By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This week Cuba announced its citizens no longer need an exit visa to leave the country, giving them the freedom to leave without government permission. The policy change is being met with cheers and skepticism on our shores.

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“I think I’m totaling up to 60 cousins between all my aunts and uncles. There’s a lot of family in Cuba,” says Douglas Rodriguez, chef and co-owner at Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia.

His first visit to his parents’ birthplace came only this past spring; many of his relatives there have never been out of the country.

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“They would have to get a letter of invitation, then they would have to get a visa, and then they would have to pay $150, and then they would have to wait to get permission be able to travel and then purchase an airline ticket. So it could take anywhere from 6-8 weeks,” Rodriguez says.

Come January, it’ll be much easier for Cubans to go abroad — in theory.

There are fears that the government will still be able to control who leaves under the guise of “national security.” And the US, among other countries, still requires Cubans to have an entry visa to legally visit or immigrate.

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