Home > Miguel Iturria Savón > State Bureaucracy: Via Matrimonial Ordeal

State Bureaucracy: Via Matrimonial Ordeal

February 21, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Like many Spanish who travel to Cuba, Angela A. F. knows that the inhabitants of this island are immersed in their problems, crammed with hardship and frivolities, on the edge of chaos and alienation. She also knows that friends overseas overestimate the events of this environment. She did not know, however, that by marrying a Cuban with whom she had two-year relationship, she would pass through an ordeal of appointments, waiting, stamps, paper and piles of currency, without taking into account the barriers of every kind to legitimizing their union before the Consulate of her country in Havana.

In the days before her fourth trip, before descending on the capital’s airport and embracing her beloved, she had to scamper between Castellon and the Consulate of Cuba in Valencia, where she paid 500 euros for four documents that she would show the International Notary Specialist based in Miramar, in Havana, who would certify their the union before two witnesses and a photographer, after charging 625 convertible pesos (about $625 U.S.) and checking the bundle of papers of her Cubiche boyfriend, a gentle skeptic of fifty who walked with her under the tropical sun between taxis and offices. Then they breathed happy for three days in Varadero.

But the happiness did not last long, because before coming to the Consulate of Spain in Havana she requested the Travel Certificate from the International Consultant in Miramar, where she was charged 150 pesos convertibles and warned that delivery of the document takes one to two months. To make matters worse, at the official Spanish consular appointment she did not receive the rest of the documentation for her spouse who must manage an affidavit and register three certificates in the International Notary Foreign Office, located at 21 and 24, Vedado.

With so much outstanding paperwork and the marital interview postponed, Angela decided to return to the Mediterranean until further notice. While waiting for the stamps from Foreign Relations and the Migration Certificate, the Cuban-Spanish couple communicated by mobile phone and emails. Where appropriate, new technology acts as a matchmaker of the reunion.

The odyssey continues with the request for another consular appointment, the postponed delivery of the documents and her return to Havana for the interview, in which she must answer surreal questions that demonstrate the legitimacy of marriage, because Cubans invent ways of escape, and consular officers are specialists in migratory trickery. For this meeting, both show the letters exchanged, photographs of family and bills to pay for Internet messages and calls from Spain to the island.

If the consulate considers the marriage legitimate and enters it into their the wall of papers and procedures doesn’t end. He will have to put himself out to receive the “Family Book”, apply for the Visa” for reuniting, and then deal with the uniformed officials of Immigration and Nationality, who will demand the Marriage Certificate, Passport, the Permit for leaving, known as the White Card or Freedom Charter; all in hard currency, like the Residence Permit Abroad, whether temporary or permanent, and other legal details that multiply the uncertainties and frustrations.

Although the future is uncertain and distance painful, Angela is tenacious, tough and trusts in love. Her Cuba spouse has survived more severe tests. For now, both are part of that legion of couples who are separated by state bureaucracy.

September 21 2011

  1. Moses
    February 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I enjoy your blog and I usually agree with you completely. This time I must offer a slight difference of opinion. Generally, Cuban immigration policy is not the larger portion of the problem associated with Cuban emigration. I speak from personal experience as my wife is Cuban and emigrated to the US to join me. I have also advised no less than five other American and Cuban exile spouses on the “tramite” of emigration from Cuba. That said, generally the struggle is with the immigration officials of the country to which the Cuban wishes to emigrate. These officials are highly suspicious of every marriage certificate or letter of invitation as being born of some contractual nature instead of true love or friendship. With respect to tourist visas for Cubans, these foreign officials default to the assumption that all Cubans are planning to remain in their visited country, hence “posible inmigrante” in a majority of the rejections. Is there cause for such disbelief in the validity of Cuban-foreigner love and friendship. I will leave that for another blog, but it is a very fair question. The only real negative I have experienced from the Cuban side of the transaction is that most of the staff that you come in contact with seem to say with their actions and their attitudes if not with their words, that if you are trying to leave Cuba, you are doing unpatriotic or conterrevoluctionary. Damn gusanos! Anyway, i look forward to the day when cubans leaving Cuba, either temporarily or permanently, are only faced with one problem-how to pay for the airline ticket!

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