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Cubans eye foreign travel as restrictions eased

Cubans eye foreign travel as restrictions eased
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A new law has come into force in Cuba designed to make it easier to travel abroad.

After being in existence for 50 years, the hated exit permits that were so difficult to come by have been abolished: from now on a simple passport will be enough to leave the country.

Passports can still be refused for reasons of “public interest”, and the cost has doubled to $100 (75 euros) – five times the average monthly wage.

But the overall cost of the documents needed to travel abroad is now much cheaper.

The change is welcomed by many:
“Everybody (else) can do it. They travel, they come and they go. And now we also have the chance to do it. And this is normal,” said one man.

“It’s the end of something that should have happened before in this country. We also want to be happy and to see our families united,” another man said in the capital Havana.

Many Cubans still dream of following friends and relatives who managed to make the 145-kilometre (90 mile) journey across the water to the US.

Travellers will also be able to stay abroad for longer, for up to two years.