The "Rehabilitated" Cubans

Saturday, July 9, 2011
Journalist Achy Obejas (formerly of The Chicago Tribune) is trying to get to Cuba.

The following narrative from her most recent ordeal explains how only "rehabilitated" Cuban-Americans are approved for entry -- even though it's their own homeland -- by the Castro regime.

Makes you wonder what it takes to become "rehabilitated."

Here's an excerpt from, "Traveling to Cuba, as a Cuban":

[I]in most countries, citizens can breeze in and out with a passport. And I have that. In fact, it's good until March 12 of next year. I also have a nifty little sticker on my Cuban passport called the "rehabilatación," a unique Cuban permit that allows certain citizens to go in and out of the island without having to ask permission each time.

Yeah, Cubans need to ask permission of Cuba to both come and go from their own country. Not just me or other Cubans living abroad. Everybody. If you don't get the permit as a rehabilitación, you have to get an individual travel waiver each and every time you travel, in and out of Cuba. (It's like getting a visa to your own country as well as to the country you're going to.)

But there's one other little thing, called a "prórroga." If you look it up, it means deferment or some such thing. You may wonder what, exactly, is being deferred. But your passport, which is good for 6 years, and your rehabilitación, which runs concurrently, are worthless without a prórroga, which is only good for two years at a time.

Needless to say, the passport has a fee, the rehabilitación has a separate fee, and the prórroga has a separate fee. Never mind that they all work together.

So when I arrived yesterday, all was good except my prórroga but I wasn't worried. I'd travelled through Jamaica dozens of times with the same situation and simply gotten my prórroga renewed in Cuba. No such luck here.