(this is my first post so dont be too hard on me)
One of my dreams is to visit Cuba. Since I am a salsafan,
it probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
I just read about this off the net and couldn’t believe it:
US government is fining americans for going to Cuba?
Obviously U.S. citizens can only legally travel to Cuba now by obtaining a special license from the Treasury Department. That again limits access generally to journalists, academics, government officials and people on humanitarian missions.
So the relationships between these two countries haven’t been the friendliest. But come on…
That’s not even the worst of it. Since the Helms-Burton bill was passed into law as the “Cuban Liberty and Solidarity Act”, American citizens can sue “foreign users (‘traffickers’) of property worth more than $50,000 confiscated by the Cuban government since 1 January 1959.” The aim of this law is to prevent trade partnerships and joint ventures with Cuba.
Imagine if I brought a civil case before the American courts, against the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, which has offices on land which was owned by my family before the American revolution. (Being loyal servants of the king, they packed up what they could carry and fled to Newfoundland, intending to wait until the rabble was put down and order was restored. We’re still waiting. )
Now, imagine that, being naturally resentful of losing our land, we refused to recognize the legitimacy of the American government, even though the rest of the world does. Imagine that we sue companies in Europe and Asia who are so insensitive to our position that they have the gall to actually engage in trade with the United States. (Shame on them!)
I suspect that people would probably ridicule us behind our backs, sort of the way everyone outside the U.S. laughs up their sleeves at American foreign policy regarding Cuba.
I think you’ll find that Americans wanting to go to Cuba will usually take a trip to Canada and leave from there. I met a few Merkins there who figured they had avoided any repercussions that way. And watch how lightly customs stamps american passports there so as to only make a tiny mark. Dollars are the currency to bring for just about everything.
Although why you would want to leave your beautiful charming city is beyond me tiegra. I lived in Helsinki for a while and every chance I got I would fly over to Tallinn. An incredibly beautiful place with such wonderful people.
last time was nearly a year ago but I have been there many many times and even took a few days down in Tartuu once and I think I’ve even been in that bar that you mentioned in the “embarrasing” thread , it had low ceilings and recessed wooden booths and was just off that uphill street to em…that white building …is it city hall or a church …with the red spire…it wasnt the orthodox church ?..dammit I’m all confused.
I’ll be back as soon as I can to sort out my mental map.
Have a good time in Cuba.
I have been to Cuba and I can tell you it is full of Americans spending their dollars. Cuba pretty much is dollarized and the Cuban government mints their own dollar-denominated coins (nickles, dimes and quarters).
Yes the music is there and the beaches and some other things of interest. Other than that it is one of the most depressing places I have ever been to.
>> Familiar with the term “civil rights?”
Traveling to Cuba is a “civil right”?
>> I am so happy I am european!
This is the best reason you can find? I would rather be able to buy a loaf of bread on a Sunday which you cannot do in many European countries. Haven’t they ever heard of civil rights? I guess they just travel to Cuba and get it there…
You can also travel through Cuba via Mexico or Dominican Republic. It probably would be easier if you find a group of people planning to do that (like a group of salsa fans or some humanitarian aid who are going to Cuba)
On the other hand, if you just want to go for the salsa, why don’t check out Puerto Rico? And I mean go further than the plastic, materialistic, untypical PR tours and places. There are salsa conventions and festivals.
thats where it is.
in the upper town
I’m surprised you remember that place.
I thought travelling in general was a civil right.
People have the right to go where they want to go.
Or is it not that way in US?
And about your fresh loaf of bread:
over here we can get it pretty much anytime we want.
For a very low price BTW.
Maybe you just went into the wrong stores.
I would go to Cuba and most certainly keep away from Varadero and Havana. I am not interested in the tourist nightlife. All that I want to do is to educate myself a bit more in where all this music started from. I want to get
to know the background. You might read as many books as you can but travelling to the original country is what will give you the missing link. It will teach you things one can’t read from a book.
I do know about the conventions, I would love to go at one point but as for now I want to experience Cuba.
So it is depressive, fine with me. So Fidel is in power- hey, I am sure if that changes Cuba will eventually be transformed into another Mexico filled with tourists. I do not want to go to another country to do exactly what I could do here.
All I want is to experience the country in its authencity.
I think this is the reason for travelling in the first place. Stay home, watch TV with your fresh bread if you are not ready for what comes with it.
While this is true, it remains illegal to enter Cuba (purchase an entry visa) without permission from the OFAC.
When one returns to a U.S. border crossing one may be stopped, questioned, and fined (even if traveling through a third country) unless one has a license (general or specific) from the Treasury Department.
One can go there if fully hosted, but the U.S. has begun cracking down on such practices. The government assumes that such travelers are breaking the law (spending their own money), so it is rests upon the U.S. traveler to prove that they were fully hosted (furnish receipts etc.).
I believe that in general, when people travel between “unfriendly nations”, they either get a duplicate passport or some other way of collecting the visa stamps. I’m not sure of the exact procedure, but I’m sure many Americans who go to Cuba would rather have no stamped evidence on their main passport that they were ever there.
Apparently, its quite common to be hassled in any primarily Islamic countries if you have Israeli visa stamps, and vice-versa, so its common practice to keep them in seperate locations.
They can indeed detain you as a tactic to gain your cooperation. A U.S. Citizen does not need to answer any but a very small list of questions. This doesn’t stop them from asking them though.
There are reports of folks who did not get their passport stamped but Cuba will likely stamp U.S. passports (even if the U.S. Traveller requests they not). The stamp is non-descript (it doesn’t say CUBA in any way) but U.S. Immigration/Customs knows what it looks like.
>> I thought travelling in general was a civil right.
>> People have the right to go where they want to go.
>> Or is it not that way in US?
Sorry to disappoint you but I do not believe traveling to Cuba is considered a civil right in the US any more than it is in Europe. Furthermore, as has been pointed out, the law restricts the spending of money, not travel per se. Europe also has such restrictions with other countries even if they are not enforced at the level of the individual tourist. I have not seen many tourist packages advertised in Europe which would take tourists to Iraq and it may well be that it is because transfer of money to Iraq is subject to certain controls.
>> And about your fresh loaf of bread:
>> over here we can get it pretty much anytime we want.
>> For a very low price BTW.
>> Maybe you just went into the wrong stores
I have seen in several countries in Europe some very restrictive laws regarding shopping hours. Maybe they do not apply where you live but they are quite common. I do not want to hijack the thread on this but the stupidity of those laws is beyond my comprehension. Someone wants to sell me a loaf of bread, I want to buy his loaf of bread, no can do because the government has decreed today is not a good day to be buying and selling loaves of bread. Hmmm… Ok… whatever. What ever happened to the “consenting adults” theory?
My point is that governments can and do legislate all the time how and when you can spend your money.
>> All I want is to experience the country in its authencity.
>> I think this is the reason for travelling in the first place.
>> Stay home, watch TV with your fresh bread if you are
>> not ready for what comes with it.
Well, I have travelled quite a bit, probably more than you have (including Cuba), and I was quite ready for “what comes with it”. No problem there.
>> There are reports of folks who did not get their passport stamped but Cuba will likely stamp U.S. passports (even if the U.S. Traveller requests they not). The stamp is non-descript (it doesn’t say CUBA in any way) but U.S. Immigration/Customs knows what it looks like.
CheapBastid, when I was there they did not stamp any passports unless you requested it with great intensity and the stamp did indeed say Cuba. They know Americans do not want their passports stamped and they want the dollars such Americans bring. Can you please tell us where you get the information?
I’m an American who went to Cuba for a month in the summer of 2000. Flew through Cancun and easily got tickets/visas (on rickety Cubana Airlines) with a Mexican travel agent.
Did get a little non-descript stamp in my passport but walked through Houston customs upon my return. No problem. Supposedly the only people who get fined are businessmen doing black market business (cigars, perhaps?) or the like. They don’t really care about tourists spending their dollars.
Hardest part was not being able to use traveller’s checks/ATM/credit cards. It’s not always comforting to be carrying $2000 in cash on your person. Let’s just say my shoes were worth at least $800 by themselves.
teigra, yes, Veradero is a big no-no, but Havana can be refreshingly non-touristy if you try. Of course, that usually involves staying away from the jiniteros (Spanish for “jockey” cause the touts/guides/con men will ride you for as long as you let them)…