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#1 mlfoto

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:00 AM

U.S. citizens should be aware of travel restrictions to Cuba. Canadians don't have to worry.
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#2 dawnb

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 12:05 PM

Enjoyed your blog and pics!

How was the snorkeling in comparison to Cozumel?
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#3 mlfoto

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 03:43 PM

We did a dive and some snorkeling. Clear water, different coral, lots of fish. Our snorkeling was done from shore, so not really on the reef. We snorkeled around pilings from a destroyed pier. We enjoyed it.
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#4 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 08:32 PM

Those of us that go to Cuba are well aware of the restrictions...we just do not care! They do not stamp passports, they stamp the paper travel card. Also since I do not return to the States after my visits and I live here, it concerns me even less. I refuse to be told where I can and can not travel.
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#5 MarkC

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:25 PM

Again, I hope those of you traveling to cuba are caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

it's people like you that make the lives of those of us who's families come from there much more difficult.

Funding la revolucion is NOT COOL.
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#6 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 05:23 PM

http://www.righttotr...ing/ten_reasons

Ten Reasons to Oppose the Cuba Travel Ban
1. U.S. citizens have a constitutional right to travel
The outdated, counterproductive U.S. embargo against Cuba should not be used by the government as an excuse to violate our rights. We believe that communication and dialogue across borders is a positive, non-violent way of resolving differences among nations. If the U.S. and Cuban governments do not talk to each other, then we -- the citizens -- must lead the way.

2. The travel ban violates our right to travel
In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled that we do indeed have the right to travel under the Fifth Amendment. Civil liberties groups also argue that travel is a First Amendment right because, to fully exercise our right of free speech, especially regarding foreign policy, we must have the right to travel and form firsthand opinions. Yet in 1984, the Supreme Court ruled by a narrow 5-4 decision that the President did have the right to curtail the right to travel for national security reasons. We believe this is an unjust interpretation of the Constitution.

3. Congress has voted repeatedly to ease restrictions on travel and trade.
In 2000, Congress passed legislation permitting agricultural sales to Cuba. In 2003, the Senate voted to stop enforcing the ban on travel to Cuba; the House of Representatives has voted four times since 2000 to stop enforcing the ban. Majorities in the Congress are clearly in favor of changing our policy.

4. The travel ban is outdated
The travel restrictions were first imposed in 1961, lifted under the Carter administration in 1977, and then re-imposed under President Reagan in 1982. President Clinton further tightened them in 1994, "relaxed" them in 1995, and tightened them again following the passage of the Helms-Burton legislation in 1996. Clinton relaxed them again in early 1999, claiming a desire on the Administration's part to build "people to people" ties between the U.S. and Cuba. The Bush administration continues to tighten restrictions according to political whim, based on an outdated and ineffective foreign policy.

5. Cuba is not a national security threat
In regards to the Supreme Court’s ruling in 1984 about restricting travel for national security reasons, the world has changed tremendously since 1984. At that time, the U.S. accused Cuba of being an ally of the U.S.S.R. and supporting armed revolution in Central America and Africa. Now the Soviet Union no longer exists and there is no Cuban involvement in armed struggle in Central American or Africa. It would be ludicrous to say that Cuba, a tiny island of under 11 million people undergoing a severe economic crisis is in any way a threat to the United States. The only foreign military base in Cuba is the U.S. base at Guantanamo! According to a Center for Defense Information study, Cuba spends in a year on its military what the U.S. spends in 12 hours.

6. The U.S. is alone in its Cuba travel ban
Hundreds of thousands of Canadians, Latin Americans and Europeans travel to Cuba every year in just as normal a fashion as U.S. citizens vacation in the Bahamas. Cuba now has cordial diplomatic relations with almost every country in the world. The U.S. embargo against Cuba has been overwhelmingly condemned by the United Nations General Assembly year after year. The only other country to vote with the U.S. was Israel, which currently operates the largest citrus plantation in the world in Cuba -- a clear example of the contradictions between Israel’s political and economic policy.

7. The U.S. does not ban travel to any other communist or so-called ‘enemy’ nations
We can travel freely to the world's largest communist country -- China. Restrictions on travel to Vietnam have been lifted, and we can even go to the Middle East. Perhaps most ironic is the fact that, in the past, we were not allowed to travel to Cuba because, as a Soviet ally, it was considered a national security threat. Yet even at the height of the Cold War, we were always allowed to travel to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe!

8. The travel ban is ineffective
As Republican Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming has eloquently stated, “Why are we supporting a policy that has had little effect on the government we oppose? Why don’t we improve our policy so that it will improve conditions for the Cuban people and their image of the United States?”

9. Enforcing the travel ban wastes money
The US Treasury Department currently spends tax-payer dollars to prosecute tourists to Cuba instead of using the money for education, health care, social services, or the war on terrorism.

10. Travel is the first step in improving US-Cuba relations
Travel restrictions prevent exchange and understanding with our Cuban neighbors. Increased contact between US and Cuban citizens would help dispel stereotypes and promote mutual understanding, trade and cooperation.



George P. Shultz, who served as Secretary of State under Reagan, has gone as far as to call the continued embargo "insane".[34] Daniel Griswold, director of the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, criticized the current policy in June 2009 by stating:

"The embargo has been a failure by every measure. It has not changed the course or nature of the Cuban government. It has not liberated a single Cuban citizen. In fact, the embargo has made the Cuban people a bit more impoverished, without making them one bit more free. At the same time, it has deprived Americans of their freedom to travel and has cost US farmers and other producers billions of dollars of potential exports." [35]
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#7 dawnb

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:39 PM

This is fascinating. Thanks so much for the info!
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#8 cvchief

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:22 PM

I would love to visit Cuba, but I don't think I could bring myself to break the law, but that just me.


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#9 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:57 PM

Actually the visit does not break the law. It is the spending of money in Cuba that breaks the embargo. US Citizens are the only ones in the world that this is imposed upon.
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#10 CZMDM

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:09 AM

So apparently your are saying that if you disagree with a Federal law it is ok to break it, because it violates your percieved rights? You may never get busted, but I would love to see you argue that idea in front of a Federal judge.

Penalties for Traveling to Cuba
Marcello Viridis
Marcello Viridis has been "working in writing" for the past six years. Since publishing his first article in 2004, he has written on a range topics from working and living overseas for the Wall Street Journal's Black Collegian website to legal essays for the Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. Viridis has a B.A. from Pomona College and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School. By Marcello Viridis, eHow Contributor updated: September 29, 2010



Travel to Cuba is allowed if you have the right license:

According to the U.S. Department of State, most Americans are eligible to travel to Cuba if they first obtain a travel related license from the Department of The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Licenses allow travel but require that any money you spend on the trip is strictly travel-related and does not present a financial benefit to Cuba in opposition to the trade embargo currently in place, as of 2010. A general license, for example, allows you to travel to Cuba if you have relatives in there or you are a journalist whose travel is related to your work. Travel to Cuba without a license, however, could result in jail, fines or both.

Penalties for Illegal Entry By Air:

In 1996, the Federal Aviation Administration prohibited civil flight into Cuban airspace without prior authorization. Failure to obey the FAA's prohibition can result in lose of pilot's license, seizure of the airplane and fines. Moreover, if your pilot's license has already been revoked or you are flying without a license, the penalty for entry into Cuban airspace without authorization may include up to three years confinement in a federal prison.


Penalties for Entry Via Pre-Paid Vacation:


Travel into Cuba via a vacation package paid for in a country other than the United States is illegal. For example, if you book and pay for a cruise in Mexico that includes a day of hiking in Cuba, you will be in violation of U.S. prohibitions against entry into Cuba without first obtaining a license. Penalties include fines up to $100,000 and up to 10 years in federal prison. Additionally, any property you obtain while in Cuba can be forfeited to the U.S. government.


Penalties for Willful Violation of Travel Restrictions:

Under U.S. Code, the law allows for increased penalties if you are convicted of willfully circumventing travel restrictions or willfully neglecting to renew a duly issued license for travel to Cuba. Increased penalties not only impose the standard fine of up to $100,000 and a maximum prison term of 10 years, but also, at the discretion of the Secretary of Treasury, you could also be subject to a civil penalty of $55,000 and a criminal penalty of an additional fine of up to $250,000.
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#11 cvchief

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 08:12 AM

Yea, but I could hardly go without buying a rum drink and a cigar could I? And I know we are the only ones, but as I don't plan on changing my citizenship, I, personally, try to follow the rules. That being said, I would happily sit at WW or someplace and listen to your stories about it. I am sure it is facinating. I did buy a cuban cigar once, but I am SURE it was a fake as it was cheap, so I figured that was ok......
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#12 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 09:06 AM

Mike, In general I am not saying it is OK. It is a personal decision to make. I know for a fact that many "U.S. Citizens" on this island have made that same choice, especially now with the cruiseship that leaves from Cozumel. There is a group that goes every year from the USA and they intentionally inform immigration on thier return. They are basically ASKING to be charged in order to fight it. They have yet to be charged. As I said, it is a personal decision.
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#13 CZMDM

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 09:15 AM

Well I certainly agree that nobody has the right to tell me where I can go or not, just like motorcycle helmet laws, seat belt laws, etc.. Just wouldn't want anybody to get caught. There are a lot of people willing to turn others in for almost anything here.
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#14 MarkC

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:11 AM

You can post all the liberal media garbage about why the embargo should be lifted, but the fact is, none of you would truly understand the absolute DISGRACE Castro brought upon Cubans.

When you have family members you’ve never met due to them being held in a country against their will... When you had to wait 3-4 weeks for a phone call back in the 70s knowing each call was being listened to and cut off the minute the communists did not like something you said... When you had to pay companies gouged rates to get a package to your family there... When your parent risked imprisonment smuggling dollars in to be able to buy the family BASIC supplies and FOOD... When you have family members held at la cabaña slated for execution, then later imprisoned and tortured... When family members were held as a political prisoner for 5 years in conditions that were identical to a concentration camp...

Until you fully understand this 1st hand, you do not understand it at all...

The Cubans have gone backwards for the last 50 years... They went from semi-modern farm equipment back to pulling plows with ox... They have tractor engines powering cars from the 1950s. On a good day, they sometimes have a glass of water with some sugar in it for breakfast... I have been told by family there that cats, dogs and other animals turn up missing, I wonder why... The only ones that advance in Cuba are the prostitutes, and the sellers of “used (stolen) auto parts”....

Castro makes himself a millionaire over and over and over again... How? He makes the dollar illegal, and requires the cuban people to exchage those dollars for Cuban currency... Nice...

Observe and respect the embargo? That’s the least of what Americans should do for Cuba, especially after the worst president in the United States ever elected to office did to them by pussing out prior to the Bay of Pigs. Yes, I am saying JFK was the worst president we've ever had and was a complete spineless puss!

Once again at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I hope anyone traveling to Cuba illegally is caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Stay out of Cuba! It’s the law and should remain that way until it’s a free country!

Getting off my soapbox now...
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#15 cvchief

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:25 AM

Mark, sometimes I have problems deciding what you really think.....
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#16 MarkC

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:34 AM

LOL - if this was facebook, i think i would click on "like," cvchief...
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#17 cozdaddy

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 11:18 AM

MarkC when you say that you hope that all US Citizens if caught traveling to Cuba should be prosucuted to the fullest extent of the law I'm, assuming you mean former cabinet members of former US presidents correct.

Because my wife and I traveled to Cuba a number of years ago and we were in Old Town in a park when I spotted a guy that looked like someone I went to high school with , well when I approached him and said he looked familiar he replied very seriouslly "you do not know me." When I told him again that I thought I knew him in a a more serious and threatening tone he told me "you do not know me." while I have him on video tape and it turned out the guy I was talking with was John Sununu does that name ring a bell he was a former GOP congressman from New Hampsire I believe and also a former Chief of Staff for Ronald Regan former President of these here United States. So when he's Prosecuted I'll buy your argument and I know he wasn't there on Offical US business because Regan was no longer President. And while I agree with yo that Castro was a very bad person for what he did to Cuba. Cuban ex-pats send so much money to that country that their whole economy fuctions on US dollars. Not only that but the US sends so much money to African Countries that are run by a bunch of despots that bleed their countries dry and do nothing for their people. There people that are so much worse than Castro, Robert Mugabe comes to mind and we've his counry millions so he can be come a wealthy man. We can't have two sets of laws one for the important people and one for people like you and me.
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Breath in Breath out move on

#18 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 11:41 AM

CozDaddy...I am pressing the LIKE button on you!!!!
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#19 MarkC

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 12:38 PM

I agree with you that one set of rules should apply, but you have yet to prove there are more than one.

I think if the man you refer to is the same John Sununu, he served at Bush’s Chief of Staff. If that is who you refer to, then you should have known that he is Cuban by birth. And that being said, he gets to play by a different set of rules than you or I as American born. Cuban born immigrants in the USA fall outside of the rules of the embargo and are allowed to travel to Cuba to visit and care for family. It takes over a year to get such a trip approved by both the US and Cuban governments – visas, passports, letters, etc.. it’s expensive and a real b*tch to get it together! I am sure Sununu pulled some strings to get his paperwork ahead of the common man, but he did not need to travel illegally to get there, thas for sure.

I would love to visit my family there, and could have traveled to Cuba illegally from CZ or Grand Cayman, but the truth of the matter is that this family has suffered too much at the hands of Castro and Communism.

Just want you to understand that the reason he said “you do not know me” was to protect his identity, and to maintain his safety and his freedom… That was a very very wise move on his part – I would have done the same thing too. In Cuba, if you so much as hint of anything that can be taken to be against the government, kiss your freedom bye-bye, when one of the who knows how many snitches located on every corner rats you out.

Now, are there worse men on earth than Castro? Yes, but not many. I would think Hitler comes to mind… However, Castro, Che Guevara and Raul rank up there as being as bad as any of the dictators of other 3rd world countries that the USA has decided to over throw in it’s pursuit of cheaper oil, the only difference is that Cuba does not have the oil we need.

MC
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#20 cvchief

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:00 PM

Facinating. Did not know that about Sununu. As for cheap oil, I wish that had been the case. At least that doesnt seem to have come true......
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