US to Cuba Travel NewsHelp 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 of terrorism."
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 Cuba Libres."
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 casa."
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 impeached."
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.”
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-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.”"
Three takeaways from Jay-Z and Beyoncé's Cuba trip 4/11/2013 WBEZ: By: Achy Obejas
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 Cuba."
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 views again.
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 pasajes aéreos."
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 legislative session."
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 renewal)"
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 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."
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
Cuba 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."
US Congressman 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."
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."
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."
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."
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 Tulane students."
Obama to ease travel restrictions to Cuba, allow more U.S. cash to island 1/14/2011 Miami Herald
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 government."
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 refugees."
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
Cuba travel boom - after long wait 5/7/2009 NY Daily News
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."
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 Herald
Expertos en Miami exhortan a levantar todas las restricciones de viajes 3/21/2009 Cuba Encuentro
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 in Cuba."
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 embargo."
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."
President Obama Can Enable All Non-tourist Travel 11/14/2008 Fund for Reconciliation and Development
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."
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."
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."
Cuban 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 Canadian airlines."
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 Cuba."
Americans 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 on Travel
Two top 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 and bacon.""
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 Herald
Solidarity movement asserts right to visit Cuba 3/16/2005 Worker's World
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 children."
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 Lipmann
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
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 cases."
Ramapo College sending students to Cuba for arts study 3/30/2004 Jersey Journal
Visitor to Cuba will pay fine 3/11/2004 Lawrence Journal-World, KS
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."
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 refugees."
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
U.S. lists Montreal-based Caribe Sol in its Cuba-linked ban 2/10/2004 Montreal Gazette
Tuner strikes 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."
Cuba expects to welcome 2 million foreign tourists 2/10/2004 VNA, Viet Nam
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 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," she said."
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 USA Today
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
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 the deals.
Travel to Cuba plan disappears; Baucus, Enzi unhappy 11/14/2003 Billings Gazette, MT
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."
Cuba critical of US bid to block bilateral relations normalisation 11/14/2003 Viet Nam News Agency
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.
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," he said."
Visitors to Cuba face U.S. discipline 11/9/2003 Knight Ridder
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 threat."
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.]
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 assassination.
Two More 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 much alive."
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 Forum
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.
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 civil rights."
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!
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."
Despite veto threat, House moves to ease sanctions on Cuba 9/10/2003 AP
Amendment to preserve Cuba exchanges passes House 9/10/2003 Business Journal, Tampa: "U.S. Rep Jim Davis, D-Fla., sponsored the amendment, House resolution 2989."
House Votes to End Cuba Travel Restriction 9/10/2003 Latin America Working Group
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
Urgent 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 on 3/24/03
USCSCA: CALL 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 address."
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 with Cuba."
New rules make travel to Cuba harder for most Americans 4/27/2003 Beacon Journal, OH
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 Herald
Treasury releases list of companies trading with opposition 4/16/2003 Scripps Howard
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 license.
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 telecom company."
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 terrorists."
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 travel.
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 infections.
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 not."
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 country!
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
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