Cuba eases travel rules for people
The announcement Tuesday came as blockbuster news on the island, where citizens were ecstatic at the prospect of being able to leave for a vacation _ or even forever _ with only a passport and a visa from the country of their destination.
“Wow, how great!'' said Mercedes Delgado, a 73-year-old retiree. 'Citizens' rights are being restored. ... Let's hope this is a breakthrough to keep returning the rights that they have taken away from us.''
The decree still allows Cuban authorities the ability to deny travel by many Cubans for reasons of defense and ``national security,'' suggesting that dissidents may continue to face restrictions. So will doctors, scientists, athletes, members of the military and others considered key contributors, as well as those who face criminal charges.
An end to the hated exit visa had been promised since last year by President Raul Castro as part of his five-year reform plan. Analysts called it the latest and biggest step in a gradual relaxation of restrictions on things like opening private small businesses, owning cell phones, staying in tourist hotels and buying and selling homes and cars.
“It's an important step forward in human rights, the ability to travel outside of your country without the government's
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