HAVANA – It is not a secret that Cuban entrepreneurs travel to Panama to buy consumer goods that they later sell in the black market. The Panamanian government is making it easier for them to continue their business.
The Panamanian embassy in Havana was busy on Tuesday. Cubans will now be able to travel to the Central American country to stay for 30 days with a new tourist card, and they will be issuing 5-year visas. Panamanian officials vowed to issue a thousand visas a month.
Processing the tourist card will cost $20 and Cubans will have to show they are private sector workers, accredited artisans, or that they have traveled to another country before. Aylen Serrano was at the embassy to get information and learned she will have to come back in 10 to 15 days.
"If I have the money to travel and I am interested in traveling, I imagine that this should be granted to me," Serrano said in Spanish.
Serrano said she is a dress maker, so it makes sense to travel to Panama to buy cheaper products to help lower her costs. To circumvent the government's limitations, Cuban entrepreneurs like Serrano also travel to countries like Mexico, Guayana and Russia.