Monday, April 21, 2008

Petition for migration policy reform

Pedro Riera Escalante, a former Cuban intelligence official, last week submitted a petition to the National Assembly in which he seeks a national referendum on a proposal to change Cuban law. His proposal includes, among other provisions, abolishing the exit permit so Cubans can travel abroad freely, eliminating barriers to Cubans returning to Cuba, giving Cubans abroad the right to vote, and guaranteeing that Cubans who leave the island to reside abroad do not lose their property.

AFP describes Riera Escalante’s proposal and his personal history here in English. El Nuevo Herald’s treatment is more detailed and links to a pdf of the proposal itself. The proposal, of course, comes amid rumors that the government has already decided to abolish the exit permit requirement.

It’s an interesting proposal for a radical change in Cuban policy, and it does not come from the opposition composed of dissident groups. Riera Escalante frames his proposal by favorably citing Raul Castro’s calls for strong debate and by applauding the government’s signing of the UN human rights conventions. He refers to Cuba’s 1940 constitution as a possible foundation for the right to depart and return. And in his proposal, he writes that his ideas could “contribute to a climate favorable to the elimination of the restrictions established by the government of the United States on travel and the sending of remittances to Cuba.”


Anonymous said...

"He refers to Cuba’s 1940 constitution as a possible foundation for the right to depart and return."

That is absolutely astonishing. Considering Fidel and Co. promised to re-institute the Constitution of 1940 when they seized power back in '59 and promptly decided to shelf that idea in order to consolidate their grip. Now certain folks are referencing the document again? Unbelievable. Again, big things are afoot. The Constitution of 1940 and its re-establishment would essentially abolish the communist system thus, it's mere mention by someone who is at least to some extent - in the hierarchy - is absolutely mind blowing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, above comment was left by me - forgot to sign.

-Anatasio Blanco

Anonymous said...

Of course, for every two steps forward in Cuba, there's another step back. Sigh. I just saw the report on concerning the breakup of the Ladies in White protest. Some things never change I guess. At least there were folks there who were focused enough to photograph all the security officials involved in the event. I am still of the belief that images of these people need to be disseminated. These folks deserve all the embarrassment that can be heaped on them (security goons).