Lazy Havana Bureaus Strike Again

Thursday, May 3, 2012
The media has been (yet again) abuzz with speculation that the Castro regime will end its prohibition on allowing Cubans to freely enter and leave the island.

The AP's Havana bureau reported yesterday:

After controlling its citizens comings and goings for five decades, Cuba appears on the verge of a momentous decision to end many travel restrictions, with one senior official saying a "radical and profound" change is weeks away.

Notice how it doesn't mention when the "senior official" said this?

The senior official is National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcon.

And the problem is that while he said changes to travel prohibitions are "weeks away," he made this statement "weeks ago" -- in mid-March to be precise.

It was made during a March interview with a pro-Castro French academic, Salim Lamrani, which he first released on March 26th.

Moreover, Castro's Vice Foreign Minister Dagoberto Rodriguez has since denied that such prohibitions will be lifted.

Fortunately, the State Department was up-to-speed during yesterday's Daily Press Briefing, when a reporter asked:

Q. There’s talk that Raul Castro might ease some of the travel restrictions in Cuba. What would this mean? And what good benefits could it also have maybe from U.S. policy side?

State Department Spokesman Mark Toner: Well, I actually looked into that. We don’t have any – we haven’t seen that there’s going to be any announcements, so I don’t know what precisely you’re referring to. I mean, speaking more broadly, you know we would certainly welcome greater freedom of movement for the Cuban public.