Cubans travelling abroad in record numbers, officials say

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cubans are taking advantage of the loosening of travel restrictions this year to go abroad in record numbers, the government said yesterday, with the tally of travellers rising by 35 per cent since a new law took effect in January.

The United States, Mexico and Spain were the most visited destinations by Cubans, according to Colonel Lamberto Fraga Hernandez, deputy director of immigration.

The new law got rid of Cuba’s much-hated need to obtain an exit visa and loosened other restrictions that had discouraged Cubans from leaving.

Fraga said that 226,877 Cubans had travelled abroad since the law went into effect on Jan 14, compared to 167,684 during the same period in 2012 and far more than travelled in previous years.

Cubans can now travel abroad for up to two years without returning home to renew their passports. Fraga said 58 per cent had already returned and 24,000 had traveled more than once this year.

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