Investor’s Business Daily Editorial
The media were quick to praise Cuba’s “liberalizing” move to scrap exit visas for Cubans who want out. In reality, all the signs are pointing to a Cuba raring to dump a new wave of refugees onto U.S. shores.
The communist government announced Tuesday that an exit visa would no longer be required for most Cubans to leave the country as of Jan. 14. The media’s instant reaction was that the move was another sign of liberalization under the helm of Raul Castro, who wants to patch things up with Cuba’s vast diaspora of emigres.
Likelier, it was the resurrection of an old tactic the Castro brothers have employed in the past — unleashing thousands of refugees onto the U.S. as they did in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift and in 1994 — as a means of avoiding an Arab Spring against their failed 53-year-old regime.
The details pretty well tell that story.
Can a potentially desirable immigrant, such as a doctor, scientist or military man, pack up and head for Miami? Nope. The law prohibits such talent the right to leave on “national security” grounds.
Can dissidents get out? No. The Castro regime says exit visas are no longer needed, but passports are — and the Cuban government can deny those to anyone it wants. So any dissident can still be stopped.
That pretty well leaves working-class Cubans, and for this group, Cuba has sweetened its deal, letting them keep citizenship, rent out their houses and visit at least once every two years. Obviously, Cuba wants them to keep ties to the island, which in its own logic means hard currency from cash remittances.
Cuba’s $18 billion economy takes in $1 billion in remittances now, and that could rise with a new wave.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re happy some Cubans are getting the right to travel. But we’re not naive.
Cuba’s paralyzed economy has slowed below state planning goals to 2.7% GDP growth. Imports have plunged over 50% in four years, and Cuba’s sugar daddy, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, is seriously ill.
By Castro’s cynical logic, what better than to have friendly emigrants bail him out with Uncle Sam’s benefit cash? Bet on Cuba’s regime knowing this.