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Old 12-02-2004, 17:33   #1
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Grand Jury Summons Cuba Boaters

From the Feb. 12, 2004 Key West Citizen:

Grand jury summons Cuba boaters

BY TRAVIS JAMES TRITTEN

keysnews.com


KEY WEST -- A federal grand jury subpoenaed at least three sailors who traveled from Key West to Cuba in a regatta and humanitarian aid mission in May, and some race participants suspect U.S. attorneys are seeking criminal indictments for alleged travel violations to the communist country.

A Feb. 9 subpoena obtained by The Citizen commanded a local boat captain who sailed in the Conch Republic Cup to appear before the Key West jury Feb. 18.

The captain and two other sailors who were subpoenaed asked to remain anonymous out of fear identifying them would affect possible cases against them. They said agents with the U.S. Department of Commerce interviewed them Tuesday about the trip to Cuba and then handed them the subpoena.

In May, agents with the U.S Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Commerce Department searched boats when they returned from the annual event and confiscated property such as global positioning system records, cameras and event paperwork.

Regatta participants were licensed to carry medicine and medical supplies to hospitals in Cuba.

"I got the impression from others I talked to that É it was likely that everyone [in the regatta] was being subpoenaed," one boat captain said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami said it could neither confirm nor deny the grand jury subpoenas, which were signed by Karen Gilbert, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Miami. A spokesman with Customs Enforcement was not immediately available.

The boat captain said he believes the grand jury activity is politically motivated and part of a wider push to clamp down on travel to Cuba.

"Our sailing organization is being singled out to become an example of the Bush administration's stance on the [Cuban] embargo," he said.

Bush recently called for more stringent enforcement of laws that bar most travel to Cuba. Spending money for Cuban travel is restricted to licensed government officials, journalists, family members and a few other select groups, according to the U.S. Department of State.

On May 21, the day before sailors departed Key West, Customs Enforcement officers warned regatta participants not to take their boats into Cuban waters. Zachary Mann, spokesman for the federal agency, told The Citizen in May that the vessels were not approved by the Commerce Department to travel to Cuba.

The federal Bureau of Export Administration sent a letter in late May to Geslin Sailmakers, the organizer of the regatta, stating that the sailors were required to get approval from the Commerce Department for exporting to Cuba or Cuban waters "any vessel and its contents." The letter also said unauthorized exports are subject to criminal prosecution and administrative proceedings that could result in fines, imprisonment, vessel forfeiture and denial of future export privileges.

The Conch Republic Cup boaters sailed under the humanitarian aid license of Concord Cayo Hueso, a Key West humanitarian group headed by John Young that has been shipping food and medicine to Cuba since 1992.

"This year, being able to take humanitarian aid enabled us to, one, legitimize our travels going under a license, but also to enhance the purpose of it," a subpoenaed captain said. "We believed that we were in compliance sailing under [Young's] license."

Young said regatta boaters were allowed to use the license on the condition that they became members of his group.

"I know we had some members carrying food, and medicine primarily," Young said. "I don't know if [the grand jury activity] has anything to do with Concord Cayo Hueso."

Young's humanitarian license was revoked following the May trip.

He said federal agents "bullied" the boaters at the docks when they returned.

"There must have been 50 agents on those vessels coming back from that race," Young said. "They took all kinds of stuff off those boats that should not have been confiscated."
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Old 13-02-2004, 12:39   #2
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Sounds to me like something Fidel would do. One way to fix this. Elect a NEW president in November.
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Old 13-02-2004, 19:33   #3
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Oh yeah!

Then we can have all kinds of boats running back and forth hauling in all kinds of stuff. Just what we need these days another source of commie sponcered contriband. I suspect anyone that travels to unfriendly terrortories. What's there that is so important that one can't get some where else? There are reasons for embargos and licensing.
There's nothing wrong with humanitarian aid as long as it goes through the proper chanels.

And Fidel would have just shot the lot of them.
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Old 14-02-2004, 08:28   #4
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Cuba

As a winter destination it is more appealing to some folks than Hawaii or Mexico. I have seen quite a few photos and talked with a few people who have been recently and they all endorsed the place as being user friendly and nice. The money the tourist industry makes could be considered a form of humanitarian aid I guess. BC Mike C
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Old 14-02-2004, 17:28   #5
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delmarrey, If we apply your logic we should then never leave the confines of the US. Drugs and contraband enter this country every day from Mexico, The Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras, The Dominican Republic and in much greater volume than Cuba. So where is it OK for us to go according to your logic??? And how much of YOUR constitutional rights are you ready to give up?
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Old 14-02-2004, 17:46   #6
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Canada exports

Chuck, thanks for mentioning Canada in your post as a source of drug exports to the US. More specifically BC has a large trade surplus with the US in this area. It helps offsett the tarriffs on the lumber. I have thought about the rights of freedom of travel by US citizens and it does strike me as strange, but I do not make the rules I just try my best to live within them. I think the threat of communism spreading by force is over and Cuba could be reconsidered. They do not appear to be killing the populace as in Iraq or parts of Yugoslavia. BC Mike C
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Old 15-02-2004, 01:34   #7
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It's not really drugs I'm worried about. It's bomb materials. If people want to poison their own minds, that's their problem. But to smuggle explosives in, that's my concern, besides adding one more country to the list. The commies/terrorist, I'm sure, would be willing to give that stuff away for free to who ever wants to make a big quick buck. Heck, it's probably more profitable than drugs. Some people will sell their sole for the right price.

I'm not aware that I have lost any of my constitutional rights. Actually, it seems I've gained a bunch more lately, thanks to the ACLU and the liberal activists. I can now demoralize any and everyone I want now. And with the right lawyer and the media I could even get away with (alleged) murder or child molestation.

As for travel, it's a lot easier and safer then it was 50 years ago. With the mass communication and record keeping of today, it makes more places more available and safer then ever before. My father traveled the seas for thirty years in the early to mid 1900's and he never stepped ashore without his side arm, which saved him several times.

It just seems people just want to snuff out safe guards in the name of freedom, in which we have more then ever before. We have a populous to protect now. The radicals just want to kill Americans just for fun or in the name of their ala. And it has never been safe it that part of the world that I know of. People in countries that have so little, have very little value of (anyone’s) life.

Well, its time to get down off the soapbox, had enough BS for one day. Tomorrows another day, I hope!
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Old 15-02-2004, 05:27   #8
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wow, can you spell paranoia?
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Old 15-02-2004, 08:15   #9
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Just because you are not paranoid, does not mean that smoebody is not out to get you......
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Old 15-02-2004, 08:32   #10
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To boldly go to new places

I respect all your input on this, we all view these things in a different light. For me I like to think about the fact that there are approximately 600 million more people elligable to vote since about 1970. The number of the weird states is dwindling and peace is a more common theme. We can go to Estonia, Luthawania, Latvia, Ukraine, Siberia, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Poland and many more. We can go there freely and they can come and visit us. I think this is good news. For the US the trade deficit might be a bigger problem than Cuba. BC Mike C
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Old 05-05-2004, 06:39   #11
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My thoughts on this

Hey,

I always told my kids to do right. Obey the law,yes life isn't always fair. But we do not get to decide which laws we like to follow and ones we chose to ignore. Don't whine, change them or obey them. Pretty simple


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