Law allowing Cubans to go abroad without permit takes effect

15 января 2013, 10:53
A law allowing Cubans to travel abroad without special permits took effect on the communist-ruled island Monday for the first time in half a century, AFP reports.

According to the statute published in the Official Gazette, Cubans can now travel abroad without an exit permit or a foreign invitation provided they have a valid passport. The law came into effect at midnight local time (0500 GMT).

The reform was anxiously awaited by many Cubans, some of whom told AFP they would apply for passports on Monday to be able to make foreign trips.

Dissidents such as Berta Soler, leader of the opposition movement knows as Ladies in White, have expressed skepticism at the measure however.

"The immigration reform is no different from all the others," she said. "There will always be some filter. In the end, the government will choose who can or cannot exit the country."

The law nevertheless marks one of the most far-reaching reforms introduced by President Raul Castro since he took over from his ailing brother Fidel in February 2008.

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