How José Latour got out of Cuba
It took decades, but he made it: He Wrote His Way to Freedom
“According to U.S. Treasury regulations, Cubans living in Cuba couldn’t have bank accounts in the States. So I flew from Washington to Toronto, and opened an account at the Royal Bank of Canada. And all my revenue from selling rights to my books, or whatever–they were sent to this account.” But he was scrupulous about paying Cuban tax on all his income: “I was very careful not to give them the opportunity to charge me with any sort of common crime.”
. . .
Back in Cuba, Mr. Latour was waiting out the first months of his Canadian emigration process (“I was fearing that I might be sent to jail, or something”) when an unexpected opportunity presented itself: A Spanish translation of “Outcast,” the book he’d written in English, was about to be printed in Spain; its publisher asked Mr. Latour to come to that country for a promotional tour.
“I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it–if you also invite my wife, my son and my daughter.’ Let me explain. . . . Cubans living in Cuba need written invitations to file an application with the immigration authorities. I said, ‘I will cover the expenses of my family; you will cover my out-of-pocket expenses.’ . . . And they said, ‘OK, perfect, no problem.’ They figured [it] out.”
The Spanish publisher got the Cubans to grant permission for the family’s trip. At the airport, on Aug. 5, 2002, Mr. Latour produced a Royal Bank of Canada credit card. “That was it: around $3,000. That’s how I paid for the plane tickets. So I didn’t violate any laws.”
All the Latours took out of Cuba were the clothes they wore.
At least he and his family were able to leave.
Like Val says, the barges run in only one direction.
The Ladies in White, the wives and mothers of imprisioned dissidents, are not allowed to leave Cuba to receive the 2005 Sakharov prize for freedom of thought that the EU awarded them earlier this year. Instead they get to stay in Cuba where they are constantly harrassed. Mary Anastasia O’Grady has more on them.