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Cubans may no longer be stuck on Caribbean isle

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The right of Cubans to buy a plane ticket, book a trip, and leave – a given for most of the world – has been restricted since the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. A cold-war relic designed to prevent "brain drain," the exit visa is one of the most criticized prohibitions in place on the island nation.

While travel is not forbidden, obtaining an exit visa is a prohibitively expensive bureaucratic hassle altogether out of reach for the loudest government critics. Cubans must ask for written permission, or the "white card," which costs the equivalent of $150.

Symbolic gesture

As a practical matter, it may mean little to the majority of Cubans, who cannot afford to travel. The average salary is $20 a month – that's also what Perez earns – and many Cubans worry more about stretching food rations through the month.

But it is a huge symbolic gesture. Of the 313 reforms, that bullet has garnered the most public discussion. There is even a Facebook page with more than 1,000 followers called "No More White Card or Permission to Leave."

"The right to travel freely, to be able to leave one's own country without asking permission, is among the top five rights that Cubans want," says Ted Henken, a professor at Baruch College at The City University of New York who visited Cuba in April to gauge public opinion to the proposals.

Cubans doubt government

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