a trend toward lighter penalties – e.g., fines and/or house
arrest – particularly in cases of first-time offenders, Articles 216 and 217
are still used to punish people for trying to leave the country without
permission. That underscores the fact that the threat of punishment
continues to hang over the heads of those who are returned to Cuba following
attempts to leave without authorization. The current status of the U.S.-Cuba
immigration agreement and the condition of Cubans who have been repatriated
to Cuba are discussed in Chapter XVI, Section C, of this report.
Back to top.
PVE - Permiso de Viaje al Extranjero.
Does this mean that Cubans are totally unable to travel? No. Cubans travel
on official missions and can travel privately given a government permit.
These permits are referred to as the PVE (Permiso de Viaje al Extranjero)
commonly referred to as the "carta blanca".
The process starts with a "carta de invitación", an invitation to a Cuban by
a foreign national (resident). This invitation needs to be made in a Cuban
consulate (abroad) and can no longer be made at a "consultaría jurídica
internacional" in Cuba since May 2007. In this "letter" the foreigner
formally invites the Cuban to visit him or her in his country. After getting
a passport the Cuban can then apply for the PVE. The PVE is authorized (or
not) based on the information the governments holds about the person. A
criminal record, bad marks in the permanent record for any form of civil
disobedience, a bad CDR report, relatives that are involved in dissident
activities, to be "bajo de FAR" (of age to be called up for military
service, but not having performed it yet) which means basically from 16
onwards, to be "too young" and even a further education (medical doctors)
are common reasons to refuse the permit to travel. There is no formal way to
appeal the decision. It is basically up to the government to allow or
disallow travel. The PVE allows a stay abroad of up to 11 months. The whole
cost of the process (invitation - passport - PVE) is over U$ 600.
Note that this includes the PVE for one month. For each additional month (up
to a total of 11) an extra fee needs to be paid. A Cuban that tries to
return to Cuba without a valid PVE (with paid extensions) in his passport
will actually be refused by international airlines as they are held liable
for the cost if they allow people with an invalid PVE on the plane. The risk
is that the person is not allowed to enter Cuba.
A new Cuban government regulation that took effect Wednesday May 2 2007 will
make it more difficult for people abroad to invite relatives and friends on
the island to visit them.
Resolution 87/2007, issued by the Foreign Ministry, requires such
invitations to be submitted through Cuban consulates abroad, notarized and
in accordance with the laws of the country where they are requested.
But the consulates will ''have the authority to reject the invitation when
there are elements that recommend that,'' added the resolution, published in
the official gazette.
May 2007 rules:
a.. Press Reports
c.. Resolucion 87/2007 Minrex
PRE - Permiso de Residencia al Extranjero.
A Cuban that marries a person that is a non-resident thereby has no
automatic right to join his or her partner. In order to be allowed to join
your partner abroad one has to obtain a PRE (Permiso de Residencia al
Extranjero). This is the formal permit for a Cuban to take up residence
outside of Cuba. The document also entitles the bearer to take up residence
abroad while being allowed to enter and leave Cuba without the need to apply
for any further travel documents. It also ensures that inheritance and
property rights are maintained (some limits apply). Whenever returning to
Cuba to stay in his former home or with relatives the Cuban has to report
his presence to the authorities.
Again restrictions apply. The best know exception is medical personnel.
First only doctors, now also nurses. But also recent graduates from other
faculties that have not performed their complete "free service" to the
state are not allowed to leave the country to join their partners.
Back to top.
Medical doctors: the special case.
Recent News on the plight of medical doctors
As lots of university graduates medical doctors have to perform a number of
years of free service for the state. Doctors had to perform 3 years as
service in "payment" for their education.
Cuba - Act No. 1254 respecting social service and its regulations issued by
Decree No. 3771 of 1974 provided that Cuban citizens who graduate in higher
education or as middle-level technicians or through regular courses for
primary school teachers, are obliged to perform social service (for the
duration of three years), in accordance with the planning and priorities for
development work laid down by the Government. Unjustified refusal to perform
social service entails temporary or permanent disqualifications from
exercising his or her profession, which is recorded in the workbook of the
person concerned. The Government has indicated that the provisions relative
to temporary or permanent disqualification and everybody knows.
This system has worked for years. Being a doctor (or other university
graduate) was no real impediment to leave the country once one had completed
the 3 years service.
From 1999 onwards the attitude changed as the Cuban regime had started to
"rent out doctors" to other countries (1) and NGO's. The Cuban government
realized that its doctors had a "commercial value" and that allowing them to
emigrate (even after completing their obligations to the government) would
reduce Cuba's "earning power". Doctors were sent (against payment) to
countries like Venezuela (doctors for oil), Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia,
... The Cuban regime tried to deny these deals (especially in the case of
Venezuela), but was soon disproved. The whole industry of renting out
doctors brings in more than U$ 750 million annually for Cuba. "I think
medical services will have replaced tourism as our most important source of
revenue in 2005," said Garcia, who directs the Cuban Economy Study Center at
Havana University. (2)
1999: MINSAP regulation 54.14 (3)
"Moreover, since 1999, Cuban physicians have not been able to leave Cuba
with proper documentation and permits according to the MINSAP regulation
Number 54.14 According to this regulation, medical doctors and dentists must
serve 3 to 5 years in designated areas in the island of Cuba before they are
considered for a permission to leave the island. In this manner, Cuban
physicians are blatantly discriminated and made to suffer higher penalties
than the rest of the professionals. "
Note that it says "considered" for permission. that permission is in no way
guaranteed and this process itself can again take years.
"Resolution 54 denies exit permits to medical professionals until they have
performed 3 to 5 years of service in their profession after requesting
permission to travel abroad."
" In February a group of 31 medical professionals sent a letter to the
authorities protesting the Government's decision not to allow them to
proceed with their legal emigration. These medical professionals were
granted immigrant status by other countries, but the Ministry of Health had
refused to grant them permission to secure exit permits. The doctors made
the document public. The Government responded by terminating their
employment, relocating them to remote and undesirable health care
facilities, or ostracizing them." (4)
In 2002 health minister Damodar Peña Penton said that doctors who want to
emigrate should face stiffer requirements.
"The health department requires that doctors who request permission to
emigrate spend three to five years at posts specified by authorities in the
region where the medial practioners live.
We have to increase the strength of the evaluations of the re-settled
doctors and our control over them," warned Peña during a meeting with
regional medical directors, according to a source who sought anonymity.
A poor evaluation of a doctor who seeks to emigrate means that he or she has
to spend more work time before leaving." (5)
The current situation is one of total dependence of doctors on the
"goodwill" of the Cuban government. The despair this creates is clear.
Marriages brake up and people take to leaving Cuba in an illegal manner as
this doctor did on the "taxi boat".(6)
Refusing to go abroad as a doctor can also lead to sanctions under Cuban
Cuba - section 220 of the Labour Code: a sentence of imprisonment of from
six months to two years may be imposed on a person who, by breach of the
duties placed on him by his office, employment, occupation or profession in
a state economic unit (particularly of his duties relating to the observance
of the standards or standard-setting instructions and other rules and
instructions concerning technological discipline) causes harm or substantial
prejudice to the production output or to the rendering of services by the
unit or to its equipment, machines, machinery, tools or other technical
devices. The Committee has noted the information provided by the Government
in its report (including the documents annexed to the report), to the effect
that any sentences of correctional labour imposed for violations of this
provision are subject to the person sentenced being willing to perform such
(1) "Castro's "Doctor Diplomacy", Originally published in the Medical
Sentinel 2000;5(5):163-166. Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
A distinction is usually made between the short-term temporary flows which
occur when countries such as China and Cuba send health personnel abroad to
earn foreign exchange
"Cuba denies medics-for-oil trade", Sapa-AFP, 10/10/2000.
"CUBAN BARTER SYSTEM DOES NOT FAVOR VENEZUELA", UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE,
"Cuba, Venezuela Sign Oil Deal", The Associated Press, October 30, 2000.
"Venezuela and Cuba trade oil for doctors", Andy Webb-Vidal and Marc Frank,
Financial Times, October 11 2004.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaVerdad/message/13248 (In Spanish)
"Cuba and Venezuela Deepen Ties with Medical-Oil Swap", NewsMax.com Wires,
July 13, 2005.
" Venezuela medics march over jobs", BBC NEWS, 2005/07/15.
"Using oil to spread revolution", The Economist Newspaper, Jul 28th 2005.
"HOW VENEZUELA SUBSIDIZES THE CASTRO REGIME", Cuba Transition Project, Issue
10, April 2005.
http://ctp.iccas.miami.edu/FACTS_Web/Cuba Facts Issue 10 April 2005.htm
"Cuba's medical services becoming major moneymaker", South Florida Sun
Sentinel, Dec.18 2005.
"Medical know-how boosts Cuba's wealth ", BBC, Jan. 17 2006.
"The income to Castro's purse from this "doctor diplomacy" in Zimbabwe alone
is estimated at $1.2 million (U.S.) per month."
Gaither C. Diserción en Zimbabwe empaña la "diplomacia médica" de Castro. El
Nuevo Herald, June, 12, 2000.
"According to a Cuban economist, overall earnings from the export of
medical, teaching and other professional services could reach $750m (€586m,
£404m) this year, most of it from Venezuela."
"Castro's doctors give Chávez shot in arm", Financial Times, 2/9/05.
The ministry's Director of International Corporation Joseph Chite told the
Public Accounts Committee recently that the agreement to have students from
Malawi trained in various fields in Cuba has turned out to be expensive for
Malawi and the students suffer in Cuba because they are not well
He said the Cuba demands that the Malawi pays fees for its students, many of
whom were sent to study medicine, information technology and athletics but
the Cuban government demands that the expatriates Cuba sends to Malawi be
fully paid by the Malawi government.
Chite was answering a question from PAC members who wanted to know how the
bilateral agreement with the government of Cuba was working.
"Malawi is not utilizing the agreement because the situation on the ground
is different. We are even thinking of withdrawing the remaining student in
Cuba because the conditions he is living is are very pathetic ," Chite said.
(3) "Castro's "Doctor Diplomacy", Originally published in the Medical
Sentinel 2000;5(5):163-166. Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Also: "GRADUACIÓN CIENCIAS MÉDICAS CURSO 2002-2003"
(4) "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2001", Released by the
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 4, 2002
(5) "Health minister asks tighter restrictions on doctors who want to
emigrate", Omar Ruiz, Grupo Decoro, Cubanet, December 9, 2002.
"Ministro de Salud pide más rigor para médicos que quieren emigrar", Omar
Ruiz, Grupo Decoro, Cubanet, 6 de diciembre, 2002.
(6) "Floating taxi family hails ride out of Cuba", New York Daily, June 21,
Post by redflag
It is the office of the U.S. Cuban section
in Havana that limits the ammount of visas precisely to create the problem
of illegal exits.
- Cuban try to go to lots of countries, not just the US, in all cases they
need an exit visa
- Cuba frequently denies eixt visas to lots of people like Raul Rivero to
receive his award from the European parliament and lots of others.
- people holding a valid entry visa to the US are denied exit visas
Monday, March 13, 2006
Castro retiene a 533 cubanos con visa para EEUU
A. the right to travel is universal and not a “right to emigrate”. Freedom
of movement as defined by article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the
borders of each State.
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to
return to his country.
For propaganda purposes Dan tries to limit the interpretation of freedom of
Cubans should have the right to freely travel from and to their country upon
presentation of their identity papers without the requirement of invitations
and exit and entry visa.
B. thousands of Cubans are stuck in Cuba as they do not receive the
permission to leave the country even though they hold valid entry visas for
a. María del Carmen Acosta Rivera and Enmanuel Rodríguez Acosta are unable
to leave Cuba since the migration authorities will not give them the
respective permission. They have had a visa to enter the United States since
February 23, 1996. It should also be noted that the permit to enter the
United States was issued under the Refugee Program (Case No. 15796), and
that Ernesto Rivero Gutiérrez, the husband of María del Carmen Acosta, has
been in the United States since May 1996.
b. Hilda Molina Morejón and her mother Hilda Morejón Serrantes had their
authorization to leave the country temporarily to visit her family, which
resides in Argentina, rejected. It should be noted that Hilda Molina Morejón
resigned her post as director of the International Center for Neurological
Restoration over ideological issues.
c. During the period covered by this report, Elio Borges Guzmán filed for
the 20,000-visa lottery that the United States offered for those wishing to
emigrate there, and was awarded a family visa. Despite this, Elio Borges,
who is an electronics engineer, with an undergraduate degree in economics,
and who worked with the Ministry of Communication, was denied permission to
leave the country. According to the information provided, the Director of
the Ministry, Carlos Martínez, called him to his office and called him a
"traitor", and threatened him, saying he would only leave the country "when
he [Martínez] felt like it." One month after having won the lottery he was
transferred, as punishment, to a postal office to work delivering telegrams
at a monthly salary of 110 Cuban pesos, i.e. one-third of what he had been
d. Hilda Maestre Hernández and Jean Luis Ramón Labrada, 71 and 19 years of
age respectively, were given visas to travel to the United States in
February 1995. In addition, the Chilean government gave them a tourist visa
on October 11, 1995, at the request of Mr. Iván Van de Wyngard, former
general manager of Entel-Chile, who invited them to visit his country. These
visas were removed from the Chilean consular offices in Havana on January
14, 1996. The Cuban authorities refuse to allow them to travel to Chile,
denying them the exit permit. They have no legal problems nor other problems
that should impede them from travelling. Moreover, both meet all the
requirements officially established by the Cuban migratory authorities. It
has been noted that the refusal of the Cuban authorities appears to be in
response to the fact that the parents of Ramón Labrada sought political
asylum in the United States in May 1994, and therefore cannot travel to
Chile or any other country.
see : http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/OAS-Castillo/chapterv.cub.html
People even felt compelled to sign Castro’s “petition” out of fear of not
getting a carta blanca:
Cubanos suscriben modificación constitucional "para no señalarse"
"Mira, yo fui y firmé porque tengo miedo que después no me den la tarjeta
blanca (permiso de salida del país que otorga el Ministerio del
Interior)" -dijo una mujer que recientemente se ganó la lotería de visas
Elian and Elizabeth
Cuban doctor, nine others reach U.S. on a speedboat
``I had no other option,'' said David Cohen Valdés, 30. Arriving in Boca
Chica, near Key West, he was greeted by his brothers Isaac, 38, and José,
36, who left the island on a raft in August 1994.
``The Cuban government wouldn't allow me to leave -- neither with the U.S.
visa I got in 1995 nor the Dominican visa I got in 1997,'' David said.
Niegan permiso de salida temporal del país a bibliotecaria cubana
Los colores de la tarjeta
Manuel Vázquez Portal, Grupo Decoro
LA HABANA, septiembre - Viajar al extranjero, ya temporal o definitivamente,
en Cuba, no es una decisión personal. Hay que pedir permiso. El permiso lo
otorga el gobierno por medio de su Ministerio del Interior. Al permiso de
salida le llaman "tarjeta blanca". Pero la "tarjeta blanca" cambia de color
según el solicitante. Los hay quienes la adquieren de una albura impoluta.
Para otros se torna de una negrura sin fondo.
Aquellos que han tenido una actitud contraria al régimen pagan el precio de
que su "tarjeta blanca" se les convierta en su "tarjeta negra".
Mira : http://cubanet.org/CNews/y00/sep00/21a6.htm
This also leads to corruption as people desperately try to obtain the carta
blanca they need :
BAJO INVESTIGACIÓN FUNCIONARIOS DE INMIGRACIÓN POR VENTA DE PERMISOS DE
SALIDA DEL PAÍS 15/03/2002
C: People that have left are not allowed to return to visit their relatives.
In August 1999, the government ordered that no Cuban who had
emigrated through illegal channels after September 1994 could ever return to
the island. Previously, those who left illegally were allowed to visit after
spending five years abroad.
See : http://www.hrw.org/wr2k/americas-04.htm