US to Cuba Travel
It’s your Cuba policy, Miami Republicans. You can’t blame Obama now. 11/10/2017 Miami
Herald: "They must be applauding from Havana because the policy aimed to
hurt the government ensures quite a workload for them instead of the
fledgling entrepreneurial class, thanks to Trump and the Cuban Americans in
Congress who had a hand in pressuring Trump to abandon engagement. Miami’s
Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart even used their votes on
healthcare to negotiate with Trump on Cuba. “Taking away people-to-people
puts the trips back in the hands of babysitters,” says Maria de los Angeles
Torres, a Chicago-based Cuban-American professor who has traveled to Cuba
for research and family visits for decades."
Uncle Sam blacklists Cuban hotels, businesses, agencies 11/8/2017 Along
the Maleco: "Below is the U.S. Department of State’s list of entities and
subentities under the control of, or acting for or on behalf of, the Cuban
military, intelligence, or security services or personnel with which direct
financial transactions would disproportionately benefit such services or
personnel at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba."
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS RELATED TO CUBA 11/8/2017 OFAC
Using Fear to Strike at Cuban Tourism 11/6/2017 Counterpunch: "Everything
indicates that, now, the tactic chosen by the right, at the service of
imperialism, is to generate fear more than to legislate against Cuba. This
is because, since for the former they have the concurrence –conscious or
unconscious– of powerful international agencies and media, so much so that,
for the second, they run the risk of increasing the division in the
Republican ranks in Congress."
US tourists back from Cuba claim symptoms similar to mysterious attacks 10/6/2017 Fox
News: [More false flags?] - ""Since we issued the September 29 Travel
Warning, we have received a handful of reports from U.S. citizens who report
they experienced similar symptoms following stays in Cuba," a State
Department official told CBS News. "We have no way of verifying whether they
were harmed by the same attacks targeting official U.S. employees."
Cuba Alert Opposed by US Travel Association 9/30/2017 Progreso
Weekly: "Meeting in Cuba, RESPECT*, the largest association of U.S.
organizers of travel to Cuba, unanimously rejected the Trump
administration’s Cuba travel warning and its decision to withdraw diplomatic
staff from its Havana embassy."
What the State Department Warning on Cuba Means for Travelers 9/29/2017 NYT: "Over
the past two years, nobody seems to have been keeping tabs on which
Americans go to Cuba or what they do there, even though senior officials at
the Treasury and Commerce Departments said they took travel restrictions
seriously. Now, the Trump administration is directing the Treasury
Department to strictly enforce the law regarding travel to Cuba, including
Can You Still Travel to Cuba? Everything to Know About Trump's New Travel
Warning 9/29/2017 Newsweek: "Visitors now need to meet the criteria for
one of 12 types of legal travel to the island. But even with the new travel
warning, there is no suggestion that airlines will not continue to operate
flights to Cuba. Contacted for comment Friday, JetBlue, which began offering
flights to Cuba in August 2016, said it was unaware of the State
Cuba Was Travel Warning, Not Restriction; Cruise Operators Not Changing
Plans - Nomura/Instinet (CCL) (RCL) (NCLH) 9/29/2017 Street
Insider: "He said industry discussions, it has not introduced additional
travel restrictions. They have spoken to several operators, which have no
plans to change itineraries calling on Cuba. While the U.S. is likely to
issue a warning cautioning U.S. citizens not to visit the island, they have
no indication that a travel ban will be put in place."
Trump’s effort to roll back ‘misguided’ Cuba policy stalls 9/27/2017 Fox: "However,
the revisions to the Obama-era Cuba policy that Mr. Trump unveiled in June
were nowhere near as sweeping as he suggested; the two embassies were
permitted to remain open, for example, and the most significant change to
the fine print amounted to the rescission of one of 12 categories of
permissible American travel to Cuba (the kind called “person to person”).
Nor was OFAC’s ingenuity taxed especially hard by a policy shift that asked
the office to restore a category of travel to the status quo that OFAC had
been policing for decades prior to 2015."
Is Cuba Safe 9/26/2017 Startup Cuba: "Violent crimes on tourists?
Basically unheard of."
Cuba expert reports Havana and most tourism sites are back after Irma 9/25/2017 Seatrade
Cruise News: "By now, however, most areas of the capital and other key
cities that are frequented by foreign travelers are ready to receive
visitors, according to a US-based Cuba expert who just returned from a
three-day inspection tour with his team on the island. Places open for
business include Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Viñales and
the cities of Camagüey and Holguín, said Collin Laverty, an expert on Cuba
and US-Cuba relations and the founder and president of Cuba Educational
Turista estadounidense casi va a la cárcel por intentar salir de Cuba con
CUC 8/28/2017 Cibercuba: "La bloguera estadounidense Jaime Morrison,
corresponsal de viajes para el portal digital de Bravo Tv, fue detenida por
las autoridades aduaneras cubanas durante su primer viaje a la isla por
intentar abandonar el país con pesos convertibles (CUC)."
I’m an Expert Traveler, But I Accidentally Broke This One Rule — And Almost
Went to Jail (Don’t Let It Happen to You) 8/11/2017 Bravo TV: "After
more confusion, officers coming in and out conversing in Spanish in hushed,
serious tones, and glaring at me, my crime was revealed to me: I had
attempted to leave the country with Cuban Convertible Pesos. This is illegal
in Cuba, and despite all of my pre-trip research... I'd had no idea. There
is also a change office right there in the terminal, after the security
screening area, so why wasn’t I allowed to change it there? Other travelers
were doing so."
IU students learn dance, culture in Cuba 8/3/2017 Indiannapolis
Recorder: "More than 2,000 creatives — from artists and musicians to actors
and magicians — take over the streets of Cuba each year during a colorful
celebration known as the Festival del Caribe. Last month, a group of 11
Indiana University students, along with faculty members and alumni, traveled
over a thousand miles to be among the crowd. These scholars didn’t come as
spectators or tourists; they came with the goal of learning new moves and
showcasing their skills on a global stage."
Trinidad is Cuba’s small wonder, but beware new restrictions 7/30/2017 Repeating
Islands: "When the policy announced by President Donald Trump in June goes
into effect in several months, U.S. residents will be restricted from
personal travel and from supporting Cuban military ventures. In Cuba, that
means government-owned businesses, including many hotels and restaurants. In
order to stay within the guidelines, traveling with a tour operator is your
How New US
Regs on Cuba May Affect Your Travel and Business Plans 7/26/2017 Havana
Times: "Basically, the questionnaire is a compendium of measures that will
be implemented in the coming months under the strategy of restricting
certain individual trips of people-to-people contact, and prohibiting the
relations of US business people and companies with Cuban entities linked to
the Armed Forces, Intelligence Services and State Security."
Africana Institute Trip to Cuba August 3 7/26/2017 Essex Community
College: "A contingent from Essex County College, through a trip sponsored
by the College’s Africana Institute, is heading to Cuba for a week-long
educational experience. Led by Africana Institute Director Dr. Akil Khalfani
and Professor Ladylease White, a total of 15 travelers will embark to Cuba
on August 3."
What Will New Cuba Travel Regulations Mean For The Music Industry? 6/23/2017 Vibe: "“It
will be a little tougher to organize an event,” predicts attorney Pedro
Freyre, head of international practice at the Akerman law firm in Miami and
an expert on U.S.-Cuba business relations. “You will have to navigate a
minefield of who you can deal with: Can I sit at the table with this entity
or not? Can I pay this entity or not? It’s a chilling effect when Uncle Sam
is looking over your shoulder."
OFAC: Lo anunciado no surte efecto aún 6/20/2017 On Cuba: "Los cambios
anunciados por el presidente Donald Trump en su política hacia Cuba no
entrarán en vigor hasta que los Departamentos del Tesoro y del Comercio de
los Estados Unidos ajusten sus regulaciones al respecto. Este proceso debe
iniciar en menos de 30 días, pero podría durar “varios meses”, según la Casa
Marazul: President Trump’s June 16 speech and its effects on ‘individual’
travel to Cuba 6/19/2017 Progresso Weekly: "If someone has already made
their request for INDIVIDUAL people to people educational travel PRIOR TO
JUNE 16, their travel is still OK under this subcategory – NO MATTER when it
is to take place and no matter if it has been confirmed yet. No new
reservations can be requested in this category as of June 16."
the New US Policy on Cuba 6/18/2017 Havana Times: "Policy changes will
not take effect until the Treasury and Commerce departments have completed a
complete review of the new policy in a process that may take up to 90 days."
Engage Cuba: 'Revertir el deshielo costaría 6.600 millones de dólares a
EEUU' 6/2/2017 Diario de Cuba: "El sector más afectado sería el de los
viajes: modificar la reciente expansión de las categorías legales para que
los estadounidenses visiten Cuba podría costarle 3.500 millones de dólares a
las aerolíneas y cruceros y afectar a 10.154 empleos en esas compañías,
indica el estudio."
Travel Diary: Karen Mitchell Explores Havana With Cuban Friends 6/2/2017 OK
Africa: "Our second diary entry—see the first here— is from the hair care
expert Karen Mitchell, owner of the True Indian hair franchise. The Jamaican
born entrepreneur has spent over a decade in the haircare industry.
Beginning as a licensed cosmetologist, license honed her skills in salons
from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Her experience as a stylist introduced her to
her true passion: connecting image-conscious career women with easy-to-care
for luxury extensions."
Trump anunciaría cambios en política hacia Cuba en junio: ¿cuáles van a ser
las medidas? 5/30/2017 Café Fuerte: "Si en definitiva hay un anuncio en
junio, numerosos analistas y figuras del ruedo político en Washington
consideran que serán medidas moderadas para crear una barrera de control que
no tendrá efectos significativos sobre los viajes y las operaciones
comerciales en marcha."
Destination: Cuba — An Insider’s Guide to Havana & Beyond 4/8/2017 Style
& Blueprint: "Credit cards are still not generally accepted, so it is
necessary to bring enough cash for any non-prepaid expenses and tips.
Additionally, the U.S. dollar cannot be used in Cuba. There is a 10%
surcharge, in addition to the normal change fee, when exchanging the dollar
for CUCs (the Cuban tourist currency) in Cuba. The airport and hotels are
the best locations to exchange money. Taking advantage of the dollar-euro
exchange rate, we brought euros from the United States and saved the 10%
How to save money on your trip to Cuba 3/27/2017 LA Times
African Roots of Cuban Culture 2/17/2017 Center for Cuban
Studies: "This exciting trip takes you across country where you’ll see much
of the lovely island. Starting in the northeast, then traveling south and
west across the country to explore how African customs, religion and people
have contributed to la cubanía. You’ll meet artists, dancers, musicians, as
well as learn about Santería and other religious practices. You’ll learn
about the influence of religious iconography, and the significance it plays
in the country and how these elements have survived throughout the years.
You’ll meet and interact with scholars, artists, researchers, and writers
who have dedicated their work to researching Cuba’s African roots and visit
landmarks in Afro-Cuban history."
Carnival Corporation expandirá viajes de cruceros hacia Cuba 2/16/2017 Cubadebate: "La
compañía norteamericana, Carnival Corporation, ha obtenido la aprobación
para expandir los viajes de cruceros hacia Cuba y, con ello, Carnival
Paradise podría convertirse en el navío de mayor capacidad en la historia
que navegue de EEUU a La Habana. Las salidas desde el puerto de Tampa Bay a
Cuba comenzarían en junio de 2017."
My Seven Day Itinerary for Cuba 1/28/2017 AfroBuenaventura: "I don't
usually plan an entire itinerary for trips. But I did for this trip to Cuba,
because frankly, I was afraid of things going wrong."
To Get to
Know Cuba Don’t Stay in a Hotel 1/25/2017 Havana Times: "Maylena
Chaviano Cubillet, a 30-year-old Cuban woman, has lived in the United States
for 10 years and in June 2016, she started up a small business: organizing
trips to bring US citizens who were interested in getting to know Cuba.
These aren’t your typical holidays of sun, beach and mojitos, but are about
learning to dance Cuban rhythms, going beyond the basic “one, two, three”
which tourists normally learn, and going further than casino or salsa dance
forms. It’s especially about getting to know Cuba, our people and culture,
Cuba Failed Me in 5 Ways 1/25/2017 AfroBuenaventura: Fail 4:
Afro-Cubans Were Not Hard to Find
Is the U.S. Opening to Cuba Dead in the Water? 1/13/2017 Foreign
Policy: "But given the members of the transition team, it seems likely that
it will be rolled back as far as possible, even at the risk to U.S.
security. How far, though, remains unclear."
Here's How to Plan a Trip to Cuba 1/9/2017 Cuba Journal
Access to Telecommunications in Cuba: An Interview with The Mindful Techie 1/4/2017 AfroBuenaventura: "I
rarely used my phone during the trip given the cost of international cell
and data coverage through my provider ($2.99/min for calls and $2.99/1MB for
data). Text messaging was significantly cheaper at $.05 message. Some
places, such as some of the major hotels offered paid access to internet."
Travelers — and Travel Companies — Push for Trips to Cuba in Case Trump
Dumps Deal 12/19/2016 NBC: "This and other Trump statements lead travel
guru Arthur Frommer to believe Trump will quash the Cuba deal, "unless a
number of major industries — cruise lines, airlines, hotel chains, and other
travel entities — succeed in persuading him that they have invested heavy
sums in the preparation for widespread American tourism to Cuba," Frommer
wrote in a recent blog post."
The streets and scenes of Misty Copeland’s trip to Havana 12/16/2016 The
Undefeated: "I didn’t know what to expect when I stepped on that plane in
Miami and walked off when it landed in Cuba, but I do know that it was a lot
more than rum and cigars. It was the understanding that sometimes you just
have to slow down and cherish the moments. I hope you begin to do just that
with these behind-the-scenes images of Misty Copeland’s trip to Cuba."
Guavas, plantains, rum 12/16/2016 The Undefeated: "In truth, we’ve
romanticized — and Americanized — what Cuban food is and what it ought to
be. If your expectation is to come here and eat roast pork, ham, and
cheese-filled sandwiches daily, you’re doing Cuba all wrong. Because in
Havana, Cuba’s capital city, there’s amazing ice cream, private home
restaurants—aka paladares—with salad bars and robust charcuterie, and
there’s great stuff to munch on in Barrio Chino de la Habana."
Africa in the Americas: Tour Group Explores Cuba’s African Roots 12/4/2016 NBC: "When
the United States and Cuba first announced plans to restore diplomatic
relations two years ago, Kasara E. Davidson says she and her business
partner "hit the ground running" and used their combined 20 years of
experience with the island to start Diaspora Enterprise Solutions
Cuba Wanderlust Dims as American Cuts Flights, Trump Looms 11/30/2016 Bloomberg: "Citing
weak demand, American Airlines Group Inc. trimmed plans for almost a quarter
of its trips to Cuba early next year. And in a potentially crippling blow,
President-elect Donald Trump is threatening to rescind the relaxation of
ties with the communist government, leaving future operations in limbo.
Already, Trump’s comments have prompted some tourists to accelerate plans to
visit Cuba before his inauguration or to delay them until he makes his
Donald Trump Could Reverse Obama's Cuba Policy 'Fairly Quickly' 11/26/2016 ABC: "People
who are really pushing Cuban policy the most is the American farmer,
agriculture,” Williams said. “The heart of Trump's support came from the
agriculture community and they continue to be lock-step behind this."
AT&T Makes its Debut in Cuba with Roaming Wireless Service 10/26/2016 Nearshore
Americas: "US telecom giant AT&T has begun offering roaming wireless
services for its customers in Cuba after wrapping up an agreement for
network interconnection with the island’s state-run telecom firm ETECSA. The
carrier says its customers can now talk, text, and use data while visiting
the communist island. Some US papers have described the move as AT&T’s
second major step on its expansion in Latin America."
Trump’s Cuba policy could prove a setback for travel industry 10/16/2016 Travel
Weekly: "In stark contrast to Trump’s remarks, Obama said during his Havana
visit that relaxed travel restrictions were already helping the Cuban
people. “Since we’ve made it easier to travel to Cuba, a lot more Americans
are visiting the island, you may have noticed,” Obama said in Havana. “More
Americans coming to Cuba means more customers for your businesses. More
Americans using the dollar will mean that they will spend more, as well.
There will be more channels for you to import supplies and equipment. More
Americans will be able to buy your arts, crafts, food, Cuban-origin software
as well as, of course, Cuban rum and cigars.”"
American aims to be the biggest U.S. player in Cuba travel 9/6/2016 In
Cuba Today: "American aims to be the biggest U.S. player in Cuba travel. Not
only is it launching service to five Cuban cities in less than a week, but
the U.S. Department of Transportation has given its approval for four daily
flights to Havana from MIA and one daily flight from Charlotte. AA plans to
launch its Havana service before the end of the year. On Wednesday, two
American flights — one to Cienfuegos, the other to Holguín — will take off
from adjoining gates at MIA, but the Cienfuegos flight will go into the
history books as American’s first regularly scheduled flight to Cuba because
it will take off 15 minute before the flight to Holguín."
Air travel to Cuba divides Congress 9/3/2016 The Hill: "In the Senate,
appropriators have already approved an amendment that would lift the tourism
ban with Cuba, while similar legislation has garnered over 50 cosponsors.
But over in the House, advocates still face fierce opposition from the
majority on the Homeland Security Committee, which is pushing a bill that
would ground flights to Cuba until a thorough airport security review is
Travel to Cuba: What You Need to Know 9/2/2016 Travel and Leisure: 'The
Department of Treasury dropped the amended regulations on the lap of tour
operators and others with a stake in travel to Cuba yesterday morning. Just
how quickly these changes can and will be implemented remains foggy—as do
some of the particulars, which will likely be hashed out in the coming days
and weeks. So watch this space."
Traveling To Cuba: An Idea Whose Time Has Come 9/1/2016 AntiWar: "Yesterday
history was made, with the first commercial flight from the US to Cuba in
more than 50 years. Here is one real foreign policy achievement of President
Obama, but in fact you cannot oppose an idea whose time has come. In today’s
Ron Paul Liberty Report we take a look at the benefits and pitfalls of the
de facto normalization with Cuba."
Scheduled Flights to Cuba From U.S. Begin Again, Now With Jet Engines 8/31/2016 NYT: "Amid
live Cuban music, fresh guava pastries and a water cannon salute, the first
scheduled passenger jet service in history between Cuba and the United
States began on Wednesday with a 9:45 flight from here to Santa Clara, east
of Havana. The flight on JetBlue, the first regularly scheduled flight from
the United States to Cuba in more than 50 years, was another important step
toward normalized relations between two former Cold War foes, which promises
to sharply reduce airfares and ease travel between the nations."
JetBlue wants to be the Cubans’ favourite 8/31/2016 OnCuba: “JetBlue
wants to be Cuba’s preferred airline, with excellent service and high
quality and a fee of $99 one way with amenities including health insurance,”
she said. “Studies in the US have found that when JetBlue is introduced to
the market our competitors’ rates go down by an average of $32, which forces
them to provide lower prices and a better quality of service.” It is known
that American Airlines has launched a flight priced $74."
How to Go to Cuba Now 8/31/2016 NYT: "Once off-limits to most
Americans, Cuba became just another stop on JetBlue’s international network
on Wednesday, when the airline began operating the first direct commercial
service between the United States and the island since the early 1960s."
¿Qué opción escoger para viajar a Cuba a partir de agosto? 8/13/2016 Telemundo
51: "Los vuelos comerciales desde Estados Unidos a Cuba se espera comiencen
tan pronto como el 31 de agosto y las preguntas de los potenciales viajeros
coinciden en lo mismo: ¿Qué decisión tomar a partir de ahora? ¿Cuesta más
viajar por aerolíneas regulares o seguir con los vuelos charter?" [Mucho de
los charters no pueden volar desde 9/2016 porque los aviones tienen que ser
basado en los EE.UU.]
Here's How to Design a Tour of Cuba 6/13/2016 Cuba Journal
How to CUBA 5/25/2016 CurlyNikki: "I don't usually share how I put
these trips together because (1) there's no formula, and (2) I have a flare
for the dramatic. But as this epicness comes to a close, I thought I'd do
y'all a solid and provide you with a how-to manual of sorts."
The U.S. Approves First Direct Regular Flights to Cuba as of Autumn 5/14/2016 Cuba
Now: "American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, Silver
Airways, Southwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines are the first six
airlines that will regularly fly from the United States to Cuba starting
from this fall, as announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation."
Turismo en Cuba: Su racismo subyacente 4/28/2016 COHA: "La mayoría de
los jóvenes se ven frustrados ante la incapacidad estructural de encontrar
empleo en el turismo. Inexcusablemente, la admisión involucra la barrera del
racismo: la discriminación racial en el turismo pone a los cubanos que no
son blancos en condiciones inmensamente desfavorables, comparado a los que
sí lo son."
Cuba US People to People Partnership 4/10/2016 Cubapeopletopeople: "The
individual general license relies completely on the ingenuity, integrity and
judgment of the traveler as to what qualifies. Unless Marco Rubio or Ted
Cruz gains power, it is unlikely his or her conclusions will ever be
challenged. Even then it will be hard to dispute the legitimacy of anyone
who is not so irresponsible as to post on Facebook about a week on the
beach. As a key State Department official said at the New York Times Travel
Show in January 2015, the burden of proof of violations is on the Office of
Foreign Assets Control. OFAC is in no position to second guess the actions
of individual citizens."
Frequently Asked Questions About Business And Travel To Cuba 4/1/2016 Cuba
Journal: "Here are 87 questions and answers about Cuba travel and business
compiled as as of March 15, 2016."
OFAC Further Amends the Cuban Assets Control Regulations Regarding Travel
and Financial Transactions 3/28/2016 Lexology: "The Department of the
Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has amended the Cuban
Assets Control Regulations to further implement elements of the policy
announced by the President on December 17, 2014 to engage and empower the
Cuban people. These additional changes were published in the Federal
Register on March 16, 2016."
To Beat the Rush, Americans Rush to Cuba, Overloading Services 3/25/2016 NYT: "He
said hotels in smaller cities are full through next year, and others are
charging up to $375 a night. For the second week in May, a room at the
Habana Libre — a former Hilton so in need of repair that Mr. Sanchez refuses
to book his customers there — is $300 a night."
Obama’s Havana dining spot an elegant private restaurant 3/21/2016 Providence
Journal: "Owner-chef Carlos Cristóbal Márquez Valdés greeted us in the front
dining room, a two-level former living room in the mansion where books are
still on shelves, as are antiques. Old photos hang everywhere. The chef said
Cuba’s tourism department had sent him to cook in Mexico, which led him to
cook in Brazil, on the Riveria and in Naples, Italy, where he opened a Cuban
restaurant. After a stint as a private chef for a millionaire, he returned
home to open San Cristobal in 2010."
Piden autorización de vuelos regulares a Cuba en Tampa 3/10/2016 Cubadebate: "El
aeropuerto internacional de Tampa (TIA) y la Autoridad de Aviación del
condado de Hillsborough, en Florida, Estados Unidos, buscan apoyos para
conseguir autorización de vuelos a Cuba de las aerolíneas Jet Blue y
Southwest Airlines. Los ejecutivos de TIA y los funcionarios condales de
Hillsborough, localidad con más de un millón de habitantes cuya cabecera es
la ciudad de Tampa, pusieron en marcha una petición en línea para que los
viajeros firmen, instando al Departamento de Transporte de Estados Unidos a
aprobar la solicitud de permisos para realizar vuelos a Cuba."
Aduana cubana niega restricción de equipajes para viajeros desde EEUU 3/2/2016 CaféFuerte: "Por
regulaciones internacionales en función de la seguridad aérea no deben
trasladarse como equipaje acompañante, maletas u otros medios que no
pertenezcan a una persona que no viaja como pasajero en el vuelo específico,
pues esto genera un peligro a la seguridad aérea, y además, un desorden que
impide la mejor atención a los pasajeros que arriban al salón de cualquier
terminal aérea. Las líneas aéreas y charters, junto con las autoridades
aeronáuticas, deben velar por el cumplimiento de estas disposiciones."
US restores regular flights to Cuba 2/16/2016 AFP: "The United States
and Cuba signed an agreement Tuesday authorizing daily US commercial flights
to the communist-ruled island for the first time in more than 50 years. The
deal allows up to 110 daily flights to 10 destinations in Cuba, with about
20 of them to the capital Havana, where authorities have ordered renovations
to double the capacity of Jose Marti airport."
Surge of Americans tests limits of Cuba's tourism industry 1/26/2016 Reuters: "Cuba's
tourism industry is under unprecedented strain and struggling to meet demand
with record numbers of visitors arriving a year after detente with the
United States renewed interest in the Caribbean island."
Is Cuba ready for boom of American tourism? 1/15/2016 CBS: "A rising
class of Cuban business owners is banking on tourism growing. CBS News spoke
to one restaurant owner who said he serves 300 people every day -- 250 of
whom are Americans -- and is booked seven days a week, weeks in advance."
Best Day Travel Group llega a Cuba 11/16/2015 Cuba a Contraluz: "Best
Day Travel Group, la compañía turística más importante de México y una de
las líderes en América Latina, ha establecido un acuerdo con el Ministerio
de Turismo de Cuba (Mintur) y la agencia receptiva Viajes Cubanacán para
operar en la Isla."
A Glimpse At
Matanzas, Cuba 10/22/2015 Havana Times: "The private lodging sector has
grown more than any other in Cuba’s province of Matanzas. In 2014, it
expanded by more than 40 % and, this year, it has already grown more than 50
Black Travel to Cuba on the Rise 9/15/2015 Ebony: "There’s plenty of
investment opportunities, especially for African Americans, because they
would love to do business with us specifically,” says Jason Ridgel,
president of Jusco Medical. “They feel closer to us, that there’s actually
not a lot of difference [between us] at all.” In late May 2016, Up in the
Air Life has another sojourn to Cuba planned for travelers to delve into the
music, art, food, dance and cultural life of the island. Clearly now is the
time to see the isle in all its time-bubble splendor, before the
effects—positive and not-so-positive—of possible embargo lift take hold."
Compañías turísticas estadounidenses aceleran planes para Cuba 7/16/2015 Cubadebate: "Por
ejemplo, Travel Pulse informa: Apple Vacations Cuba Programs Go On Sale
(Comienza venta de programas de Apple Vacations) y otro apunta que la propia
compañía se propone ofertar “excursiones a Cuba más cortas y asequibles”
(Apple Vacations To Offer Shorter, More Affordable Cuba Tours). En la más
reciente de las notas de esta empresa se avisaba el pasado 9 de julio que
“las ventas comienzan ya” (Apple Vacations new Cuba vacation package product
goes on sale today, July 9, at 11 a.m. EST) Según el calificado periódico,
“viajar a Cuba ingresa en una nueva era con la entrada en el mercado cubano
de Apple Vacations, una de las mayores vendedoras de paquetes de viajes
masivos.” Cuba –añade- está más cerca, aunque no de inmediato, debido a que
“todavía no es legal para los norteamericanos ir a Cuba a tirarse en la
arena de una playa y hacer lo que quieran”."
Cuba is the second tourist destination in the Caribbean after DR 6/20/2015 Dominican
Today: "The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) said Cuba was the second
most relevant tourist destination in the start of 2015, behind the Dominican
Republic, Cuba's official newspaper Granma reported this week. According to
the report, the difference between Cuba and the Dominican Republic is
getting shorter, since the first registered 3.1 million visitors in 2014,
while the latter had a record 5.14 million."
Afirman que Cuba debe aumentar rápidamente su capacidad turística ante
próximo incremento de visitantes norteamericanos 6/4/2015 Radio
Habana: ""A Cuba se le presentan varios desafíos, tras el restablecimiento
de relaciones con Estados Unidos, el primero de ellos es que la capacidad
turística se incremente", expresó a Telesur el analista y politólogo cubano
Esteban Morales. En entrevista para telemisora, Morales explicó que el
acercamiento Cuba-EEUU, luego de 50 años de haber interrumpido sus nexos
diplomáticos, causó un desaceleramiento del sector turístico en la isla, por
lo que actualmente se hace imperioso reactivar la actividad, tomando en
cuenta las categorías migratorias a las que pueden optar ciudadanos
norteamericanos, lo que se traducirá en un repunte turístico."
Cuba’s 12 Most Absurd Prohibitions That Tourists May Never Notice 5/15/2015 Daily
For Travelers: List of Relaxed Travel Restrictions to Cuba 5/14/2015 Black
and Brown News: "The White House published the types of travel to Cuba under
newly relaxed restrictions:"
The Above-Board Way to Travel to Cuba 5/8/2015 WSJ: "Cuba is still
off-limits for American tourists, but many special-interest trips are OK
with Uncle Sam. Here’s one with a musical twist"
Questlove goes crate-digging in Cuba in new documentary 5/7/2015 LA
Times: "Consider his latest adventure: Earlier this year, the Roots' drummer
and hip-hop gadfly traveled to Havana for a documentary project. Cuba has
been off-limits to all but a few American travelers for generations, but
relaxed restrictions on a few categories of vistors (which includes artists
and journalists) meant that the percussionist could now see Cuba's vital
musical culture firsthand."
Cubanos exiliados quedarían desplazados por avalancha de turistas americanos 5/6/2015 CubaNet: "Millones
de turistas norteamericanos adinerados se aprestan a viajar a Cuba. ¿Ante la
falta de infraestructura, y el alza de precios que se avecina, podrán los
cubanos exiliados que regularmente visitan Cuba, en su mayoría recién
llegados al exilio y de bajos ingresos, competir con ellos por recursos
limitados y continuar viajando a la isla para ver a sus familiares?"
Cuba gears up for tourist influx as US relations improve 5/3/2015 BBC: "As
a Cuban-American who left the country as a child, Ms Crespo says people like
her are uniquely placed to take advantage of the expansion in Cuban tourism.
"My generation doesn't have the same anger [towards the Castro government]
as our parents did. I want to be able to help Cuba, to be part of the
Restrictions on Travel and Remittances 4/10/2015 Congressional Research
Opportunity Knocks at Cuba's Door 4/3/2015 #CubaNow: "Following last
month’s news that direct calls between the U.S. and Cuba would resume for
the first time in years, another entry into the Cuban marketplace stands to
boost Cuban entrepreneurs in a major way. Airbnb, a U.S.-based website that
allows people to rent their homes, announced this week that they would be
expanding into Cuba. As we write in today’s blog post, this move is bigger
than you might think: “One of the other more positive effects is the
increased demand this will create for expanding Internet service in Cuba.
While some might have initially scoffed at the idea of a streaming service
like Netflix expanding to the Island, services like these will better allow
Americans to engage with the Cuban people while building pressure for the
kinds of investments that will bring Cuba into the 21st century."
Cuba: Pink to Pink | Led by Alberto Jones - October 10, 2015 - October 17,
2015 3/22/2015 Holbrook Travel: "Advances in knowledge have increased
the number of cancer survivors, many of whom need our moral, psychological,
and material support to improve their quality of life. Our group will be
visiting healthcare facilities and meeting with survivors in Havana,
Cienfuegos, and Trinidad, which will give us an opportunity to learn how the
Cuban healthcare system works and is able to serve its people with limited
resources. We can bond, share experiences and mitigate the suffering."
The Americans Are Coming! 3/21/2015 OnCuba: "Cuba faces the imminent
challenge of increased tourism from the United States, one of its closest
and most profitable markets. It is estimated the inflow of US tourists that
are to visit Cuba in the coming years could double the total number of
tourists currently traveling to the island. These are demanding people who
must be handled with “silk gloves”, if the country wishes to see them
return. Failing this, this market will have been ruined in a few years and
the country will lose a historic opportunity to make a leap forward in the
Americans Can Go to Cuba 3/4/2015 CounterPunch: "On a recent CODEPINK
trip to Cuba with a 150-person delegation, we found the island crawling with
Americans taking advantage of the relaxation of US travel restrictions and
the historic thawing of US-Cuban relations."
US Lawmakers proposed a Freedom to travel to Cuba Act 1/31/2015 OnCuba: "Eight
Democratic and Republican senators introduced this week to Congress a bill
to lift the restrictions imposed in a 2000 and 1996 on travel to Cuba by US
citizens and residents, as reported by AFP. The project, known as the Law of
Freedom to travel to Cuba, would alleviate the effects of the US blockade
against Cuba from 1962 to also allow banking transactions related to these
An Incomplete Reform of Travel 1/19/2015 Havana Note: "Instead, by the
time the regulations came from OFAC on January 15th, the bold promise had
shrunk to a general license only for the organizations that send travelers
-- not for the travelers themselves."
Travel to Cuba E ases, but Airlines Will Miss Initial Rush 1/16/2015 NYT: "But
before airlines can schedule direct flights to Havana and other airports,
the two countries must still negotiate a new air service agreement. Until
that happens, travelers will have to rely on charter flights booked through
specialized travel agencies, and that is not expected to change for the next
12 to 18 months, according to travel experts and industry officials. The
timeline could be further complicated by opposition in Congress as well as
the presidential election next year, which could delay matters in
9 Key Questions about New Cuba Regulations What Do They Mean for Trade,
Travel, Americans, and Cubans? 1/15/2015 WOLA
The culture, the history, the hospitality: Remembering 2000 trip to Cuba 1/8/2015 Daytona
Times: by Alberto Jones - "“I felt love,” said Robert A. Brooks, chairman of
Black Studies at the African American Cultural Society. “The people were
nice, generous, and giving – and had a real concern for others.” What
amounted to a Brooklyn-Queens block party took a stance in miles of
agricultural plains with goats along the countryside of thatched-roofed
houses and quaint horse-drawn buggies."
to Cuba? 12/28/2014 Progreso Weekly: "Forget about rum and cigars. The
art and music is what makes Cuba such a fascinating place, she says. “I
think a lot of the mystique and excitement of going there is the art and
music,” she says. “When you hear the music, your foot starts to tap.”
There’s no one type of Cuban music. The music and instruments are influenced
by Cuba’s African and European traditions. Walk into a bar or club and you
may hear salsa, merengue, rumba, jazz, or any other number of genres."
Big changes coming to Cuba tourism with us opening 12/27/2014 Progreso
Weekly: "The new Treasury Department rules have not yet been released, but a
White House statement suggests that educational travel to Cuba will now be
covered by a “general license,” which means tour operators – and perhaps
individuals, depending on how the regulations are written – will be able to
head to Cuba and simply give the U.S. government their word that they’re not
engaging in ordinary tourism."
Where to go in 2015 12/27/2014 Boston Globe: "At the moment, no one is
sure how or when the current travel restrictions to Cuba will change, which
require that visitors (without family ties to Cuba) travel for professional,
religious, or educational purposes. Major tour operators, such as Grand
Circle, Globus, Tauck, and Abercrombie and Kent, offer highly-structured
people-to-people tours, under special licenses."
Americans are eager to visit Cuba, but changes to U.S. rules may come slowly 12/27/2014 WaPo
How travel to Cuba might change 12/24/2014 Boston Globe: "What is the
hotel room/accommodation situation in Cuba now? “There is a lot, but at the
high end, there are only a couple of good properties,” Diaz said. “People
don’t go to Cuba for the luxury — they go for the music, culture, and arts
scene.” But if Cuba opens up to US tourists and their penchant for luxury
accommodations, “you’re going to see American hoteliers doing their best to
find potential properties in Cuba,” Loucks said."
A la espera de otra invasión gringa 12/22/2014 Progreso Semanal: "La
ciudad capital, más otros sitios dispersos por la geografía insular en la
que algunos cubanos rentan sus viviendas a extranjeros, se encuentran todos
desde ya en sus máximas capacidades de alojamiento. Hoy mismo hay muy pocas
posibilidades para esos visitantes que, como electrones libres, buscan un
techo criollo y no el de una instalación turística donde pasar Navidades y
Año Nuevo con un agradable clima y un entorno social como para recordar."
Cuban Tourism in the Age of Détente 12/20/2014 New Yorker: "Under the
new rules, people will still have to travel for one of twelve pre-approved
purposes, but these, including educational trips, will all be covered by
general licenses. It’s unclear exactly what this will mean for
travellers—the Obama Administration has said that it will be weeks before
the details become available—but Popper and others expect that, at the very
least, it will open up travel to Cuba to more Americans."
Advice over Plans to Visit Cuba for the First Time 12/20/2014 Radio
Havana: "Words of advice for our listeners who may be planning a trip to
Cuba for the first time. The high seasons for Cuba tourism are from
mid-November to mid-March and in July and August. Prices for hotels,
flights, and other expenses are higher during peak times."
This petition will be delivered to: Senator Marco Rubio and Representative
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen 12/5/2014 Progreso Weekly: "This is why we are
again calling attention to the report by the Tampa Bay Times that Sally
Canfield, Deputy Chief of Staff to Rubio, and Arthur Estopinan, Chief of
Staff to Ros-Lehtinen, visited China on a Congressional staff trip run by
the U.S.-Asia Institute, but funded by China’s government. Senator Rubio and
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are two of the biggest opponents in Congress to
lifting the travel ban and changing U.S. policy."
Statement on News That Sen. Rubio and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Sent Senior Staff to
Communist China 8/29/2014 #CubaNow: “If there was any doubt that there
has been a huge shift in the political landscape in South Florida, this trip
clearly puts an end to it. America’s foreign policy should not be driven by
a head-in-the-sand approach, and we need our leaders in Washington to
directly engage with both allies and enemies alike in order to advance our
best interests. Despite their responses to the Tampa Bay Times article,
Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen’s senior staff trip to China shows that deep down
they recognize the value in people to people travel, even when it involves
regimes with whom we don’t agree, to promote better relations. We can’t
effect positive change if we continue to bench ourselves and stay on Cuba's
sidelines. "We particularly welcome the response from Senator Rubio’s office
that travel and engagement is ‘necessary in helping advance our advocacy on
a host of foreign policy issues.’"
Nigeria, Jamaica set for direct air link - FG 7/6/2014 Nigerian
Tribune: "NIGERIA and the Caribbean island of Jamaica are to finalise
Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) in order to establish direct flights
between Lagos/Abuja and Kingston, Jamaica within the the shortest possible
time. The Minister of State (1) for Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola
Onwuliri, who disclosed this to the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja, said the
agreement will be finalised at the forthcoming third session of the
Nigeria-Jamaica Joint Commission. She explained that in view of the almost
zero trade and investment statistics existing between the two countries, it
is believed that a direct flight from Nigeria to Jamaica will connect the
Caribbean region to Africa and unbundle the existing opportunities at both
Aclaración: No es necesario pagar 200 CUC por entrar a Cuba 5/17/2014 OnCuba
hopeful U.S. may ease rules on travel to Cuba 3/3/2014 CNBC: "I think
there will be general licenses before the spring is over," said John
McAuliff, the executive director of the U.S. not-for-profit Fund for
Reconciliation and Development. "It means you can stay in bed and
breakfasts, eat in private restaurants, take the public buses, rent a car
and pick up Cuban hitchhikers. It becomes a totally different process of
Griffey Jr. y Barry Larkin en La Habana 2/8/2014 Cubadebate: "La
muchedumbre de la Peña del Parque Central habanero no se lo podía creer, y
algunos incluso llegaron a enjugarse los ojos, como en las películas:
inesperadamente, delante de ellos se aparecieron Ken Griffey Jr. y Barry
Larkin, dos monstruos sagrados de la historia reciente de las Grandes Ligas
Ending the Cuba Travel Crisis 12/3/2013 The Nation: "Ricardo Alarcón,
former foreign minister and retired president of the National Assembly said,
in relation: In terms of changing Cuban society, the most effective
ambassadors are the Cubans coming back, somebody living on the corner
bringing gadgets from Miami. When they are in their dining rooms they
probably are not pretending to mislead. They will say work is harder in the
US. They can bring some different element here, maybe in fashion or music.
So you will get a mutual influence. I don’t really see a problem with that.
They have been coming back for years. So?"
U.S. Promises To Help Cuba Find New Bank For Diplomatic Mission 11/28/2013 Fox
Cuba suspends consular services in US over lack of banking 11/26/2013 BBC
More Americans are traveling to Cuba 10/21/2013 Progreso Weekly: "Some
98,050 Americans visited Cuba in 2012, according to recently released Cuban
government statistics (site in Spanish). That’s up from 73,566 in 2011. In
fact, the Cuban charts show U.S. arrivals have been rising steadily since
2006,when 36,808 American arrivals were reported. A recent Reuters report
noted that the Cuban count excludes visits paid by an estimated 350,000
Cuban Americans, whom Cuban officials view as Cuban nationals."
Indiegogo refusing to release funds donated for legal Cuba travel 8/22/2013 Cuba
News: "U.S. citizens collecting funds for legal Cuba tours and other legal
Cuba projects should be warned not to use online fundraising sites such as
Indiegogo. Recently there have been incidents in which legal participants on
legal Cuba research tours attempted to raise funds for their Cuba travel on
the site www.indiegogo.com. In one case, Indiegogo is refusing to release
the $1400 raised by a legal Cuba traveler, claiming their bank didn't have
approval from OFAC. In the second case, Indiegogo shut down a legal Cuba
traveler's Indiegogo webpage when he had raised $400."
Look at the Cuban Tourism Industry 8/17/2013 Havana Times: "Whatever
stresses are placed on Cuba now could be multiplied if Americans are allowed
to travel to Cuba in greater numbers. A television documentary here quoted a
high ranking Cuban official to the effect that Cuba would need many more
golf courses to accommodate an expanded tourist industry. Who could have
predicted that more than 50 years after the Cuban Revolution, Cuba would be
dependent on tourists from wealthy countries? Marx, Engels, Lenin, Marti,
etc. did not write anything on how to deal with such a challenge. The Cubans
will be obliged to figure it out for themselves."
Press Release of CAFE's denouncement of Mario Diaz-Balart's attempt to
dismantle advancements in U.S. Cuba policy 7/19/2013 CAFE por
Cuba: "Section 124 would effectively dismantle the "people-to-people"
licensing program, allowing American citizens to travel to Cuba for
educational purposes, by defunding the program. These licenses have allowed
U.S. citizens to legally visit Cuba and experience the island first-hand,
ending their reliance on the skewed portrayals of Cuban reality by either
the U.S. government or the corporate-controlled media."
“Proyecto de ley Jay-Z y Beyoncé”: Otro capítulo oscuro 7/11/2013 CubaDebate: "Un
proyecto de ley que acaba de ver la luz en un Subcomité de Apropiaciones
limitaría el uso de fondos del Departamento del Tesoro estadounidenses
“relacionados con los viajes u otras operaciones de intercambios no
académicos” descritos en las restricciones legales estadounidenses de los
viajes a Cuba."
Howard Dodson Jr. has returned to work, trying to make Howard research
center great again 5/26/2013 WaPo: "As part of his fundraising for
Moorland-Spingarn’s centennial next year, Dodson plans to put together
heritage package tours to places such as Brazil and Cuba, which will feature
black scholars and artists. “Folks will want to pay for that,” he said
Beyonce discusses Cuba trip on 'GMA,' says she wants more kids 5/6/2013 LA
Times: "You know, it was such a beautiful trip," the singer said. "I met
some incredible children. I visited some incredible entrepreneurs. And it
was really, it was really educational for me. I learned so much about so
many people and the country, and it was actually quite shocking."
Help end the travel ban on Cuba. 4/17/2013 Black World Events: "You can
help move the White House in the direction of improved relations. Sign our
petition asking the President to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors
Beyonce and Jay Z Are Race Traitors for Going to Cuba !?!? 4/15/2013 Huffington
Post: by Mark Sawyer, UCLA - "In the early 2000's the Cuban members of
Congress funded projects located at HBCU's for scholars under to contract to
produce articles on racism in Cuba. Scholars visited Cuba but did no
original research and largely summarized the works of scholars like myself
without any of the necessary context and caveats. We were then invited to a
conference at Howard University hosted by Ileana Ross-Lehtinen so they could
report their "findings" on racism in Cuba and have the validation of top
scholars in the field. As the conservative Miami Cubans have struggled to
connect with blacks on the island they have seen talking about racism on the
island as a possible entrée to Afro-Cubans."
DALE McFEATTERS: Time to lift pointless Cuban travel ban 4/14/2013 Courrier,
Evansville, IL: "The more heated members of the Cuban-American delegation in
Congress wanted the couple met at the airport and frog-marched off to
custody for violating U.S. laws on trade and travel to Cuba — those are the
aforementioned laws with a half-century of proven failure — laws apparently
drawn up by Franz Kafka and George Orwell after a heavy night of drinking
Jay-Z Mocks Republicans’ Fury Over Cuba Trip In New Track 4/11/2013 ThinkProgress: "“I
done turned Havana into Atlanta,” Jay-Z raps in “Open Letter,” which he
released Thursday. “[…] Boy from the hood, I got White House clearance…
Politicians never did s—- for me except lie to me, distort history… They
wanna give me jail time and a fine. Fine, let me commit a real crime.”"
An Open Letter To Jay-Z And Beyonce About That Cuba Trip... from Michael
Skolnik 4/11/2013 Global Grind: "After a long day shoot on New Year's
Eve day, one of the only hip-hop DJ's on the island invited me to his house
for dinner. I happily accepted and in just a few hours I found myself around
his family dining room table, with his mom, dad, sister and elderly
grandmother. When the New Year's Eve dinner came out of the oven, I spotted
just five pieces of pork. I was the sixth. My man never told his parents
that I was coming over. As they put the pork chop on my plate, I looked over
at grandma and her plate was empty. Nada. Just some beans and rice and some
sweet plantains. Not really sure what to do, I kept offering my piece of
pork to grandma relentlessly, but she would not have it. In maybe the few
words she knew of English, she looked at me and said, "my casa is your
Cuban American National Foundation on Jay Z and Beyonce Visiting Cuba Cuban
American National Foundation on Jay Z and Beyonce Visiting Cuba 4/11/2013 South
Florida Caribbean News: "Unfortunately, the opportunities we are given as
Americans do not hold true for people on the island they are visiting. The
sad fact is that if Jay Z and Beyonce lived in Cuba, they could not have
become Jay Z and Beyonce - not just because of the regime's oppressive laws,
but also because of the reality of their racial bigotry against Afro-Cubans
and people of color. Ask Roberto Zurbano, an Afro-Cuban who was recently
removed from his job by Cuban government officials for his March 23rd op-ed
in the New York Times titled "For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn't
Begun." Though different in political ideology and historic timing, one
wonders if Jay Z and Beyonce would have visited Nelson Mandela in apartheid
South Africa? If so, why not visit the dozens of Mandelas in Cuba being
discriminated for the color of their skin?"
Jay Carney Denies Jay-Z's 'White House Clearance' Claim For Cuba Trip
(VIDEO) 4/11/2013 Huff Post: "Boy from the hood but got White House
clearance," quoted the reporter. "Obama said chill you're going to get me
Jay-Z Responds To Cuban Trip Controversy With New ‘Open Letter’ Song 4/11/2013 Mediaite: "“I’m
in Cuba, I love Cubans / This communist talk is so confusing / When it’s
from China, the very mic that I’m using.”
Three takeaways from Jay-Z and Beyoncé's Cuba trip 4/11/2013 WBEZ: By:
Beyoncé and Jay-Z's Cuba trip licensed by US Treasury, say sources 4/9/2013 Guardian: "Beyoncé
and Jay-Z's recent visit to Havana was fully licensed and authorised by the
US Treasury department, sources said on Monday. Officials are reportedly
preparing a statement on the musicians' Cuban holiday, after complaints by
Republican lawmakers. The stars' controversial trip was legal, a source
confirmed to Reuters. Beyoncé and Jay-Z were apparently carrying licences
provided by the Treasury's office of foreign assets control, which oversees
US citizens' visits to Cuba. The terms of these permits are not clear: Jay
Carney, the White House press secretary, called it "a Treasury matter",
while the Treasury's spokesman, John Sullivan, told the Associated Press he
could not comment on particular licences."
Beyoncé y Jay-Z visitaron a Cuba 4/6/2013 Juventud Rebelde: "Aunque la
estancia de ambos músicos en la Isla tuvo un carácter privado, el suceso
tampoco escapó a la mirada de los capitalinos, quienes acompañaron a la
pareja en sus paseos por La Habana Vieja, en su contacto con estudiantes y
trabajadores de la Universidad de las Artes, en la presentación que La
Colmenita les hiciera de La Cenicienta según los Beatles, o en sus
encuentros con la cantante Haila María Mompié y con Danza Contemporánea de
Beyonce, Jay-Z Cuba trip questioned 4/6/2013 Politico: "Two members of
Congress from Florida are looking into how hip hop royals Beyonce and Jay-Z
ended in Cuba this week.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart
sent a letter to Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets
Control at the Treasury Department, on Friday asking for more information
about the celebrity couple’s trip, which coincided with their fifth wedding
anniversary." Two charter members of the exiled plantocracy imposing their
U.S. bottleneck snags Florida Orchestra's Cuba exchange 1/30/2013 Cuba
Headlines: "The Florida Orchestra has run into the first real glitch in its
cultural exchange with Cuba. On Friday, the orchestra learned it had to
postpone plans to send concertmaster Jeffrey Multer to perform on Feb. 10
with the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba in Havana. The reason: The
Office of Foreign Asset Control, part of the U.S. Department of the
Treasury, was unable to process the orchestra's application for a license to
spend money in Cuba in time for the trip, scheduled to begin Feb. 4."
Cuba — Travelling off the radar 11/17/2012 Cuba Absolutely
U.S. blocks passengers traveling from Spanish airports 9/26/2012 Granma: "However,
a European Commission (CE) spokesperson, Michele Cercone, told EFE that the
issue is not within the CE’s authority since the U.S. does not have access
to information about Spanish passengers or those of other nationalities who
travel to third countries, as stipulated in an agreement between Brussels
and Washington about passenger lists. The agreement apparently did not apply
to Colombian journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina, a Le Monde Diplomatique
collaborator and 25-year resident of Paris, El País emphasized. This past
May 6, the journalist was left stranded at Barajas airport, because a
functionary from the U.S. embassy in Madrid blocked his departure to a third
country, in this case, Cuba, on a direct nonstop flight."
U.S. Treasury Department continues to obstruct travel to Cuba 8/29/2012 Granma: "U.S.
authorities have implemented a series of bureaucratic measures restricting
‘People to People’ travel to Cuba. This particular program was reinitiated
by the Obama administration in 2011, although it did not entail any
substantive change in U.S. policy toward Cuba and left the blockade intact.
The new measures have complicated trips between the United States and Cuba.
Now, according to Department of Treasury regulations, paperwork required to
request a license to organize trips to Cuba has been expanded from six to
hundreds of pages."
El Tesoro estadounidense refuerza el control sobre viajes y remesas a Cuba 7/29/2012 CubaEncuentro: "El
Departamento del Tesoro estadounidense ha divulgado la Circular 2012 de la
Oficina de Control de Bienes Extranjeros (OFAC, por sus siglas en ingles),
que refuerza el control sobre viajes y remesas a Cuba con nuevas
disposiciones que regulan las operaciones de agencias y compañías de vuelos
chárter que negocian con la Isla, informó este viernes el sitio CaféFuerte.
La nueva normativa, señala la nota de la periodista y editora del sitio web
Ivette Leyva Martínez, establece regulaciones más estrictas para la gestión
de la documentación y equipaje de pasajeros, así como para la venta de
US Alabama-Cuba Initiative Intends to Be Perpetuated 6/24/2012 CubaNow: "Without
ideology or language getting in the way, the head of the US Alabama-Cuba
Initiative, Robert Olin, wants to duplicate in time and results the already
existing decade of collaboration with Cuban institutions. "
The refuseniks of Cuba 5/21/2012 WaPo: "The State Department’s form
letters to the rejected applicants said that their presence would be
“detrimental” to American interests. A spokesperson, without offering any
further explanation, fell back on boilerplate legalities which, in an almost
Soviet twist, translated as: Rejected Because of the Law. Never mind that
the 11 have traveled — quite legally — to the United States before. On
several occasions the George W. Bush administration issued blanket denials
to dozens of Cuban scholars who tried to attend the conference. That forced
the sponsors to shift three straight conferences out of the United States,
to Canada and Brazil. That was a disgraceful commentary on America’s
tolerance and constitutional protections. Free speech is meant to protect
not only the speakers but also those who want to listen to them."
Terrorism returns to Miami 5/16/2012 Progresso Weekly
U.S. reconfirms restrictions on travel to Cuba 3/20/2012 Granma: "The
Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which functions within this Federal
department, threatened to suspend the licenses of travel agencies which
publicize trips to Havana with suggested tourist activities. In January
2011, President Barack Obama approved a relative relaxation of restrictions
on travel to Cuba, allowing airlines and agencies to organize trips to the
island, solely for cultural and educational purposes. The first licenses
requested were not granted by OFAC until six months after the White House
directive, while at the same time conservative Congresswoman Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen requested more severe anti-Cuban measures during this
Top 10 paladares in Havana 2/15/2012 The Guardian: "The food is
Cuban-Creole: malanga, yucca, cerdo asado (roast pork), lobster, fresh fish,
shrimp and other traditional fare. This is not, however, the bland standard
cuisine found in many state restaurants. The dessert menu is expansive:
pudding San Cristóbal (eggs, fruit, milk and almonds) is excellent while the
fruit tart and rice puddings are pretty passable, as well as the omnipresent
flan. The wine list is broad enough and reasonably priced."
Ros-Lehtinen accused Smithsonian of "supporting Cuba and terrorism" 1/4/2012 Walter
Lippman: by Jean-Guy Allard - "Hysterical, Ros-Lehtinen accused prestigious
institute of "supporting Cuba and Terrorism"
Congresswoman objects to Smithsonian tours to Cuba 1/4/2012 WaPo: "In a
blistering press release, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said the
Smithsonian was helping what she called “the deplorable Havana tyranny” by
sponsoring trips to Cuba."
Travel to Cuba: People-to-People Cultural Exchange 1/4/2012 Smithsonian: "Smithsonian
will offer multiple departures of a new People-to-People Cultural Exchange
Program to Cuba in 2012. Thanks to a special license issued by the U.S.
Department of the Treasury, Smithsonian Institution invites you to
participate in this meaningful Cultural Exchange program with the Cuban
people who are involved in the arts, cultural traditions, agriculture,
natural history and education. •Travel Dates are: May 4 - 13; May 11 - 20;
November 9 - 18; November 30 - December 9, 2012*. (*pending license
Ros-Lehtinen says Smithsonian trips to Cuba a cash gift to Castro 1/4/2012 The
Hill: "Ros-Lehtinen stopped short of saying she would move to block the
Smithsonian trips but said the visits would do nothing to help Americans to
see the brutality of the Cuban regime. "Instead, these tourists will
experience a false depiction of Cuba through a biased and censored ‘tour’ of
the island," she said. "The Smithsonian's 10-day trips to Cuba will amount
to little more than a tropical vacation," she said. "Americans participating
in these trips will not see the brutal reality of the Castro dictatorship."
Ros-Lehtinen Concerned about Smithsonian-Sponsored Trips to Cuba 1/3/2012 US
House: "“The nature of the Smithsonian’s upcoming trips to Cuba becomes
clear merely by looking at the ad promoting it. The ad fails to mention that
Cuba is a state-sponsor of terrorism or that Castro’s thugs repeatedly and
routinely beat and harass the innocent Ladies in White while they peacefully
march down a street. It does not mention that an American citizen is being
held hostage by the regime simply for seeking to lift the veil of censorship
that the dictatorship imposes on the Cuban people."
Obama advierte que vetará proyectos que limiten viajes y remesas a Cuba 7/15/2011 Nuevo
Herald, Miami: "La administración del presidente Barack Obama anunció
enfáticamente que vetará cualquier proyecto de ley o enmienda que limite los
viajes y remesas a Cuba. La declaración de la Casa Blanca se incluye en un
memorando de cinco páginas preparado por la Oficina de Administración y
Presupuesto. El documento, fechado el miércoles, contiene varias
observaciones a una serie de lineamientos para promover su nuevo plan de
reducción del déficit "
Don't "wait and see": Fight to keep Cuban American travel, for all our
sakes 7/6/2011 Common Ground Travel
Travel Restrictions in the Spotlight in Brooklyn and Beyond 7/5/2011 Americas
Quarterly: "Opponents of ending travel restrictions to Cuba have long relied
on the ambivalence of everyday voters for whom—under the decades-long policy
of isolation—visiting the island has never been a practical possibility. For
much of the past five decades, most Americans have never questioned the
rationale for restricting travel. But, as academic and cultural ties grow,
thousands more are bound to ponder that very question. Diaz-Balart and
others will find it increasingly difficult to come up with convincing
answers—and that might be the reason for all the fuss."
United States Cuba Policy: Cuba Travel? You Are Not Serious 6/24/2011 United
States Cuba Policy & Business Blog: "Now here is the good news. There are
more of us than there are of them. It is time to prove it in votes and
money. What happened in the House Appropriations committee can and will
likely be stopped. Only if you choose to finally get serious on this issue,
follow all the rules of the political game, and play to win."
Diaz-Balart Seeks to Punish Cuban-Americans 6/24/2011 Havana
Times: "Puerto Rican legislator Rep. Serrano warned that we should not be
trying to define what constitutes “family” because the scope varies among
different ethnic groups and Virginia Democrat Rep. Moran decried the
amendment as un-American and “totalitarian”… Florida Rep. Diaz-Balart said
that remittances have become a huge cash windfall for the Cuban government,
ignoring the fact that the money is helping the Cuban people to become less
economically dependent on the government and that much of it has gone toward
starting up small businesses."
Family travel to Cuba reverts to cruel Bush-era regs 6/23/2011 LAWG: "Today
the House Appropriations Committee voted in favor of an amendment, put forth
by Representative Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida (R-FL 21st), to the FY 2012
Financial Services Appropriations bill. This amendment, which passed by
voice vote, rescinds changes that President Obama made in 2009 to
Cuban-American family travel and remittances regulations. If this amendment
were to become law, Cuban Americans would only be permitted to visit their
families in Cuba once every three years, with a limited definition of what
constitutes family, and with no humanitarian exceptions. Cuban Americans
would also be limited in what they could send in remittances to Cuba."
House Appropriation Committee Approves Restriction of Travel to Cuba through
the Power of the Purse Strings 6/23/2011 Common Ground Education and
Travel: "Diaz-Balart (R-FL) The amendment tightens regulations on family
travel and remittances to Cuba, returning these policies to those that were
in place during the Bush Administration… Flake (R-AZ) The amendment inserts
report language regarding the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign
Asset Control (OFAC), related to Cuban Asset Control regulations. The
amendment directs the office to provide a report on pending license
applications related to education exchanges."
Expanding Study in Cuba 5/20/2011 Tulane University: "With interest in
Cuban studies on the rise at Tulane, provost Michael Bernstein is leading a
delegation to Havana this week in hopes of reinstating a summer program that
will add to a semester-long study opportunity in Cuba already available to
Obama to ease travel restrictions to Cuba, allow more U.S. cash to island 1/14/2011 Miami
Cuban air charter case sent to Fla. state court 4/29/2010 AP: "A Miami
woman's attempt to force air charter companies to pay a $27 million legal
judgment owed to her by the Cuban government has been bounced from federal
to state court. U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno agreed Wednesday with
Ana Margarita Martinez that the matter should be handled at the state level.
The charter companies wanted Moreno to intervene."
U.S.: Charter Companies Shouldn't Pay for Cuba Legal Judgment 4/1/2010 AP: "Declaring
U.S.-to-Cuba charter flights a vital national interest, the Justice
Department is opposing a Cuban-American woman's attempt to make air charter
companies pay a $27 million judgment she won against Cuba's communist
U.S.-Cuba flights skyrocketing 200%, charter airlines say 3/31/2010 Progreso
Weekly: "Cubans are “bursting” the capacity of flights from the U.S. to
Cuba, taking advantage of Barack Obama’s decision to permit them to fly to
the island as often as they want, charter operators say. In the first three
months of this year, the increase in flights has been from 150 to 200
percent, compared with the first quarter in 2008, said Armando García,
president of Marazul Charters, one of the companies that link both shores of
the Straits of Florida."
Suit by Spy's Ex-Wife Could Stop Flights to Cuba 3/2/2010 Miami
Herald: "Martinez's request for the writs alleges she was ``a victim of a
terrorist act. A Cuban spy married her and used her as cover for his
espionage activities.'' Her court filings say she has collected $194,000
through release of frozen Cuban assets, but ``nothing more is available
through this program.'' In 2002, she successfully seized a Cuban
crop-duster, valued at about $45,000, flown to Key West by a group of
U.S. Travel Industry Gearing up for Return to Cuba 12/16/2009 ABC: ""We
predict that at least 850,000 Americans will go to Cuba in the first year,"
Whitely said. That does not include an estimated 480,000 Americans who will
go to Cuba on Caribbean cruises when U.S. ships are allowed to dock there,
and another 480,000 Cuban American visiting family in Cuba each year, a
Cuban official said."
140 US Citizens Visit Cuba in Defiance of Embargo - An Open Letter from the
Delegation to US President Barack Obama 7/16/2009 NarcoNews
African Americans and Cuba's First Experiment in Tourism: The Joe Louis
Commission in Post Revolutionary Havana, 1959-1960 6/1/2009 Black
Past: "Castro, who witnessed the glory years of Louis’s boxing career as a
Cuban youth in the 1930s, also admired Louis’s athletic achievements and his
struggle against overwhelming disadvantages as the son of an Alabama
sharecropper and great grandson of a slave. The accomplishments of the
former boxing champion captured the imagination of African America, elevated
the Brown Bomber to the status of the first black hero in white America, and
made Joe Louis an international celebrity among colonial subjects who had
battled the ravages of American and European imperialism. The Cuban leader
also understood that Joe Louis could provide the first serious link with
middle-class African Americans. They had tourist dollars to spend but were
prohibited by “Jim Crow” restrictions that were standard problems for
African American travelers throughout resort venues in the Caribbean."
Cuban American travel to Cuba on the rise 5/7/2009 Reuters
U.S.-Cuba thaw in full swing in arts world 5/7/2009 Reuters: "After
being largely absent in recent years, U.S. gallery owners, museum directors,
curators and collectors are returning to the island to view and buy the work
of Cuban artists. Hundreds showed up for the just-ended Havana Biennial arts
festival that was a regular stop for art buyers before a Bush administration
travel crackdown earlier this decade. Their presence reflected both newly
relaxed U.S. policy toward Cuba under President Barack Obama and a U.S.
hunger for Cuban art."
Cuba travel boom - after long wait 5/7/2009 NY Daily News
Florida tourism looking at Cuba 4/14/2009 Miami Herald: "That potential
has the Sunshine State studying how to prepare its top industry for an
American tourism boom 90 miles away from its shores. Visit Florida, the
state's tourism board, issued a cautionary report in 2002 that warned one in
five Florida vacationers would pick Cuba over the Sunshine State if given a
choice. This week, officials at the tourism board downplayed the threat from
a country with fewer hotel rooms than Detroit. ''But it is also safe to say
there will be demand by Americans to see an island that has not been
available to them for 50 years,'' Visit Florida President Bud Nocera wrote
in an e-mail Tuesday. ``We believe that if and when Americans are allowed to
travel to Cuba, much of that travel will be done from Florida.''
Cuba readies for possible influx of U.S. tourists 4/12/2009 Reuters: "A
study for the International Monetary Fund estimated that as many as 3.5
million Americans could visit Cuba annually if the travel ban was lifted.
But travel experts say 500,000 is a more likely maximum the Cuban government
would allow in the early years because it does not have enough facilities
for more. "Cuba is ready to absorb another half million visitors a year, but
not another million, just because of hotel capacity," said a foreign
businessman in Cuba's travel industry. "I'm sure they will try to control as
much as they can in order to avoid a boom that nobody can control. Every
country in the world would try to do the same," he added."
Federal ruling offers new hope for Cuba-trip travel agents 3/22/2009 Miami
Expertos en Miami exhortan a levantar todas las restricciones de viajes 3/21/2009 Cuba
US Congress Takes Small Step Toward Cuba Policy Reform 3/12/2009 VOA: "The
new bill will block funding to the Treasury Department to punish
Cuban-Americans who travel more than once every three years to visit family
members. It also eases the rules on farmers or medical supplies vendors to
make sales trips to the Communist island. Jake Colvin, vice president of the
National Foreign Trade Council that advocates lifting sanctions on Cuba,
said the changes could help farmers take advantage of growing opportunities
Obama will use spring summit to bring Cuba in from the cold 3/8/2009 Guardian,
UK: "US companies are queuing up as the president moves to ease restrictions
on travel and trade, raising hopes of warmer relations and an end to the
Disturbing Report from the Transition Team 12/28/2008 The Havana
Note: "Obama's campaign statements and the platform pledge were for
unlimited travel and remittances. He also said he would do it "immediately
after taking office", which makes sense if a primary motive is humanitarian.
It is also not clear whether the transition team source or the reporter
obfuscates Obama's ability to just as easily allow other kinds of
non-tourist travel. Certainly travel by tens of thousands of mainstream
Americans for educational, humanitarian, religious, cultural and sports
purposes is at least as great a contribution to mutual understanding."
Executive Authority to Modify Travel Restrictions 11/14/2008 Travel
Industry Committee on Cuba: "Upon taking office, the Obama Administration
can use its executive authority to the extent permitted by law to suspend
most but not all of the limits on freedom of travel by Americans. As a first
step the new Secretary of the Treasury can instruct the Office of Foreign
Assets Control (OFAC) to establish general licenses for all non-tourist
travel to Cuba as codified in 2000 (see below). The registration and costly
reporting requirements of Travel Service Providers (TSP) can be abolished,
enabling any US travel agent to book flights and accommodations for
individuals and organizations entitled to general licenses. Still
prohibited, according to the law and regulations, would only be "tourist
activities" which simply "means any activity with respect to travel to,
from, or within Cuba that is not expressly authorized" by the codified
categories. Beach resort packages, conventional cruise line itineraries, and
other large scale commercial tourism, the principal potential sources of
revenue to Cuba, will remain out of bounds."
Free Cuba -- end the embargo 11/14/2008 Pensacola News Journal
U.S.-Cuba policy: Time for reform, easing restrictions 11/14/2008 Sun
Sentinel: "By regulatory fiat, the Office of Foreign Assets Control in the
Treasury Department can restore and expand by general license the kind of
journeys that took place before 2004 by world affairs councils, museums,
Elderhostel, Semester at Sea, religious and humanitarian groups, sports
teams, musicians, artists, professional and business associations, students,
alumni, people-to-people exchanges and serious individuals. Most such trips
were blocked by the Bush administration, ostensibly because they provided
funds to Cuba's government, but the peak of 84,500 opinion leaders and
curious Americans hardly counted among two million European, Canadian and
Latin American tourists."
President Obama Can Enable All Non-tourist Travel 11/14/2008 Fund for
Reconciliation and Development
Florida Travel Agents Fight Higher Bond on Cuba Trips 7/27/2008 NYT: "Teresa
Aral, a travel agent in South Florida, was greatly relieved after learning
she did not have to pay the state a quarter of a million dollars to keep
booking trips to Cuba. For now, at least. Ms. Aral, along with 15 other
agents providing charter flights to Cuba, filed a lawsuit in Miami against
the State of Florida, challenging a new law requiring them to post a
one-time $250,000 bond and disclose the names of clients in order to
continue their business with Cuba. But earlier this month, a federal judge
temporarily lifted the measure while he considered its legality."
Ruling delayed on ban of academic trips to Cuba 7/11/2008 Miami
Herald: "A final decision on the legality of a Florida law banning academic
trips to Cuba was delayed once again Friday, after a federal court judge
gave both sides more time to compose their final arguments. In dispute is a
law passed by the Legislature two years ago that restricts state
universities and community colleges from sponsoring academic trips to Cuba.
In October 2006, the ACLU of Florida and several state university professors
and academic organizations filed a lawsuit against the state and the case
has been creeping through the court system ever since."
Exiles Have Mixed Emotions About Bush Speech 10/25/2007 VOA: "Uva de
Aragon, associate director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida
International University, was not impressed with the package because, she
says, Cuban officials are unlikely to allow its implementation. She says
Washington should instead focus on areas where it can have a real impact,
such as ending restrictions that bar scholars and Cuban exiles in the United
States from traveling to the island. "We should do more for having students
go there [to Cuba] and having professors go there and having family go there
because they also take information," said Uva de Aragon. De Aragon said that
loosening the decades-old embargo may help encourage democratic and
free-market reforms in Cuba, and weaken the government's hold on power. But
she says the embargo remains a controversial topic in the Cuban exile
community and will likely remain a part of U.S. policy as long as the Castro
regime remains in power."
U.S. Plan for Airline Security Meets Resistance in Canada 10/13/2007 NYT: ""Either
the United States places no value whatsoever in the Canadian list, which it
helped develop, or I have to suspect what's going on here is a pure and
simple data-fishing exercise," Mr. Gaspar said. Among other things, he
speculated that the data could be used by American authorities to track
Americans who violated the trade embargo against Cuba by flying there on
2 to be sentenced for Cuba travel ban violation 10/10/2007 Miami
Herald: "Vazquez, who had obtained five such licenses illegally, profited by
selling his permits to thousands of Cuban Americans seeking to dodge
restrictions that became even tighter under the Bush administration. Last
month, a court presentencing report said Vazquez sold the use of his
licenses to 6,500 travelers -- estimating the government's ''loss'' and his
''gain'' at $975,000. His attorney, Celeste Higgins, called it a ''reckless
estimate.'' She said the government suffered no loss and Vazquez pocketed
between $120,000 and $400,000, citing his plea deal. Vazquez and Margolis,
who recently pleaded guilty, will be sentenced Friday and Monday,
respectively, in Miami federal court. Vazquez could face up to three years
in prison for conspiring to defraud the U.S. government. Margolis, convicted
of a lesser charge of filing a false government application, faces up to six
months but could get probation. The year-long investigation -- which also
led to the conviction of Vazquez's ex-wife and a Hialeah travel agent --
revealed a profitable scheme that allowed thousands of Cuban Americans to
shuttle to and from the island. It has spawned other investigations by a
U.S. attorney's task force targeting violators of the trade embargo against
break the law to visit Cuba - Thousands flout U.S. travel ban to see
'forbidden treasure' 9/10/2007 MSNBC: "The U.S. Treasury Department
issued 40,308 licenses for family travel last year, almost all to Cuban
Americans, and the Cuban government counts these travelers as Cubans, not
Americans. Separately, Cuba said 20,100 Americans visited the country
through June of this year, almost all presumably without U.S. permission.
Other than family members, the U.S. government granted permission 491 times
for people involved in religious, educational and humanitarian projects.
Some other Americans — including journalists and politicians — can come
without licenses, though few do. Cuba said about 37,000 Americans not of
Cuban origin came in 2006 — down from the more than 84,500 it reported in
2003, before the latest restrictions."
Hilton Hotels in Row Over Cuban Embargo 8/17/2007 CNS News: published
2/07 - "British lawmakers have slammed the American-based Hilton hotel group
for refusing to do business with the Cuban government because of the U.S.
embargo against the communist island nation, and some are calling for a
boycott. Early last month, a hotel in Oslo, Norway that is owned by the
American company turned away a Cuban delegation attending a trade fair after
they had already made reservations."
Feds Fine Travelocity.com for Cuba Trips 8/15/2007 AP
Burlington College to send students to Cuba 7/25/2007 AP: "Burlington
College is starting a program that will send 15 students to Cuba for a
semester to study at the University of Havana. The full-time program will
include courses in Cuban studies, history and culture, Spanish language
instruction and another course."
US government forces a European airline to stop flying to Cuba 7/13/2007 Blog
Republican officials call for lifting US travel restrictions on Cuba 4/19/2007 Wayne
Madsen Report: - scroll down to Apr 19, 2007 entry - "Flake criticized
current Bush administration policies towards Cuba as "too Florida-centric."
He said many Arizonans want to visit Cuba and he rejected the notion that
"national security" is the reason given by the Bush administration for
travel restrictions. Flake also said there is no place for any travel
restrictions being placed on Americans. He cited such restrictions as
hallmarks of Communist regimes. Flake said one good thing about having a
Democratic Congress is not having the Cuba travel freedom bill stripped by
conference committees as it has been twice during past Republican sessions
of Congress. Flake also said that Cuban-Americans are not in "lock step"
with the Bush administration's travel restriction policy. Flake also
condemned the State Department's use of an electronic message board at the
US Interests Section in Havana as "juvenile." He said one message stated
that "In Miami, a school child today will receive a free breakfast of eggs
Legislation would relax Cuba policy 1/26/2007 Washington Times
Soldier fights Cuba travel restrictions 1/20/2007 Miami Herald
"About That Trip to Cuba ... " - When the FBI Came Calling 10/24/2006 CounterPunch: "The
agent said she'd rather not go into it over the phone, but that basically,
she wanted to help me. She informed me that the Cuban government had been
known to target "certain types" of academics, and she'd like to warn me
about things to watch out for, and find out from me if I had experienced any
of the "targeting activities" while working in and on Cuba. She told me the
meeting was "preventative" so I'd know what to look out for. She assured me,
the meeting would be of more use to me, than her or the FBI. She said the
FBI did this with all students traveling to Cuba. Again, this was news to
me, and all the other people I know who travel frequently to Cuba."
Fed Task Force to Enforce Cuba Sanctions 10/10/2006 AP: "Miami-based
U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta said the task force will focus on
prosecuting violators of laws governing such things as commercial business
with Cuba, currency reporting requirements, money laundering and travel to
the island. The task force's formation comes about a month before U.S.
elections in which Cuban-American voters in South Florida — most of them
fervently anti-Castro — form an important Republican Party constituency."
[They may be anti-Castro, but they do not favor these measures.]
THE LAW ABOUT GOING
TO CUBA - Any American can go to Cuba as his own reporter without asking
anyone's permission 9/16/2006 I Am My Own Reporter
U.S. government denies theater group permit to travel to Cuba 9/15/2005 Granma
Stubborn resistance and world support ends eight-year, eight million dollar
ordeal 4/11/2005 Granma: "Eight years of battle over a key embargo
issue came to a close early this year as the U.S. government quietly
withdrew its final attack on Canadian businessman James Sabzali, an effort
to deport him from his adopted home in the United States. Washington had
pursued deportation despite an earlier plea agreement with Sabzali. "The
government reneged on its offer," he explained in an interview. But now
deportation has joined the original 76 charges filed against Sabzali in the
rubble that was once Washington's largest prosecution for violation of its
anti-Cuba embargo. Sabzali had faced life imprisonment and over $19 million
USD in fines for sales of water purification supplies to Cuban hospitals.
And while both the charges and their scale captured attention, the stakes
were even more compelling: could the United States make its blockade legally
binding on the entire world?"
Washington busca restringir las licencias de viajes a Cuba 4/8/2005 Nuevo
Solidarity movement asserts right to visit Cuba 3/16/2005 Worker's
Michigan couple must pay $5,250 fine for travel to Cuba, judge rules 2/11/2005 Detroit
Free Perss: "Michael and Andrea McCarthy, of Port Huron, went to Cuba
through Canada in April 2001. They are devout Catholics who considered the
trip a missionary effort as well as a vacation. They brought medicine to a
group of nuns in Havana, as they had done on similar trips to Mexico and
Haiti, and participated in religious services. The fine was substantially
lower than the typical fine of $7,500 each for first-time offenders,
according to the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset
Control. OFAC, which considers mitigating factors including how much people
spend in Cuba, had asked Administrative Law Judge Irwin Schroeder to fine
the couple a total of $9,750. Schroeder said he took into account a number
of factors in deciding the amount of the fine, including the humanitarian
and religious intentions of the trip and the couple's limited ability to pay
a substantial civil penalty. Michael McCarthy is a physician's assistant and
Andrea McCarthy is a nurse, and the couple have three college-aged
Republican Senators Push Bush Administration to Expand Cuba Agricultural
Trade and Travel 2/9/2005 Americans For Humanitarian Trade With
Cuba: "Americans For Humanitarian Trade With Cuba (AHTC), a national
organization that includes blue-ribbon leaders such as David Rockefeller,
Frank Carlucci, Carla Hills and Paul Volcker, endorsed legislation
introduced today by a powerful and unprecedented group of Republican
Senators meant to head-off recent Bush Administration moves to cut back
agricultural trade and travel to Cuba."
U.S. RESTRICTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES IN
CUBA - Memo from Attorney Michael Krinsky, Esq. 1/28/2005 Walter
SIU ABLE TO RESEARCH IN CUBA AGAIN 9/8/2004 Southern Illinoisan: "The
door to Cuba is open again to Southern Illinois University. University
officials and Southern Illinois congressmen successfully convinced the U.S.
Department of Treasury to restore SIU's license for research on the
communist Caribbean island, after it previously had been revoked. SIU was
one of many American universities hit with the current presidential
administration's harder line against communication with Cuba. SIU's license
expired June 30, and government officials did not renew the document."
OFAC not dealing with travel applications to Cuba 8/2/2004 Granma: "THE
Treasury Department’s Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) does not
currently possess the staffing levels required to process applications for
licenses for the thousands of Cuban-Americans who wish to carry out their
“right” to travel to Cuba once every three years, but it does in fact have
dozens of officials to harass people who dare to travel to the island from
U.S. territory without that nation’s blessing."
Authorities detain Puerto Ricans who visited Cuba 7/30/2004 AP: "At
least 75 Puerto Ricans, who returned from a trip to Cuba, were detained for
five hours on Friday in the U.S. Customs receiving area at Mayaguez because
they had traveled to Cuba without permission from the U.S. Government. After
their release, some of the detainees alleged they had been assaulted by
authorities when they confiscated their belongings, which were later
returned. "We were mistreated while in custody. Some of our companions were
assaulted and pushed while their belongings were confiscated, said
22-year-old college student Coral Martinez."
Travelers return after defying Cuban travel restrictions 7/19/2004 AP
Cuba study abroad trip canceled 7/15/2004 Daily Northwestern
Norteamericanos siguen viajando a cuba bajo amenazas de bush 7/8/2004 Jiribilla
Travel and remittances to Cuba are now restricted 6/24/2004 Progresso
Weekly: "Another Florida Republican Congressman, Lincoln Díaz-Balart, said
that “President George W. Bush is the best friend the cause of Cuban freedom
has had in the White House. I thank President Bush for the implementation of
these regulations that strengthen the embargo against Cuban tyranny.” "
[Nice, coming from a man said to have received $100 million from a Colombian
drug lord, a man whose family was responsible for the repression of West
Indians in Oriente.]
US Govt Attacks
US Hip Hop Artist For Peforming In Cuba 6/15/2004 AfroCubaWeb: "US
Government Threatens US Artist for Performing at International Hip Hop
Festival in Cuba Brock Satter, a.k.a. Bojah, bandleader of "spoken-soul-hop"
fusion group Bojah and the Insurrection, received a letter from the US
Department of Treasury requesting information on his recent trip to Cuba and
threatening penalties against him for failure to comply. Satter was a
featured artist at the 9th annual Hip Hop Festival in Havana. The Havana hip
hop festival is a well established event which has featured US artists such
as Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Dead Prez, as well as Cuban groups and
others from around the world. Erykah Badu was also slated to perform at the
9th festival, but was prevented from travelling to the island by the
blackout which occurred in New York and other parts of the US and Canada
during the August 2003 festival."
Churchgoers test Cuban travel ban 3 were fined after worshiping in Havana 6/13/2004 Washington
Post: "Lawyer Art Heitzer said that at the time his Methodist clients were
fined, in 1999, U.S. rules not only gave Cuban Americans more freedom to
visit Cuba -- people with family in Cuba could visit once a year for
humanitarian reasons -- but also explicitly stated that Cuban Americans
could not be fined for a first offense. His clients, on the other hand, were
socked the first time out. It's taken four years to challenge the fines
because, until recently, the United States had no office set up to hear
Ramapo College sending students to Cuba for arts study 3/30/2004 Jersey
ATRIP: Cuba travel ban disturbing 3/11/2004 South Florida Business
Journal: "The Association of Travel-Related Industry Professionals, a
Washington D.C.-based lobbying group, has criticized what it described as
the government's decision to prohibit a group of professionals from
traveling to Cuba."
Visitor to Cuba will pay fine 3/11/2004 Lawrence Journal-World, KS
Bush further tightens Cuba travel ban 2/26/2004 AP: "He's signed an
order giving the Coast Guard the authority to prevent unauthorized American
ships from leaving U-S ports bound for the island. The president's order
cites alleged steps by Fidel Castro's government to "destabilize" relations
with the United States. They include threats to close a U-S diplomatic
outpost in Havana -- and break an accord designed to prevent a flood of
Cuba Getting a Record Number of Tourists 2/21/2004 TravelVideo
Havanatur wary of U.S. Cuba travel crackdown 2/12/2004 Nassau Guardian
2 Republican Lawmakers Believe US Will Drop Cuba Travel Ban 2/11/2004 VOA
sour note with U.S. over Cuba 2/10/2004 NBC: "It finally sent off the
donation without the U.S. administration’s seal of approval. “To have waited
any longer,” Treuhaft said, “would have insulted the memory of Newton Hunt.”
Hunt was a partially sighted piano tuner from New Jersey who died last year
and left his entire workshop to his Cuban counterparts. Of particular value
were his specially fitted tools for blind tuners. Cuba has many and they
operate using techniques the Russians showed them 32 years ago."
U.S. lists Montreal-based Caribe Sol in its Cuba-linked ban 2/10/2004 Montreal
Cuba expects to welcome 2 million foreign tourists 2/10/2004 VNA, Viet
U.S. red-flags firms with links to Cuba 2/9/2004 AP
Travel companies seek alternative to U.S.-Cuba exchange 1/26/2004 USA
Cuba To Host Sixth Annual Caribbean Conference On Sustainable Tourism
Development 1/26/2004 Travel Video
Travel companies seek alternative to U.S.-Cuba exchange 1/26/2004 AP: "But
the cultural exchange program offered the only option for many Americans to
visit Cuba, said Merri Ansara, director of Common Ground Education & Travel
of Cambridge. "It was the only way ordinary people could go who simply
wanted to learn more about Cuba, about the embargo, about the situation,"
U.S. clamping down on Americans' visits to Havana 1/25/2004 Washington
Times: "If U.S. citizens visit Cuba and fail to put it on the post-trip
declaration form, they can be charged with perjury and their name entered
into the Homeland Security Department database. If they admit to traveling
to Cuba, they are subject to a fine of as much as $10,000."
Travellers to Cuba get fleeced of $20,000 1/20/2004 Toronto Star
President's Interpreter in Fight on Cuba Ban 1/4/2004 LA Times
Judicial Hearings on Travel to Cuba Finally Begin 12/30/2003 AP
U.S. Policy on Cuba Deprives Black Americans 11/18/2003 Black America
Web: "On Pennsylvania Avenue, it's all about the 2004 election. And that
means that traveling to Cuba - a majority-black nation - must remain a no-no
for most of us, otherwise Miami's Cuban exiles, who are more than 90 percent
white, will put a chokehold on the Bush administration's re-election bid.
But the larger issue regarding the travel ban to Cuba isn't the White
House's political schemes. It's that you - Mr. and Ms. BlackAmericaWeb.com -
are being deprived of an affirming and even life-changing experience. Cuba,
just 90 miles to the south of Miami, is defined and dominated by African
culture and heritage. And all Cubans, even the white ones, seem to know
Pandering to Anti-Castro Hardliners - Democracy or Oligarchy? 11/14/2003 CounterPunch: "Once
again a very few powerful men have overruled the clearly expressed will of
our Congress. Why do our so-called representatives allow this to happen? How
can we accuse Cuba of being undemocratic? Are we a democracy or an
oligarchy? Only if we face reality can we change it."
Conference Committee Strips Travel Amendment 11/14/2003 LAWG: "Pressure
from a White House—eying Florida’s electoral votes—was cited by
congressional leaders as the reason for the change. “It’s clear that the
White House isn’t listening to the will of the majority of Americans, who
support ending these senseless restrictions,” said Philip Schmidt from the
Latin America Working Group. “The administration believes that gaining a few
votes in Florida is worth angering a broad section of the rest of the
nation. This thinking could backfire on them.”"
Travel Amendments Stripped: Take Action 11/14/2003 LAWG: "ACTION 1:
Call your two senators and your representative to loudly protest this
subversion of democracy."
Anger at Cuba travel ban decision 11/14/2003 BBC: "Business lobbies
have also said they are angry, as they had hoped to export food to Cuba
under an exception passed in 2000." And they need to get down there to make
Cuba critical of US bid to block bilateral relations normalisation 11/14/2003 Viet
Nam News Agency
Travel to Cuba plan disappears; Baucus, Enzi unhappy 11/14/2003 Billings
Plan to ease Cuba sanctions foiled GOP kills measure to avoid Bush veto 11/13/2003 NYT: "The
fact that it could be undermined is mind-blowing," said Steven Schwadron,
the chief of staff of Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass. "It suggests that a
handful of people can vaporize the will of the majority." Some conservatives
were troubled as well. Steven Johnson, an analyst at the Heritage
Foundation, said the administration was missing an opportunity to fine-tune
tough sanctions that have failed to bring change in Cuba. "The
administration takes a hard line meant to please a certain crowd in Miami,"
Congress Upholds Ban on Cuba Travel 11/13/2003 AP: "House-Senate
bargainers bowed to a White House veto threat on Wednesday and upheld the
four-decade old ban on most travel to Cuba. Though the Republican-run House
and Senate had separately approved provisions earlier this year lifting the
ban, negotiators dropped the language from a compromise bill." Compromise is
supposed to be between House & Senate, not between the US Government and a
group of homicidal narcotraffickers godfathered by the Bush family.
Visitors to Cuba face U.S. discipline 11/9/2003 Knight Ridder
US Senate panel approves lifting Cuba travel ban 11/6/2003 Reuters: "The
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 13-5 on Thursday to lift the
travel ban to Cuba, as the fight to eliminate the 42-year-old prohibition
gathered steam in Congress. ...Sen. George Allen, a Virginia Republican,
said Cuba practiced a ''tourism apartheid,'' where visitors were herded into
beach resorts where they had little interaction with local Cubans, failing
to make Cuba more democratic." [Other islands in the Caribbean also practice
a similar "tourism apartheid" as in Jamaica.]
Senate committee passes Enzi/Baucus bill lifting Cuba travel ban 11/6/2003 AP: [Contrary
to AP's posture, this is far from decided and can be swayed by citizens
contacting their representatives:] "The transportation bill includes
language that would prohibit the federal government from spending any money
to enforce the travel ban. But President Bush has threatened to veto the
bill if that provision is included, and Republican leaders are expected to
strip the provision from the bill so Bush won’t have to make good on that
GOP leaders to keep Cuba travel ban 11/5/2003 AP: this report is flat
out propaganda, reminiscent of the material put out right after the Kennedy
suggestions for action re Cuba travel bills 11/4/2003 AfroCubaWeb: "An
AP story late last week suggested that this issue was already a done deal --
that the Republicans might already have cut the Cuba amendment from the
appropriations bill. BUT THIS IS NOT YET TRUE: the conference committee is
just starting to meet, and, as far as we can tell, the issue is still very
Hoosier faces fine for trip to Cuba 11/2/2003 Indianapolis Star: "Joni
Scott flew to Cuba to hand out Bibles four years ago. Now, the federal
government wants her to pay a fine of up to $10,000 for her unlicensed trip
to the communist country."
Cuba travel battle looms 10/31/2003 Miami Herald
Baucus, Enzi join group opposing Cuba travel ban 10/30/2003 Montana
Administrative Prosecutions of Cuba Travelers To Start 10/29/2003 AfroCubaWeb: "Treasury's
OFAC will break its 11 years of forbearance of administrative prosecutions
of US travelers to Cuba, and that it has now placed at least one
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to hear such cases. Pre-hearing procedures
have already been instituted, with the likelihood that such actual hearings
may be starting to take place as early as 4 months from now."
GOP Will Keep Cuba Travel Ban Intact 10/29/2003 AP: THIS IS A LIE:
"Lawmakers said Wednesday that Republican leaders probably would strip the
provision from a transportation funding bill during House and Senate
negotiations so President Bush would not have to veto an important
appropriations bill. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., a key negotiator who will
help craft the final bill, wants the travel ban enforced and said, "Everyone
is very aware of the veto threat." While declining to admit defeat, Sen. Max
Baucus, D-Mont., said "A veto would create too much of a firestorm. They
(Republican leaders) will find some other way to finesse it." ...And Lincoln
Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., said backers of the travel ban will "fight to strip the
language that increases revenues for the Cuban dictatorship." It is said
that terrorist linked Lincoln is angling to be the first president of Cuba
after overthrowing the current government.
Windmills girls' group wins OK for Cuba travel 10/29/2003 Pioneer
Press, IL: "A group of girls from Windmills, a local softball organization,
is headed to Cuba this February to play against teams from Havana and other
parts of the country." OK.
Senate Approves Easing of Curbs on Cuba Travel 10/24/2003 NYT: "The
59-to-38 vote came two weeks after Mr. Bush, in a Rose Garden ceremony,
announced that he would tighten the travel ban on Cuba in an attempt to halt
illegal tourism there and to bring more pressure on the government of Fidel
Castro." - requires a switch of 6 votes to be veto proof.
U.S. tightens inspections of flights to Cuba 10/16/2003 Reuters: "A
Treasury official told a House subcommittee on human rights and wellness
that the tighter scrutiny led to the seizure of $10,000 in unauthorized
currency from one passenger. The maximum a passenger can take to Cuba is
$3,000." They were defending his human rights!
Cancún conference on US-Cuba travel 10/16/2003 Granma: "THE Mexican
resort of Cancún is the venue for the Conference on Travel between the
United States and Cuba. The event, which takes place October 16 to 18 at the
Gran Meliá Hotel, has been organized by the recently created Association of
Tourism Related Industry Professionals. It is functioning as a co-sponsor of
various U.S. agencies like USA-ENGAGE, the National Foreign Council, the
US-Cuba Trade Association, ABC Charters, Cuba Travel Services, and Marazul
Charters. In recent years, diverse studies and surveys have recorded a
radical change in U.S. public, with a steadily growing majority in favor of
eliminating the ban on travel to Cuba, a regulation that violates their
Traveling to Cuba Where There is a Will, There is a Way 10/11/2003 CounterPunch
Support to Lift Cuba Travel Restrictions Appears to Be Growing in US
Congress 10/10/2003 VOA
PHS retains license to travel to Cuba 9/14/2003 Portsmouth Herald,
NH: "For the past four years, Portsmouth High School has held a license to
travel to Cuba, a place where American tourism is forbidden by the U.S.
government. And the license was just renewed."
Amendment to preserve Cuba exchanges passes House 9/10/2003 Business
Journal, Tampa: "U.S. Rep Jim Davis, D-Fla., sponsored the amendment, House
Despite veto threat, House moves to ease sanctions on Cuba 9/10/2003 AP
House Votes to End Cuba Travel Restriction 9/10/2003 Latin America
U.S. House passes amendments to ease Cuba embargo 9/9/2003 MSNBC: "Lawmakers
passed by a 227-188 vote an amendment introduced by Arizona Republican Jeff
Flake to a larger Transportation and Treasury spending bill. The Flake
amendment seeks to deny the Bush administration funds to enforce the travel
ban, without formally lifting the ban itself. A similar amendment passed
last year in the House by a broader 262-167 margin but was stymied in the
Senate. Embargo opponents say the Senate is now more receptive to a lifting
of the travel ban."
Air Canada Says "Hola!" To Havana, New Cuba Services Include More Flights,
New Routes And Convenience Of Scheduled Flights Providing New Air-Only
Option 9/3/2003 Canada NewsWire
Freedom to Travel to Cuba, Amnesty International PDF Report 9/1/2003 CIP
The Travel Industry's Push to Unlock Cuba 8/27/2003 CubaNet
Nuevo reglamento endurece condiciones alquileres 7/31/2003 CubaNet
The Freedom to Travel to Cuba 7/27/2003 Radio Progresso, Miami
San Diegan Fined $10,000 For Bicycle Tour Of Cuba 7/15/2003 AP
Action Needed: Support Bills in Senate and House to End Travel Ban 7/3/2003 Latin
America Working Group
New regulations impacting Cuban travel 5/3/2003 OFAC: originally posted
TO ACTION/ADVOCACY: FREEDOM TO TRAVEL 5/3/2003 USCSCA
Enzi cosponsors bill to reduce Cuba travel restrictions 5/1/2003 AP
Cubans in the U.S. / Americans in Cuba - The Voice of America 5/1/2003 Radio
Progresso: "On March 24, part of this momentum to normalize relations with
the island was lost. Under the new travel guidelines, all future requests
for new licenses or renewals will be denied. For all practical purposes, all
future “people-to-people” exchange programs will be completely nonexistent
by 2004. Interestingly enough, the U.S. Department of Treasury is welcoming
feedback on the new travel regulations until May 23, 2003. While I doubt
that an organized march in midtown Manhattan opposing the new travel
regulations would ever prevent me from reaching my destination, Americans do
have an opportunity to voice their opinions by contacting their state
representatives and the U.S. Department of Treasury at the following
Cuba Travel Bill Introduced 4/30/2003 AgWeb: has link to text of bill.
Travel to Cuba 4/28/2003 Radio Progresso: "Among the general licenses
there was the category of “people to people educational exchange,” created
to facilitate meetings between Americans and Cubans on issues of culture and
life on the island. This was the license the majority of Americans
interested in traveling to Cuba applied for. Perhaps it was the reason the
Bush administration canceled it last March 24, even before the controversy
dealing with the Cuban opponents to the government. The origin of the
license is interesting if one is to understand the fluctuations of
Washington’s policies regarding Cuba. It was born in the aftermath of the
Torricelli Act, based on the concept that the contact with the people of the
United States would weaken the political bases of the Cuban regime. It was
called “Track 2”, since Track 1 consisted on strengthening the blockade and
the aggressive measures. According to its advocates, every American that
visited Cuba would be a natural agent for the government’s destabilizing
plans. The Cuban side accepted the challenge and thousand of Americans went
to Cuba. Nothing happened, that is, now it seems the Bush administration
would rather keep “pure Americans” away from the evil temptation of contact
New rules make travel to Cuba harder for most Americans 4/27/2003 Beacon
Cuba Central OFAC Alert 4/26/2003 AfroCubaWeb: "On March 24 OFAC, the
agency charged with enforcing restrictions on travel to Cuba, issued new
travel regulations. The most significant change in the regulations further
restricts educational travel to Cuba, impacting many US organizations that
sponsor such travel and reducing significantly the number of Americans who
may visit the island legally."
Civil Penalties Information 4/25/2003 OFAC
Bush shuts door Clinton left ajar to U.S. visitors 4/18/2003 Miami
Treasury releases list of companies trading with opposition 4/16/2003 Scripps
Trading with the enemy - Commentary: U.S. companies risk only a wrist slap 4/15/2003 CBS
MarketWatch: "When individual Americans are accused of helping terrorists,
they're thrown in jail and their names are dragged through the mud. But when
major U.S. corporations are caught trading with the enemy, they get just a
slap on the wrist from the government."
Rules changed on Cuba trips 3/25/2003 Miami Herald: "Travel permits no
longer will be granted to organizations that take individuals to Cuba to
participate in ''educational'' exchanges that are not related to academic
course work. The change will require more scrutiny of license applications."
The War on Culture continues.
Cuba travel ban assailed - Tennessee rep backing legislation calling for
U.S. to lift barrier 3/14/2003 Knox News, TN: "Calling the U.S. ban on
travel "embarrassing," the West Tennessee congressman said every time an
attempt is made to lift a travel ban, there are more votes. "There were 262
votes last time; 287 is veto-proof. There are 65 or 70 votes in the Senate
to do something different in Cuba," he said."
U.S. Lawmakers Renew Push to Ease Cuba Sanctions 3/10/2003 Reuters: "Legislation
to lift restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba will be introduced in
Washington this week as a step toward ending trade sanctions, eight visiting
U.S. members of Congress said here on Monday. "Our top priority this year
will be to end the travel ban. We need to tear down the wall that we have
built that separates Americans from Cuba," said a statement from the largest
single delegation of U.S. lawmakers to visit communist Cuba since the 1959
revolution… Rep. Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, said legislation
lifting restrictions on Americans' travel to Cuba will be introduced in the
House of Representatives this week. He said that 25 Republicans and 25
Democratic were sponsoring it. A similar measure passed the House last year
but was not taken up by the Senate."
Cycle trip to 'forbidden' Cuba costs pensioner £5,000 penalty 3/9/2003 Telegraph,
UK: "Joan Slote would be a remarkable American even if she were not facing a
fine of almost £5,000 for visiting Cuba and returning with gifts worth £8.50
for her grandchildren. A medal-winner in the 1993 Senior Olympics,
74-year-old Mrs Slote, from San Diego, California, is fitter than most women
half her age and sees the world as one vast cycle track."
Cuban-style B & Bs 3/5/2003 Toronto Globe & Mail: "Not long ago,
chain-link fences separated tourists from Cuban society. Now, Cuba's system
of casas particulares,private homes that offer affordable and reliable
overnight accommodations and meals, are making real Cuban life accessible to
travellers. Costing $15 to $35 (all amounts in U.S. dollars) a room per
night, casas particulares aren't just the choice of the budget-minded.
Professionals from Canada, the United States and Europe have learned that in
terms of service, food and cleanliness, casas are superior to state-run
hotels and a friendly alternative to all-inclusive resorts."
Travel firms hurt by U.S. clampdown on Cuba 3/1/2003 Globe & Mail,
Toronto: "Despite the widespread expectation that the ban would be relaxed,
the government of President George W. Bush has done just the opposite,
increasing the numbers of those sanctioned by 400 per cent over the past
three years with fines that can run to $50,000. "The attitude is completely
shifted. People are really frightened," said Marcel Hatch, who runs the
Vancouver-based Cuba Education Tours."
Georgians to head to Cuba 2/28/2003 Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "A
year after former President Carter's historic tour of Cuba, the Georgians on
this trip, too, will mark a couple of firsts. They will form what is
believed to be the largest statewide delegation representing a wide spectrum
of fields -- education, health, agriculture, urban planning and Afro-Cuban
traditions -- to visit Cuba. It will also be first time that a Delta jet
will leave Atlanta with the Cuban capital as its final destination… About
176,000 people visited Cuba in 2002, although 25,000 went through third
countries without authorization, said John S. Kavulich II, president of the
U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. Ninety percent were people of Cuban
descent who wanted to visit relatives."
US fines veteran cyclist £5,000 for taking holiday in Cuba 2/26/2003 Guardian,
UK: but Americans have to read about it in a UK paper! "The numbers of
American visitors sought for breaking the embargo has quadrupled since the
Bush administration took office. The treasury department now warns that
those who visit without permission may face fines of up to $55,000. The
moves come despite a growing campaign in the US among farmers, entrepreneurs
and politicians, many of them Republicans, to end the embargo… Around 19,000
travel licences were granted in 2001 but there is no record of how many
Americans entered without notifying the government. The treasury is
investigating 697 people for breaking the embargo in 2001, compared with 188
the previous year." Other sources estimate total US visitors to Cuba at
160,000, divided mostly between non-license visitors (100,000) and Cuban
Americans who travel under a general license and are not counted among the
19,000 mentioned in the article, which are likely those with a specific
ETECSA, Cuba´s national telecom company, chooses Cuba Travel Network to
provide internet bookings for it´s portal www.cubasi.com 2/24/2003 PR
Web: "Agreement signed and implemented to provide hotel internet booking
technology for the portal www.cubasi.com owned by ETECSA, Cuba´s national
U.S. Senator Criticizes U.S. Cuba Policy 2/22/2003 AP: "North Dakota
Sen. Kent Conrad criticized Cuba's centralized economy and one-party rule
Saturday and argued that ending U.S. travel and trade restrictions would
bring positive change to Cuba. ``I am leaving with a strong feeling that
this is an economic system that is not working as well as it should,'' the
Democrat told an afternoon news conference. ``It falls short.'' …Dropping
restrictions on American travel to Cuba ``is more likely to bring about
political changes in this country than our current embargo policy.''
Why Americans Can't Travel to Cuba 2/21/2003 CounterPunch: "Think about
THAT. You can send $1200 to a Cuban in the island, but you cannot spend
$1200 staying in a hotel and consuming food. Perhaps Americans could travel
to Cuba and be fully hosted, stay at the best of hotels, without having to
pay. All you need to do is to begin those remittances [to finance fully
hosted trips - layaway!]. Why the contradiction? Simple. The US government,
in the final analysis, is not opposed to people sending up to $1200 to the
island; what they do not want is for Americans TO SEE the place!" Layway
plans for travel to Cuba, anyone?
What's next for
US-Cuba policy? 8/8/2002 LA Working Group: "Following very strong votes
in the House of Representatives calling for reform to US policy towards
Cuba, the next few months will prove whether the will of Congress will this
year become law. In July, the House voted in favor of amendments to the
Treasury/Postal appropriations bill which would lift the travel ban to Cuba,
as well as lifting restrictions on financing for food and medicine sales,
and lifting restrictions on remittances that can be sent to Cuban relatives.
In addition, the House rejected an amendment by Porter Goss (R-FL) which
would have eliminated the travel provision until the President had certified
that Cuba was not producing bioweapons and not supporting international
It's Republican vs. Republican on Cuba 7/27/2002 NYT: "In a fierce
political family feud, President Bush's senior adviser, Karl Rove, has been
pressuring Republican lawmakers from farm states not to ease restrictions on
travel to Cuba. Mr. Rove had a confrontational meeting with the lawmakers on
July 10, and their accounts about it provided a rare and telling glimpse
into the hardball lobbying of one of the most powerful White House advisers.
Some lawmakers said they were surprised by the ferocity of Mr. Rove's
arguments and his intense focus on the issue during the sessions."
House votes to lift ban on Cuba travel 7/26/2002 Boston Globe: "In an
unexpectedly lopsided and bipartisan 262-167 vote, the House approved an
amendment by Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, to prohibit
funds from being used to enforce the travel ban, effectively lifting it."
Cuban Travelers Find Fines 7/4/2002 Shepherd Express, Milwaukee,
WI: "It's been more than three years since members from Milwaukee's Central
United Methodist Church traveled to Cuba to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of their sister church, La Trinidad, in Havana. And while the
group has had their bags unpacked and film developed for quite some time,
the federal government just recently issued three of the travelers fines
totaling $20,000 for their illegal trip… The recent anti-travel onslaught
can easily be found by looking at the numbers, church members and supporters
say. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the government tried to fine
only 188 people for traveling to Cuba during President Clinton's last year
in office in 2000. After Bush was elected, he called for an "excessive
crackdown" on travel to the home of Caribbean music and fine cigars, which
resulted in 766 fine notices being issued. Furthermore, the U.S. Treasury
Department estimates that more than 200,000 U.S. nationals legally visit
Cuba annually. It also figures some 60,000 people did so in defiance of U.S.
restrictions last year."
New Study Says Travel To Cuba Benefits U.S. Economy 6/25/2002 CNS
News: "The study, released Tuesday by the Cuba Policy Foundation, an
anti-embargo group, found that 3,800 American jobs could be created in the
first year after the embargo would be lifted. Within five years, 13,000 jobs
could be had, along with over $1 billion in income, the study says. "The ban
on travel to Cuba is hurting the U.S. economy," said former Ambassador Sally
Cowal, president of the Cuba Policy Foundation. "Ending restrictions on
travel to Cuba and allowing U.S. carriers and tour operators to provide
services for American travelers would provide a much needed source of growth
to the U.S. travel sector, particularly the troubled airline industry."
Protect The Right to Travel Freely 6/9/2002 ACLU: their page on Cuba
House Group: Ease Cuban Sanctions 5/15/2002 AP: "To undermine Fidel
Castro, the United States must ease its four-decade-long embargo on Cuba,
facilitate sales of U.S. agricultural goods and allow U.S. travel to the
island, a bipartisan group of 40 members of the House contends."
Mainers consider journey to Cuba successful 4/23/2002 Bangor Daily
News: "Wilensky said she initially felt “conflicted” about whether to
continue with the trip. But after getting “positive feedback” from U.S. Rep.
John Baldacci’s office Friday night, she said, she decided to carry on.
Baldacci spokesman Doug Dunbar said Monday that the office had acted as a
go-between, “dealing back and forth” with the prospective travelers and the
Office of Foreign Assets Control."
Trial opens for Canadian accused of trade with Cuba 3/12/2002 Miami
Herald: US government arrogance knows no limits: "Sabzali's defense is based
precisely on the fact that when he was traveling and carrying out trade
transactions with Cuba, he was a resident of Canada, where complying with
the Trading with the Enemy Act is strictly prohibited." He was selling Cuba
water purification supplies, needed to combat the rise in parasitical
Washington triples fines for traveling to Cuba 2/26/2002 Granma: "What
even ‘El Nuevo Herald,’ voice of Miami’s Cuban American National Foundation,
called an avalanche of U.S. visitors to the island, has provoked an
hysterical but impotent campaign to prevent it… In his speech to the
subcommittee during the hearing, Senator Dorgan explained that the Office of
Foreign Assets Control of the Department of Treasury (OFAC) focuses on,
among other things, the pursuit of worldwide financing for terrorism. The
government proposes increasing the budget by $2 million USD in 2003, he
added, and the reason for the hearing is to evaluate what has been happening
with respect to the use of the OFAC funds for the persecution of U.S.
citizens who travel to Cuba."
Despite a ban, some Americans sun in Cuba 1/14/2002 Corpus Christi
Caller Times: "Roberto de Armas, an official in the U.S. section of the
Cuban Foreign Ministry, said that last year, 140,000 Cuban-Americans visited
Cuba legally, along with 78,000 other U.S. citizens, some legal and some
Denial of Cuba visit criticized 1/9/2002 Miami Herald: "In denying a
leading U.S. agribusiness group the right to travel to Cuba, the Treasury
Department has touched off complaints that it has no fixed guidelines on who
should be allowed to visit the island."
Treasury Department could investigate Tyson's trip to Cuba 1/3/2002 EFE: "As
soon as it was learned that Tyson had gone to Cuba to spend the year-end
holidays, Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Rep.-FL) and the Cuban American
National Foundation (CANF) demanded a Treasury Department investigation into
the trip." OF course their relatives go down all the time as Cuban Americans
exempt from the travel ban! The Miami Mafia has banned Americans from their
None accused of Cuba travel able to get hearing 12/17/2001 Boston
Globe: "Nine years after Congress granted the right to civil hearings for
anyone accused of violating the Cuba travel ban, no judges have been hired
and no hearings have been held. As of September, 357 cases were pending,
some of which date to 1995, said a congressional aide, who provided the
figure on condition of anonymity. Piano tuner Ben Treuhaft of New York City,
for example, has waited for his day in court since being accused in 1996 of
illegally traveling to the communist island...Most of those awaiting
hearings are not complaining about the delay. People who negotiated
settlements have paid fines averaging $7,500, while Treuhaft and others have
not paid a cent."
Cuba travel restrictions 8/12/2001 In Motion