Sensible question - why can a state refuse exit to a citizen of another state? Why (with the exception of spying) would they even want to? Admittedly, they might want to refuse you re-entry if you avoid the bureaucracy - but it seems a bit of an odd thing, really. --Vitenka
If they've committed a crime against you might want to prosecute them before they leave. The first good reason that comes to mind.--King DJ
Or you might have a current investigation against them that you didn't want to tip them off to, but you don't want them changing country until the investigation is completed in case it implicates them --NeilRoques
Despotic rulers have to do something to keep the country from running out from under them. Think North Korea and Cuba. --hart
(PeterTaylor) Exit visas for your citizens and exit visas for foreigners are quite distinct. In the case of Cuba the requirement for citizens is probably largely a PR thing - Mariel wasn't good PR - although with current US policy they don't really need an exit visa. (As a side not, it's interesting to note the González case, which shows that some ordinary citizens won't take the chance to leave for good when it's offered on a plate). However, many (all?) of the more representocratic LatinAmerica?n countries also require exit visas for their own citizens. This seems to be a combination of wanting to keep their census data up-to-date and wanting to make sure people don't skip MilitaryService?.
(hart) Requiring people to enlist in the military simply because they were born in the wrong place doesn't qualify as despotic?
(NeilRoques) No, no it doesn't. For example Britain in WWII had a democratically elected government who voted to introduce conscription. The country did not thereby fall under a despot until they were all stood down. Of course they were actually being asked to, in many cases, die for their country. MilitaryService? is not, by and large, in theatres so dangerous that a greater than 50% causualty rate is expected. I think your hyphenated section should be footnoted as 'read as propoganda' in any case. In fact your whole statement is just loosely connected bad rhetoric. Britain in the 50's wasn't 'the wrong place to be born', at least not for everyone. There was military service but some people have unaccountably led lives wherein they were pleased to be British despite living through such an apparently unbearable regime. Some of them even think it would be a good idea to reintroduce. Now I'm not leaping to agree with them, but they don't all seem to have found it quite as traumatic as you're assuming.
(PeterTaylor) If you're born in the U.S. you can end up paying it taxes for the rest of your life, even if you're living, working, and paying taxes in another country. And some (all?) states require young men to register in case they want to draft them. Is the U.S. despotic? I don't think it's quite that bad.