State Bureaucracy: Via Matrimonial Ordeal / Miguel Iturría Savón
Miguel Iturria Savón, Translator: Unstated
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
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
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