Hundreds of Cubans apply for Spanish citizenship

December 27th, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Havana, Dec 27 (IANS) Hundreds of Cubans are applying for Spanish citizenship as part of Madrid’s new “law of grandchildren”, which comes into force next week, EFE reported Saturday.The new law makes provision for grandchildren of Spaniards born in Spain or exiled during the regime of Spanish dictator late General Franco.

According to estimates of the Spanish consulate in Havana, in the two or three years that the law will be in force, some 100,000 Cubans a year could obtain Spanish nationality.

Spain’s Law of Historical Memory opens the possibility for grandchildren of Spaniards to acquire Spanish citizenship either by showing that a grandparent was a Spaniard born in Spain, or by being the grandchild of someone exiled from the Iberian nation after Gen. Franco’s victory in the 1936-1939 civil war.

“We have to be ready for anything. That’s what you have to do to win at anything,” Francisco, a 48-year-old Havana resident, told EFE.

Francisco wants to become Spanish thanks to the right given him by being the grandson of a Spaniard and with the idea of seeking his fortune in Spain, where he has Cuban friends.

For Teresa, the 56-year old granddaughter of natives of Spain’s Basque region, the Spanish passport will enable her to travel to the United States because “you don’t need a visa.”

Others, like William, 38, do not make secret their opinion that Spanish citizenship for them is the chance to leave Cuba and find a better life, because in Spain “you can work, make money and live comfortably”.

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