Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile, new immigration destinations for Cubans

Havana, Apr 1 (EFE).- Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile over the past 20 years have become new Latin American destinations for Cubans who decide to emigrate, the official weekly Trabajadores reported Monday.

The director of the Center for International Migration Studies in Cuba, Ileana Sorolla, said that currently Cuban migration in the region "is oriented toward those nations where the oldest historical settlements exist (Mexico, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Venezuela)."

"And in the past two decades Bolivia, Ecuador (and) Chile" have also been destinations for emigrating Cubans, she added in an interview with Trabajadores.

Sorolla emphasized that "today Cuban migration is, essentially, of an economic character, with labor, seasonal, family manifestations," although she did not provide any figures.

Regarding the new immigration measures that entered into force on Jan. 14, she emphasized that "they benefit all Cubans."

The immigration reform, one of the most popular measures put in place by President Raul Castro, put an end to the annoying procedures that the government had imposed on Cubans wanting to travel abroad.

Among other things, the reform eliminated the requirement for an exit permit, broadened from 11 to 24 months the time that Cubans may remain abroad and facilitated the temporary entry into the country of former emigrants, including some who "illegally" abandoned the island.

Sorolla warned that the reform was implemented at a time when "elements of aggression" on the part of the U.S. government exist, including the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act that permits Cubans who manage to reach U.S. soil to obtain permanent residence there.