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Spain's “Law of Grandchildren” spurs long queues in Cuba

Sunday, December 28th 2008 - 20:00 UTC
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Starting Monday, hundreds of thousands of descendants of Spaniards who went into political exile around the world during the years of Francisco Franco's dictatorship will be able to petition for Spanish citizenship under the provisions of a law intended as reparation for past injustices.The period of time established in the bill extends from July 18, 1936 to December 31, 1955.

In Havana, hundreds of people have been standing in line since Thursday outside the Spanish Embassy to obtain the necessary application forms. Estimates indicate that some 200,000 Cubans on the island could be eligible for Spanish citizenship. In South Florida, where about 1.3 million naturalized US citizens of Hispanic origin reside, Santiago Cabañas, Spanish Consul General in Miami, said he believes that thousands may petition for citizenship, especially among the Cuban and Venezuelan communities. It is estimated that 500,000 to one million people around the world could benefit from the so-called ''Law of Grandchildren,'' approved in December of 2007 to grant the rights of citizenship to the descendants of Spaniards who were exiled for political reasons. Spain's civil war in the 1930s and the ensuing Franco dictatorship sent tens of thousands of Spaniards into exile, especially to Latin American countries such as Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil. The Spanish consulate in Miami, charged with processing petitions from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, warned potential applicants not to try visiting the consulate first because the initial step of the process is to request an interview through its website, ''It is important that the petitioners know that the first step is to request an appointment online,'' Cabañas said. ''If you don't have an appointment, going to the consulate is a waste of time.''

Categories: Politics, Mercosur.

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