This summer has been marked not only by a disquieting heat, which has extended uncharacteristically into these first days of October, but also by shortages in the market in general, and grocery and other stores in particular.

At the same time instability has been gradually increasing, fed by the prolonged silence on the health of the country’s former leader and the excessive caution and slow implementation of the well-publicized reforms announced by the current president.

Ever increasing desertions of professionals are occurring in health care missions in some ALBA countries.* The same is happening among athletes who compete overseas. The endless lines — made up of people of all ages, most of whom are young — to be found at the embassy gates of Spain, Mexico and the United States, to name but a few countries, are an eloquent testimony to the current situation in the country.

All of a sudden we awoke today to the news that, after January 13, 2013, a new emigration law will take effect that will do away with the required letter of invitation and the well-known exit visa (known as the “white card”). Aside from the fact that the law will require not even three months to take effect, it is significant that this has already been announced by the newspaper Granma.

Will this end up being a smokescreen, created to serve as a distraction from all the previously mentioned issues, or is it perhaps intended relieve a little of the pressure building up in the political kettle, which seems to be near the bursting point?

Based on how it is moving forward, this crippled emigration measure will not be the same for all citizens. There will be exceptions. In fact it already presents some problems. Even so, it has raised hopes and expectations in the entire population, including those who have no dreams of being able to travel someday.

It is like a poor hen, who has been plucked in the middle of winter, being offered a few feathers by the very people who plucked her.

Translator’s note: ALBA is the Spanish acronym for Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, an international organization made up of socialist and social democratic countries of Latin America including Antigua and BarbudaBoliviaCubaDominicaEcuadorNicaraguaSaint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela

October 16 2012

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