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realclearworld

Cubans fleeing the island and the ‘reforms’ of the Castro dictatorship in record numbers

It seems that while the Castro dictatorship looks quite adept at propaganda here in the U.S. with its campaign to promote the regime's farcical economic reforms, its propaganda program appears nowhere near as effective in Cuba. According to official figures, Cubans are fleeing the island and in effect, the "reforms" of the Castro dictatorship, in record numbers.

Perhaps the Castro regime should transfer some of its "Cuba Experts" from the U.S. to Havana.

Via Reuters:

Cuba reports highest outflow of citizens since 1994
People wait for their name to be called by a worker of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Cuba, the U.S. Interests Section, (USINT), as they wait for U.S. visas in Havana January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

People wait for their name to be called by a worker of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Cuba, the U.S. Interests Section, (USINT), as they wait for U.S. visas in Havana January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

(Reuters) - The number of Cubans leaving their country has increased steadily in recent years, the government reported on Wednesday, reaching levels not seen since 1994 when tens of thousands took to the sea in makeshift rafts and rickety boats.

Separately, the U.S. State Department on Wednesday announced it is lengthening most visitor visas for Cubans from six months to five years, allowing them to make multiple U.S. visits over the five-year period instead of repeatedly applying and paying the $160 fee for the privilege.

Cuba liberalized travel restrictions in January, making it much easier and less expensive for residents to travel and to return after they emigrate, and eliminating the confiscation of property of migrants, perhaps in hopes of slowing the outflow.

The new Cuban travel measures extend to 24 months the amount of time Cubans can be out of the country without losing rights and they can seek an extension of up to 24 months more.

In theory, the changes on both sides of the Florida Straits should make it easier for Cubans not only to travel but to work in the United States and return home when they want.

According to Cuba's annual demographic report for 2012, 46,662 Cubans migrated permanently in 2012, the largest annual figure since more than 47,000 left the communist-ruled island in 1994 after what international observers dubbed the "Rafter Crisis."

Over the last five years, Cubans have been emigrating at an average annual rate of more than 39,000, the report said, higher than in any other five-year period since the earliest years of the revolution.

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