The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

To Be or Not To Be a Cuban Citizen

January 22, 2018

On Jan. 4, the Cuban government passed a law allowing the children of Cuban parents to obtain citizenship without requiring residency on the island. Because of Cuba’s climate, the increasing number of Cubans seem to flee to the U.S. to live in a free and economically-stable country, despite Obama’s end to the “wet foot, dry foot” policy over a year ago.

While those who want to go back to Cuba full-time may jump at this opportunity, many are not sure about the Cuban government’s application system of approval and rejection based on political criteria.

Both the child and parent have to meet the requirements which include: parents cannot have engaged or advocated in any revolutionary acts, they cannot have committed economic, political or social revolts against the Cuban government and finally applicants must pass an exam on Cuba’s political system and “national happenings.”

This indicates that applicants must prove extensive knowledge on Cuba, such as the country’s official communist party newspaper, Granma, which was the name of the yacht that Fidel Castro and 82 other rebel fighters initially came on, from Mexico to Cuba during the Cuban Revolution.

The percentage of Hispanic students who attend Palmetto is 44 percent, the largest percentage of any other ethnicity or race in Palmetto’s student body. Cuban-American senior Alexa Rivas, while wanting to obtain a citizenship, fears what exactly what it would do for her life.

“Although I would love to become a Cuban citizen, I would be concerned about what that means in the eyes of their communist government and how that could affect my life,” Rivas said.

Because of Cuba’s proximity to Miami, 34.1 percent of Miami’s population is made up of Cuban immigrants according to the World Population Review. Subsequently, Miami has a large demographic according of Cuban Americans and newly-arrived students who got the opportunity to immigrate during their high school years. Getting away from this period of economic downfall ‒ the country’s GDP is still struggling to recover from its steep one-third fall two decades before.

Senior Damien Fernandez moved to Miami from Cuba two years ago with his family because of the island’s state and is considering going back for college to attend Havana University.

“It’s good that more people can now obtain legal citizenship because that means they can help Cuba’s economy,” Fernandez said. “Every time I go back, I see more Americans.”

According to the Atlantic Council, the more US tourists bring their business to these small Cuban business, the larger the influx of capital.

Along with Fernandez, many have waited for the chance to return while others wish to do anything but. Upon leaving, many swear their feet will never come in contact with Cuban ground again in spite of the tyrannical regime, who would directly profit from the sale of passports.

Senior Sofia Mesa, whose family is from Cuba explains that the chance of her obtaining legal citizenship or even try applying is very slim because of the stories her father has told her.  

“I wouldn’t ever attempt to obtain citizenship, my dad, who was born there, promised his mother that he would never go back because of the terror she endured during her life there,” senior Sofia Mesa said. “I wouldn’t ever want to put him through the same strife he protected her from.”

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