MEXICO CITY -- Cubans now for the first time have the right to travel off the island without a special exit permit, the latest in reforms that the communist government is slowly enacting in hopes of reinvigorating its troubled economy.
The new and much-anticipated regulation went into effect Monday. Eager to take advantage, Cubans lined up from early hours and all day long outside travel agencies and the state offices that issue passports.
Remarkably, it appeared that several longtime Cuban dissidents who have been repeatedly denied permission to travel will also be allowed to leave from and, importantly, return to Cuba. And parents can now determine whether their children travel, instead of it being a mandate of the government.
Renowned antigovernment blogger Yoani Sanchez was among those in line Monday, tweeting that she was told she could travel freely once her passport was issued within 15 days. She has been denied travel dozens of times, including to events at which she was to have received awards for her work.