Just out of curiosity

How would the US goverment react if the munificent crown prince raul eliminates the travel restrictions the monarchical regime has imposed on the Cuban people for half a century? What if that policy change prompts a mass exodus of Cubans to the US?
It is a purely hypothetical exercise, but how do you readers think the events would unfold if such an event took place? Share your predictions in the comments.

13 thoughts on “Just out of curiosity”

  1. i would say “1994 all over again”,with the added bonus of a propably confrontation of USA againts Cuba….
    an exodus is a threat to the security of this country,and with Bush in the White House,don’t expect too much “bla bla”…..

  2. Even if the white card is discontinued, Cubans would still need a visa to enter the US. Since only 20,000 are given out each year, and there is a backlog, a lot of frustrated Cubans will not be able to leave as quickly as they would want. This will give the new king a reason to again blame the US for all its problems….Somos los malos otra vez!

  3. This will create a mass exodus. Don’t you for once think that visas will restrict them. They will go to Mexico and come in through there. This will possibly force the US’ hand on the wet foot dry foot policy. This is a double edged sword as this can cause a stir in Cuba due to instability as well as with the US government. This will either backfire on raul or force some very painful decisions by the US. Will it free Cuba? Nothing less than an uprising in Cuba will ever free Cuba. If this brings one about then it may be historic. If not then it will be just another Mariel experience.

  4. But they need a visa to go to Mexico also. The biggest obstacle for Cubans to emigrate now is not the white card, unless you’re a doctor or a recent graduate, but to get a visa from other country.

  5. I know what I would do if I was in charge of our Cuban policy. I would push to get rid of the Cuban Adjustment Act and only give asylum to those who express a well founded fear of persecution. I would propose legislation to end the symbolic embargo and encourage as many Cuban Americans to visit their relatives, take them to the resorts and experience a Cuba they haven’t seen. I am convinced after visiting Cuba last week, that hardly anyone in Cuba supports the Revolution. But, instead of focusing on changing their country, cubans focus all their energy on getting their daily meal(resolviendo) and figuring out how to get out of Cuba. If Cubans were less concerned with their Carta Blanca and more concerned with demanding change from their government we wouldnt be having this discussion. Close the US to Cubans and open Cuba to Americans and Cuban Americans and the communist clan will be out in less than 6 months. The embargo and travel restrictions are a hindrance to change in Cuba.

  6. rg,
    raul will be more than happy to get rid of his “dead weight”. Tourist visas are there for the taking and from what I understand that is what is intended here. So a Cuban gets someone in the US to send them some “vacation” money and they scamper off to wherever and end up in the US.
    I am glad that others see the reality of another 50 years of bondage for our Cuba brothers and sisters if we do not see an uprising. Freedom comes at a price. And freedom never comes without the shed blood that is the price for freedom. Dissidence will only be effective as a spark in lighting the fuse of counter-revolution. What we need to do with our blogs that are read in Cuba is to stimulate them to the reality that they will rot and die unless they are willing to stand against raul and co. The ball is in their court. Cubans will continue to die. The question is whether they will die as slaves to the regime or die liberating Cuba. Cuba needs a Marti today.

  7. If there is a mass exodus to the U.S. the government will have to rethink the “wet foot/dry foot” policy. With all this anti-immigration sentiment going on alot of people will speak out against it, and we will be forced to close it’s doors to Cubans.

  8. Roberto,
    Cuba has been open to Cuban-Americans since 1979, that’s almost 30 years, and what has changed in Cuba? Nico.
    As for opening up Cuba to Americans, what makes them different from any other tourist group that has been traveling to Cuba for decades? Do Americans have some kind of magic wand they use to automatically free the natives of any particular country they “visit?”

  9. Val,
    Although there are still many political prisioners and a great lack of freedom, I think lot has changed since 1979. I lived in Cuba when my relatives visited my family in 1979. I came in 1980 and went back to Cuba for the first time in 28 years this month. The difference is obvious. Everyone I talked to in the streets openly speaks against the government. When I lived there that kind of talk would only happened in private. This is happening because of increased exposure to the world outside of Cuba. The embargo stands in the way of change, it is one of the last tools the government has to justify their incompentance. I think we Americans do have a magic wand. I wish you could have heard the conversations I had with one of my little nieces who gave me a Che key chain who didnt really know who CHe was. We need people like you exchanging ideas with our fellow Cubans in Cuba. I was there for 7 days and didnt have any information from the US. No internet, no CNN, no free press. Americans and Cuban Americans in larger numbers would transform that place. Please get a religious license and visit Cuba, I think you will change your mind on what is the best course for a democratic Cuba.

  10. “Tourist visas are there for the taking”, I disagree. All countries are very wary of getting tourist visas to cubans because they know Cuba’s situation and they know it will very likely be a one way ticket. The white card is a burden and I am glad they are removing it, but it is not that hard to get if you are just a regular folk.
    It won’t be like you have a thousand dollars, you go to the Mexico embassy request a tourist visa and off you go.

  11. I’ve been thinking about this exact subject and am having trouble trying to predict what would happen if they really remove the travel restrictions. Here’s some starters:
    People that have already won the visa lottery or received the new supplemental family reunification visas will be the first to leave and they’ll do so through normal (i.e. airplane) means. Still the number of people we’re talking about is not insignificant.
    Intellectuals and others that are invited to events in foreign countries will accept those invitations and many of them will seek asylum in those countries.
    I don’t think we’ll have another rafter crisis. For one thing things aren’t as abysmal from a “food on the table” point of view as they were during the 90s. This is mainly because Venezuela is subsidizing Cuba not because of any great economic accomplishments. Plus rafts are too slow moving and the wet/dry foot policy is still in effect.
    What I think we’ll see is more human smuggling, and family members using their own boats or rented boats to go down and retrieve relatives. It could become ugly pretty quick with vessels trying to evade the coast guard.
    The question is what will the administration do in response? I suppose that one of the routes would be to do away with wet/dry foot and replace it with “no foot” policy, similar to that which the U.S. has with other countries. That would not be desirable at all. I don’t think the present administration would do that but I suppose it’s within the realm of possibilities.
    One thing is for sure, such an action on the part of the castro regime, if fully enacted, would put the onus on the U.S. to come up with something that doesn’t create a crisis for the U.S. and doesn’t alienate Cuban-Americans. A solomonian solution. I can’t think of one.

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