Cuba Travel ‘Reform’: Two very different dissidents, two very different results

Last night, Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez happily tweeted a photograph of her brand new Cuban passport that will now hopefully allow her to travel freely in and out of Cuba. As the recipient of many awards for her critical writings of the Castro regime, Yoani should now be able to leave Cuba and accept these accolades. However, my only advice to her, which is completely unsolicited, is to set aside a few months for her first trip with her new passport. During this extended trip she should do her best to visit as many places as possible because once she gives her first public speech on foreign soil and in front of the media denouncing the Castro regime, that will be the last time she will be allowed to travel. That is, of course, assuming the Cuban dictatorship will allow her back into Cuba.

For another prominent dissident, Angel Moya, who is a former political prisoner and member of the Group of 75 imprisoned during the Black Spring of 2003, the news of his passport application was not nearly as good. The Cuban dictatorship denied Moya’s passport request, citing reasons of “public interest.” Unlike Yoani, most of the world has no idea who Moya is and if he were to travel outside of Cuba, the international press would most likely offer sparse coverage if any coverage at all.

So you have two Cuban dissidents, one now apparently allowed to travel while the other still remains condemned to the island prison. One is a young white woman who is a scholar and wields a pen as her sword. The other is an older black man who is a construction worker and uses his body to protest on Cuba’s streets, receiving countless beatings at the hands of Castro State Security. One speaks and writes eloquently, carefully, in pragmatic and measured tones. The other uses every opportunity to denounce and condemn the atrocities of the Castro regime in the strongest terms possible.

Two very different dissidents, and two very different results.

Via the AP:

Cuba Dissidents Approved, Denied for Passports

Two Cuban dissidents who applied for passports to go overseas under recently enacted travel reform reported mixed results Wednesday, as one former prisoner was turned down while a prominent blogger excitedly tweeted a photo of her brand new, bright blue travel document.

“The called me at home to say my passport was ready! They just delivered it!” Yoani Sanchez wrote on Twitter. “Here it is, now the only thing left is to get on that plane.”


But the case of Angel Moya, who was locked up for years in connection with his political activities, indicates that Cuba intends to exercise a legal clause by which it retains the right to restrict some citizens’ right to travel.

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Moya, one of 75 other anti-government activists imprisoned in a 2003 crackdown on dissent, said he went to file paperwork and the $50 application fee to request a passport, but a clerk turned him down.

“She told me, after consulting a database, that I was restricted and it couldn’t be processed for reasons of public interest,” Moya told The Associated Press.

Moya said the office clerk showed him her computer screen and the file did not contain a specific reason why he was not allowed to apply for the travel document. But the travel law contains language reserving the right to withhold passports for reasons of national interest and for people with pending legal cases, and he’s sure that’s affecting his situation.

Read the entire article HERE.