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Old 18-11-2014, 06:39   #16
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Re: Cuba Revisited

Did a little searching for actual cases. There are not many so your odds are good if you are cautious, but they do happen. Many do visit without issues (when I was there in 2001, Marina Hemmingway was full of USA flagged boats, but the legal situation has changed). A few related links below. Some are dated, but do reference cases or related info.

The OFAC is the official source for relevant policy and enforcement:

http://www.treasury.gov/resource-cen...ages/cuba.aspx

Related articles:

http://travel.usatoday.com/destinati...-trip/812249/1

http://www.ibike.org/cuba/ofac/cuba-harassment.htm

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/20704879/n...aw-visit-cuba/
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Old 18-11-2014, 06:59   #17
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Re: Cuba Revisited

I know a guy who in the late 90s went with his buddies to Cuba via flight from Montreal. He drove to Montreal from NY and left the car there. This was in the winter of course. So coming back from Montreal after a week in Cuba he went as usual through one of the border check points. The CBP guy obviously noticed his fresh tan, asked him where he was all that week and subsequently searched his car and luggage. In his trunk was a bottle of rum with AMEX receipt for $7.50 in US dollars from a Cuban store for foreigners and a box of cigars. Interestingly enough they did not charge him with anything related to the cigars (btw I saw the charging notice sent to him about a month after the incident) but for that bottle of rum they wanted $7,500 fine which his attorney after a meeting with whoever was in charge there knocked down to $750 "recovery of costs incurred by the gov't" or some such language I don't recall now exactly. That way on record the guy was never fined but "reimbursed the gov't for some costs incurred, blah-blah". Also if I recall correctly that charge was technically from US Treasury and not from CBP.
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Old 18-11-2014, 07:08   #18
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Re: Cuba Revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Did a little searching for actual cases. There are not many so your odds are good if you are cautious, but they do happen. Many do visit without issues (when I was there in 2001, Marina Hemmingway was full of USA flagged boats, but the legal situation has changed). A few related links below. Some are dated, but do reference cases or related info.

The OFAC is the official source for relevant policy and enforcement:

Cuba Sanctions

Related articles:

U.S. tourist ordered to pay $6,500 fine for illegal Cuba trip - USATODAY.com

Harassment of US Citizens by the Office of Foreign Asset Control

Americans break the law to visit Cuba - Travel - Destination Travel - Tropical getaways | NBC News
Very few people fight it all the way through courts so most cases don't make it to court records, etc. Most are quietly either paid up or plea bargained down to a lesser charge moneywise. Since this is US Treasury charge (think of IRS on steroids) very few can have the guts or the $$ to fight them especially when the evidence is so cut and dry. But since they mostl likely to demand a higher amount in fines they usually come down to more resonable amount based upon each person's particular circumstances. But I'm sure for someone who has a $500K yacht they will not entertain the same deal as for some college kid dumb enough to keep the cc receipt. Or it'll cost $5-10K in attorney fees to get the thing cleared altogether. Either way the gov't will be happy that their goal of scaring people from visiting Cuba will be accomplished.
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Old 18-11-2014, 08:03   #19
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Re: Cuba Revisited

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
No, this is wrong. It is not just about spending money. It is illegal for a U.S. citizen to go to Cuba without the permission of the State Department. Whether or not you spend money is completely irrelevant. That used to be the case, but it was changed a very long time ago.

Once again, this is just completely wrong, despite the fact that it keeps getting repeated over and over.
All I know is what I read here and elsewhere and that is it's illegal to engage in financial trasactions. Buying an orange over there would be a transaction.
There's this from the Treasury Depertment:
http://www.treasury.gov/resource-cen...ments/cuba.txt
Unless authorized by a general or specific license, any person subject to U.S.
jurisdiction who engages in any Cuba travel-related transaction violates the
Regulations and may be subject to penalties.

And this which states that a travel ban would be a violation of the constitution.
Why is it illegal to travel to Cuba? | TravelInsuranceReview.net
The travel ban was never really made into a law, because it is in violation within the US Constitution. Therefore, it is not illegal for US citizens to travel to Cuba, but with the current Cuban Assets Control Regulations in place, it is against the law for Americans to spend money in Cuba without a special license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Do you have the specific law which states it is illegal to travel there?
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Old 18-11-2014, 08:20   #20
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Re: Cuba Revisited

And this Supreme Court ruling:
Freedom of movement under United States law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The right to travel is a part of the 'liberty' of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. If that "liberty" is to be regulated, it must be pursuant to the law-making functions of the Congress. . . . . Freedom of movement across frontiers in either direction, and inside frontiers as well, was a part of our heritage. Travel abroad, like travel within the country, . . . may be as close to the heart of the individual as the choice of what he eats, or wears, or reads. Freedom of movement is basic in our scheme of values.

In other words it would take a constitutional amendment to allow the US to ban travel.
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Old 18-11-2014, 08:29   #21
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Re: Cuba Revisited

Technically, to be a stickler, the law prohibits US dollar based transactions i.e. spending dollars or using US dollar denominated credit from US based financial institutions in Cuba. And that's why Treasury Dept is involved and not say FBI or some other branch of LE. In the case of the guy I posted about (and I spoke to him a while after his case resolved and read his charging document) his attorney told him at the time that had his receipt been in Cuban currency and NOT from Amex but for cash Treasury would not have jurisdiction and FBI definitely would not waste their resources to prosecute $7.50 case of "spending" in Cuba. But his legal advise was not to come back with any receipts or cigars. Again technically the act of travel is not prohibited by US law - citizens are advised not to by teh State Dept but it's not illegal to travel there only to spend US dollars there is illegal. The Treasury wants to appear tough for the benefit of big boys to make sure they don't skirt the law openly although everyone knows that they simply register Canadian or Bahamian corps and do all their business through them. And in the end it is the little guy left as a whipping boy for the sins of the others.

BTW those who can prove that the Cuban goods they are returning with were gifted to them by friends or relatives there are normally not charged with anything unless there are some other circumstances involved. But funny thing is this usually does not apply to cigars and those are confiscated regardless. I would assume for the personal supervision of the border agents over the timely destruction of no longer needed evidence.
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Old 18-11-2014, 08:34   #22
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Re: Cuba Revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
And this Supreme Court ruling:
Freedom of movement under United States law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The right to travel is a part of the 'liberty' of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment. If that "liberty" is to be regulated, it must be pursuant to the law-making functions of the Congress. . . . . Freedom of movement across frontiers in either direction, and inside frontiers as well, was a part of our heritage. Travel abroad, like travel within the country, . . . may be as close to the heart of the individual as the choice of what he eats, or wears, or reads. Freedom of movement is basic in our scheme of values.

In other words it would take a constitutional amendment to allow the US to ban travel.
From that page.

An attempt to ban travel to Cuba was deemed unconstitutional, but travel has been much hindered by the Trading with the Enemy Act which bans spending money in Cuba without a license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department.

And from a note 29.

Special info for US citizens
Common belief holds that U.S. citizens and foreign residents are forbidden by law to travel to Cuba. This is not true. The applicable legislation is the Trading with the Enemy Act under which the restriction is not on travel but on the spending of money in Cuba. Of course one can practically equate the ban on spending money in Cuba to a travel ban because in normal circumstances a visitor must spend on accommodations, food and other necessities.

Exceptions to the ban on spending money in Cuba are allowed by licenses issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Treasury Department.
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Old 18-11-2014, 08:50   #23
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Re: Cuba Revisited

As I read this, I recall a discussion with my daughter and her husband this weekend. They are planning a trip to Cuba with one of the many charters that leave from Canada.

Legally, I cannot sail there with my Florida registered boat from the Tampa area, even though I am Canadian. The law is written in such a manner that that boat can not go there. If I were to change it to Canadian registration, the law could prevent my boat from entering the USA for a six month period. That same law, BTW, applies to cruise ships.

Are those laws enforced? Enough times I won't take a chance. I might fly over, as I am not restricted as a Canadian from doing so. And yes, I know all about circumventing by going to Bahama and then back to the USA. That doesn't change the legalities, just the likelihood of them being enforced.
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Old 18-11-2014, 08:56   #24
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Re: Cuba Revisited

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Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
Legally, I cannot sail there with my Florida registered boat from the Tampa area, even though I am Canadian. The law is written in such a manner that that boat can not go there.
That's an interesting predicament. I take it the boat is state registered only and not documented? Where is this law or ruling?
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Old 18-11-2014, 09:29   #25
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Re: Cuba Revisited

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Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
That's an interesting predicament. I take it the boat is state registered only and not documented? Where is this law or ruling?
I'm not sure if it makes any difference whether documented (which as a Canadian, I can't) or state registered.

Here is the Noonsite page with links on the issue.

Caution when Entering the USA from Cuba - with Updates — Noonsite

Also:

Miami Shipping Law: Cruising in Cuba
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Old 18-11-2014, 10:22   #26
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Re: Cuba Revisited

The Wikipedia page often quoted here says absolutely nothing that refers directly to travel between the U.S. and Cuba. But using this argument requires that anyone deciding to travel there and as a consequence get caught will need to hire an attorney, fight the charge or fine in a federal court and if the findings don't go your way, file with the Supreme Court on a Constitutional basis. So after spending what can amount to tens of thousands of dollars, you will prevail. Is it really worth it? That is the reality and the technical points can be argued forever. There are currently 4 bills in congress to lift the sanctions and embargo. But that means congress will actually have to pass the bills.
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Old 18-11-2014, 10:27   #27
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Re: Cuba Revisited

And here is the most current information directly from OFAC...http://www.treasury.gov/resource-cen...uba_tr_app.pdf
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Old 18-11-2014, 10:56   #28
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Re: Cuba Revisited

And a little bit of history, Cuba
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Old 18-11-2014, 12:22   #29
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Re: Cuba Revisited

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
All I know is what I read here and elsewhere and that is it's illegal to engage in financial trasactions.
Directly from the State Department website:

"Tourist travel to Cuba is prohibited under U.S. law for U.S. citizens and others under U.S. jurisdiction."

Technically, yes, it is a ban on transactions. But you must have a license from the Treasury Dept before you go. Many people imply, and even say outright, that is fine to go so long as you don't spend money. That is simply and completely wrong! Even if you do not spend any money, going without first getting a license from the Treasury Dept. is prohibited. There is no way to go there legally without first getting permission. Why you're going, what you're doing, or what you may or may not spend is irrelevant. You still need to get the license first!
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Old 18-11-2014, 13:51   #30
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Re: Cuba Revisited

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Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
And here is the most current information directly from OFAC...http://www.treasury.gov/resource-cen...uba_tr_app.pdf
And that was my point in an early post. Why didn't the OP just search the web for this and get accurate information instead of web forum opinions and BS?
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