From Yesterday to Today

Brian is a friend of my son, Rafael, who will complete high school this year.  He still does not know what he wants to study, maybe physical education or law.  But while Brian is deciding what to chose for his future, his parents are one step ahead of him, they are applying for Spanish citizenship for him on the basis if his being a grandson of an immigrant.  Brian doesn’t really understand what that might mean for his future, but his intuition is that it could make a difference when the time comes.

There are thousands of people chasing after documents related to their grandparents so they can obtain foreign citizenship, I doubt if such a thing happens in other places with the intensity that it occurs here in Cuba.  I don’t know if sociological institutions study this at all, but it used to be that in Spain, they valued having parents who were of native descent because in those days, it was Cuba that represented a destination for immigrants, a destination that today grateful grandchildren use to obtain Spanish passports.

This phenomenon has caused such repercussions that the core of the Party — a little late for sure — has shifted its analysis to those militants who have applied for the coveted citizenship.  The militancy has to determine if the causes are justified or not.  This has provided a place for familiar justifications.

This would be only an anecdote if it were not for one small detail.  For a Cuban citizen to accept possession of other citizenship, the government of Cuba could not require a ‘Letter of Invitation,’ a passport and permission to leave, which cost approximately 350 CUC per person.  It is interesting because the Cuban Constitution does not recognize dual citizenship.  They would also lose a valuable source of income from Cuban residents living abroad and citizens in their respective adoptive countries, who feel obligated to pay the Cuban consulates to renew their passports which they only use to travel back here.  The state will do anything not to lose a single penny.

In the meantime, Brian, unaware of these subtleties, philosophically commented to my son that it has only been a little more than a hundred years since the Mambises struggled not to be Spanish. And now.

Translated by: Hank


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