Scholastic News Online

Scholastic News Online is a free resource with breaking news and highlights from the print magazine.

Available for grades 1-6, Scholastic News magazine brings high-interest current events and nonfiction to millions of classrooms each week.

Additionally, our subscribers have FREE access to Scholastic News Interactive, an exclusive online learning tool featuring digital editions, videos, interactive features, differentiated articles, and much more.

After decades of tough traveling restrictions, Cubans now need only a passport to visit other countries. (Stefan Ernst / Getty Images)

Cubans Take Flight

People who live in Cuba gain more freedom to travel abroad under new government rules

By Tyrus Cukavac | null null , null
<p>PHOTO: For the first time in years, many Cubans will have the chance to see family members living abroad. (Ramon Espinosa / AP Images)</p><p> MAP: Cuba lies roughly 100 miles from the southern coast of Florida. (Jim McMahon)</p>

PHOTO: For the first time in years, many Cubans will have the chance to see family members living abroad. (Ramon Espinosa / AP Images)

MAP: Cuba lies roughly 100 miles from the southern coast of Florida. (Jim McMahon)

Citizens of the tiny island nation of Cuba are packing their bags and preparing to see the world. After years of heavy travel restrictions, the Cuban government has revised, or changed, its rules for international travel.

In the past, if they wanted to leave Cuba, citizens had to have both an exit permit and a letter of invitation from a person in another country. Now would-be travelers need only a passport to travel. They are also allowed to be away from Cuba for up to two years.

Many Cubans have family members who live abroad in South America or the United States. Some have not seen relatives living outside Cuba for many years.

“I haven’t seen my father since 1994,” Mileidy Ramayo, a Cuban woman, told CNN. Her father left the island on a raft. “It would change my life to be able to see him and give him a hug.”


Cuba lies roughly 100 miles off the southern coast of Florida. Although Cuba is a close neighbor to the United States, it has been almost impossible for citizens of the two nations to travel legally between the countries.

Since 1959, the island nation has been under the control of the dictator Fidel Castro and his Communist followers. A dictator is a leader who rules with absolute authority. Castro and his supporters toppled the previous government in a violent revolution.

Living conditions in Cuba can be harsh. Widespread poverty and limited political freedoms caused many people to try to leave. So the government passed strict travel laws that made it difficult for Cubans to visit other countries.

Some people (like Ramayo’s father) attempted to reach the United States aboard dangerous rafts rather than attempt to leave the country legally.


The new policy may help to end Cuba’s isolation from the rest of the world. The old policy and a bad relationship with the United States have made it difficult for Cuba to build strong connections with other nations.

The United States is also taking baby steps to heal its relations with Cuba. In the past, Americans were not allowed to travel to Cuba. Additionally, it is illegal for American companies to do business with the country. However, President Barack Obama helped pass legislation that allows U.S. citizens to visit family members in Cuba, as well as to send them money.

Many Cubans are hopeful their government’s new policy will open the door to more freedom. Marta Rodríguez, a Cuban citizen, tells The New York Times, “We have lived for decades in captivity. It’s a positive move—one [Cuba] should have taken 50 years ago.”

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Fidel Castro

    Fidel Castro

    by Brendan January


    • Source notes describe the author's research materials and processes
    •     100+ page biographies
    •     Information about the history of the times in which each subject lived is included
    •     Sidebars, a comparative timeline, and a "To Find Out More" section are included


      2/1/04 The Midwest Book Review
      It has always fascinated me to hear about the lives of people who made great contributions to the world. Great Life Stories, takes its readers on a journey in which they can meet many people in various fields and learn of not only what they accomplished, but how they lived, their joys and their hardships along the way. Thus far the series contains ten books: four chronicling inventers and three each chronicling authors and political figures. Each book is written in a smooth narrative style that makes it an engaging read for children and adults alike.

      In each of these books the reader will be shown a unique glimpse of some of histories and current days most fascinating people, covering personal as well as career oriented information. There is also information regarding the time and area in which the person lived, helping to paint an even more complete picture, with simple to follow timelines in the back of each book. The reader will also find information on books and websites where they can further their study. The plethora of information makes these books great for middle school assignments, suck as book reports and comprehension tasks. The narrative style is such that they are engaging to both children and adults alike. Thought the books are designed for and excellent for 6 through 8 graders, they are perfect for readers of all ages, at home or in the classroom.


      $21.35 You save: 30%
      Library Binding | Grades 6-8
      Add To Cart
      Educators Only
    Fidel Castro
    Grades 6-8 $21.35
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  


    by Deborah Kent

    Despite its relatively small size, the island nation of Cuba has often played a major role in global politics. Readers will explore the country’s fascinating and sometimes tumultuous history as they tour its beautiful beaches, rugged mountains, and bustling cities. They will also be immersed in Cuba’s rich culture, from its delicious cuisine to its many contributions to the arts.

    $30.00 You save: 25%
    Library Binding | Grades 5-9
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Grades 5-9 $30.00
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy




Here's something interesting from