Originally Posted by tikirawker
We are allowed to go if we fall under a dozen different instances - most of which are extremely vague.
Actually the laws are pretty specific. It is the current
enforcement that is vague.
Regarding the laws:
1. You either need to fall under one of the 12 categories of general license
, or apply for a specific license
is the treasure department's FAQ's on the 12 catagory of permissiable general license. However, to actually understand each category and whether you meet the specific requirements of the law, you have to go to the actual law
, where it is spelled out.
Just for example - here is the law related to religious activities - and note that just dropping off some canned food
would not qualify:
§ 515.566 Religious activities in Cuba. (a) General license. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction, including religious organizations located in the United States and members and staff of such organizations, are authorized to engage in the travel-related transactions set forth in § 515.560(c) and such additional transactions as are directly incident to engaging in religious activities in Cuba, provided that the travel-related transactions pursuant to this authorization must be for the purpose of engaging, while in Cuba, in a full-time schedule of religious activities.
Note to § 515.566(a): Each person relying on the general authorization in this paragraph must retain specific records related to the authorized travel transactions. See §§ 501.601 and 501.602 of this chapter for applicable recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
(b) Financial and material donations to Cuba or Cuban nationals are not
authorized by this section.
Also note that for all authorized travel (general and specific licenses) detailed financial record
keeping is required.
The plain fact is that no-one at the treasury is paying any attention or any enforcement effort to this at the moment.
2. You need a USCG permit
to sail in Cuban waters. It's a two page form, specific to the boat. It has places where you must fill in your treasury department license and your BiS license (see below). This permit
is not difficult to get. The USCG has been somewhat randomly enforcing their requirement for the permit. At least 3 boats have been fined for coming back without them. But many others have not been fined. My personal sense is if you run AIS
and come back to Key West
the permit will be enforced - otherwise, they are not paying very much attention.
3. Finally,you don't need a BiS permit if your vessel will be in Cuba less than 14 days. If you will be in cuba less than 14 days you write "License Exemption" in the space on the USCG permit application. But if you plan to stay longer you do need one (According to the law). I don't know how difficult this is to get. And these folks also don't seem to be doing any enforcement activity.
But if you get caught by the USCG following none of this, they can (and have) thrown the book at you for breaking multiple federal laws.
That's the state of play right now. The administration is trying to open it up even more. They would really like to completely normalize relationships so there is none of the BS. But to do so, congress has repeal several laws, and before they do that, they want several large financial disputes (will there be any reparation for property that was taken by the cuban government) to be resolved.