It's been 50 years since the Cuban missile crisis and the communist regime remains in complete control.
In 1961, the government made it almost impossible for Cubans to leave their country, but starting in January, most Cubans will be able to travel abroad and return to the island freely.
The government announced this morning that it was lifting all exit requirements, the biggest change in Cuba's immigration policies since Fidel Castro came to power.
Cubans will not need an exit visa or a permission to travel letter, but they'll still need a travel visa for most countries.
This new policy will likely not apply to doctors, and some analysts fear they will extend it to other professionals whom the government does not want to leave. Cubans can be out of the country for 24 months, instead of the current 11 months, without losing rights and property, they can also seek an extension.
Jorge Duany is director of the Cuban Research Institute and teaches anthropology at Florida International University.