Is Leaving Cuba a Crime?

Marta Vazquez’s mother wants her to go to the United States. Marta is currently undecided. You have to choose between achieving your dream or losing your home. That is the choice for future Cuban emigrants.

For several years, Marta has wanted to leave the country. She has never tried illegally. She is incapable of endangering the lives of her two children on the high seas. She entered the raffle for 1998, but no luck.

Her dream delayed, she decided to continue with her life. In 2001, her mother was visiting the United States and stayed. The  remittance she sent her every month allowed her to build her house. Leaving the country became a lower priority.

However, her mother, after becoming a U.S. citizen, insists that she come. She is undecided, she refuses to give up the time, sweat and money invested in building her home. The sacrifice of her mother, who at 65 is working in a foreign country, is only to help her.

But something makes her think constantly of emigrating. The future of her two children. Mainly the boy, a 21-year-old who has left school and is involved in business on the street. She fears he will end up in jail.

Stories like Marta’s occur often in Cuba. It can be told in a thousand ways, with different motives and reasons. Each one is sufficient to justify emigration. However, everyone has to choose. Above all, they must ask themselves: For what would you risk losing everything?

The Cuban emigrant may be unique in that he loses all rights as a citizen in his homeland. He must ask permission to leave without the right of return. Then apply for a license to visit his birthplace. To make matters worse, the government implements legal provisions that prevent him from keeping his own possessions.

Law 989 of December 5, 1961, in force in the legal system, establishes the measures to take about the furniture or fixed assets, or any other item of value, etc. of those who leave with unforgivable contempt for the country. The normal procedure is that the property of emigrants is nationalized through confiscation, without compensation.

The confiscation is a penalty incurred and incidental to a penalty for committing a criminal act. The emigre must give up his property, without the right to compensation. Should the question be: Is it a crime to leave Cuba?

Laritza Diversent

Translated by: CIMF

  1. Anonymous
    July 6, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Being a regular visitor to Cuba, i am appauled at these restructions imposed by the government on its own people. The people of Cuba should be free to come and go as they wish. Every opportunity should be given to them to make their life better.

  2. Carmen Sanchez
    April 9, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Necesito saber que consecuencias pude tener para mi el ayudar a que un cubano que sale legalmente de Cuba se quede en EU y no regrese… Tengo un amigo que va a salir a una actividad artistica en EU y no desea volver, Lo quiero ayudar pero sin perjudacarme yo….
    Por favor contesteme rapido…. alafaya51@hotmail.com

    Por favor, estoy desesperada….

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