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Old 04-03-2008, 18:29   #16
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Last year or maybe in 2006 there was an article in lattitudes and attitudes about US State Dept. position on sailing to Cuba...not good, even if you end up there as a result of emmergency port of call. As a Canadian I was quite shocked when I read it; very severe penalties and the posted comments on insurance are accurate, you'd have about as much insurance coverage as you would smuggling drugs-either would be viewed by your insurer as a loss incurred while involved in criminal activity. I have been to Cuba and have to say for the sake of all you American cruisers I really hope with Fidel Castro stepping down there is a change in policy on both sides that result in you being able to visit, regardless of politics the people and country are wonderful.
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:27   #17
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We are in the Bahamas right now and plan to visit Dominican Rep.

When we crossed the Gulf of Mexico from south Texas we had 8 days of really awful weather---not a good first experience. At one point we were as close to Cuba as we were the US and I was ready to go there if it got us to land quicker.

The US does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba and hasn't for a very long time. I understand that you can't return straight to the US after visiting Cuba, but rather go to another country first. I have also heard, as another poster mentioned, that the Cuban gov. will ask you if you want your passport stamped or not.

It's a tough choice. It's very tempting because it's so beautiful--and it seems to be right in the way! Then, if you go and have any trouble, you're on your own! But then, how great are the chances of something going wrong?

We are headed to Dominican Republic via Bahamas & Turks & Caicos. Once we get to the D.R. we are crossing the border to Haiti (visiting an orphanage that we support). Cuba is right there....hmmmm.
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:45   #18
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The policy, in your current* Presidentís own words:
* Neither McCain, Clinton, nor Obama have given any indication that US-Cuban relations would change under their stewardship.

Expanding the Scope of the National Emergency and Invocation of Emergency Authority Relating to the Regulation of the Anchorage and Movement of Vessels Into Cuban Territorial Waters

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation (February 26, 2004)


By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to expand the scope of the national emergency declared in Proclamation 6867 of March 1, 1996, based on the disturbance or threatened disturbance of the international relations of the United States caused by actions taken by the Cuban government, and in light of steps taken over the past year by the Cuban government to worsen the threat to United States international relations, and,

WHEREAS the United States has determined that Cuba is a state-sponsor of terrorism and it is subject to the restrictions of section 6(j)(1)(A) of the Export Administration Act of 1979, section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, and section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act;

WHEREAS the Cuban government has demonstrated a ready and reckless willingness to use excessive force, including deadly force, against U.S. citizens, in the ostensible enforcement of its sovereignty, including the February 1996 shoot-down of two unarmed U.S.-registered civilian aircraft in international airspace, resulting in the deaths of three American citizens and one other individual;

WHEREAS the Cuban government has demonstrated a ready and reckless willingness to use excessive force, including deadly force, against U.S. citizens and its own citizens, including on July 13, 1995, when persons in U.S.-registered vessels that entered into Cuban territorial waters suffered injury as a result of the reckless use of force against them by the Cuban military, and including the July 1994 sinking of an unarmed Cuban-registered vessel, resulting in the deaths of 41 Cuban citizens;

WHEREAS the Cuban government has impounded U.S.-registered vessels in Cuban ports and forced the owners, as a condition of release, to violate U.S. law by requiring payments to be made to the Cuban government;

WHEREAS the entry of any U.S.-registered vessels into Cuban territorial waters could result in injury to, or loss of life of, persons engaged in that conduct, due to the potential use of excessive force, including deadly force, against them by the Cuban military, and could threaten a disturbance of international relations;

WHEREAS the unauthorized entry of vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States into Cuban territorial waters is in violation of U.S. law and contrary to U.S. policy;

WHEREAS the objectives of U.S. policy regarding Cuba are the end of the dictatorship and a rapid, peaceful transition to a representative democracy respectful of human rights and characterized by an open market economic system;

WHEREAS a critical initiative by the United States to advance these U.S. objectives is to deny resources to the repressive Cuban government, resources that may be used by that government to support terrorist activities and carry out excessive use of force against innocent victims, including U.S. citizens;

WHEREAS the unauthorized entry of U.S.-registered vessels into Cuban territorial waters is detrimental to the foreign policy of the United States, which is to deny monetary and material support to the repressive Cuban government, and, therefore, such unauthorized entries threaten to disturb the international relations of the United States by facilitating the Cuban government's support of terrorism, use of excessive force, and continued existence;

WHEREAS the Cuban government has over the course of its 45-year existence repeatedly used violence and the threat of violence to undermine U.S. policy interests. This same regime continues in power today, and has since 1959 maintained a pattern of hostile actions contrary to U.S. policy interests. Among other things, the Cuban government established a military alliance with the Soviet Union, and invited Soviet forces to install nuclear missiles in Cuba capable of attacking the United States, and encouraged Soviet authorities to use those weapons against the United States; it engaged in military adventurism in Africa; and it helped to form and provide material and political support to terrorist organizations that sought the violent overthrow of democratically elected governments in Central America and elsewhere in the hemisphere allied with the United States, thereby causing repeated disturbances of U.S. international relations;

WHEREAS the Cuban government has recently and over the last year taken a series of steps to destabilize relations with the United States, including threatening to abrogate the Migration Accords with the United States and to close the U.S. Interests Section, and Cuba's most senior officials repeatedly asserting that the United States intended to invade Cuba, despite explicit denials from the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense that such action is planned, thereby causing a sudden and worsening disturbance of U.S. international relations;

WHEREAS U.S. concerns about these unforeseen Cuban government actions that threaten to disturb international relations were sufficiently grave that on May 8, 2003, the United States warned the Cuban government that political manipulations that resulted in a mass migration would be viewed as a "hostile act;"

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1 of title II of Public Law 65-24, ch. 30, June 15, 1917, as amended (50 U.S.C. 191), sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, in order to expand the scope of the national emergency declared in Proclamation 6867 of March 1, 1996, and to secure the observance of the rights and obligations of the United States, hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of Homeland Security (the "Secretary") to make and issue such rules and regulations as the Secretary may find appropriate to regulate the anchorage and movement of vessels, and authorize and approve the Secretary's issuance of such rules and regulations, as authorized by the Act of June 15, 1917.

Section 1. The Secretary may make rules and regulations governing the anchorage and movement of any vessel, foreign or domestic, in the territorial waters of the United States, which may be used, or is susceptible of being used, for voyage into Cuban territorial waters and that may create unsafe conditions, or result in unauthorized transactions, and thereby threaten a disturbance of international relations. Any rule or regulation issued pursuant to this proclamation may be effective immediately upon issuance as such rule or regulation shall involve a foreign affairs function of the United States.

Sec. 2. The Secretary is authorized to inspect any vessel, foreign or domestic, in the territorial waters of the United States, at any time; to place guards on any such vessel; and, with my consent expressly hereby granted, take full possession and control of any such vessel and remove the officers and crew and all other persons not specifically authorized by the Secretary to go or remain on board the vessel when necessary to secure the rights and obligations of the United States.

Sec. 3. The Secretary may request assistance from such departments, agencies, officers, or instrumentalities of the United States as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this proclamation. Such departments, agencies, officers, or instrumentalities shall, consistent with other provisions of law and to the extent practicable, provide requested assistance.

Sec. 4. The Secretary may seek assistance from State and local authorities in carrying out the purposes of this proclamation. Because State and local assistance may be essential for an effective response to this emergency, I urge all State and local officials to cooperate with Federal authorities and to take all actions within their lawful authority necessary to prevent the unauthorized departure of vessels intending to enter Cuban territorial waters.

Sec. 5. All powers and authorities delegated by this proclamation to the Secretary may be delegated by the Secretary to other officers and agents of the United States Government unless otherwise prohibited by law.

Sec. 6. Any provisions of Proclamation 6867 that are inconsistent with the provisions of this proclamation are superseded to the extent of such inconsistency.

Sec. 7. This proclamation shall be immediately transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.

GEORGE W. BUSH
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Old 05-03-2008, 06:47   #19
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It is illegal to go there for now, will you be able to enjoy it if you are worried about getting caught or maybe your boat sinking and no insurance, if you have insurance. What if for some reason you need to get back to the US quickly, a family emergency or you become seriously ill or something like that, how will you do it?
I have dreamed of cruising there for years and was able to go to attend an international conference there in 1987 it was very interesting I travelled all over the Caribbean for years on business believe me there are lots of other nice places to see and hopefully with new governments in US and Cuba things may change for the better.
Good cruisin' to you wherever you do it.
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:02   #20
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Its not hard to get back to USA from Cuba. You fly to Mexico or half a dozen other close destinations then onto USA. When I was in Cuba in 2005 there were plenty of US boats there.
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:26   #21
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This executive order uses as its premise that the Cuban government is hostile towards the United States and any US flagged vessels. Therefore any US flagged vessel could be subject to hostile cuban force and in an effort to protect US Citizens and US flagged vessels it empowers the US Federal and State governments to take action upon any US flagged vessel intending to travel to Cuba.

In fact, after reviewing the document, the only circumstance which would have a foriegn flagged vessel subject to this executive order would be when something about the nature of the vessel or it's intended trip which would cause an international disturbance or unsafe conditions, such as transporting refugees. Therefore in both the letter and spirit of this law and the practice of the Coast Guard the US does not interfere with travel of any foreign tourist vessels.

In contrast though it states that ANY US vessel would create unsafe conditions when it states "entry of any U.S.-registered vessels into Cuban territorial waters could result in injury to, or loss of life of" and using that as a premise for the later assertion for the Coast Guard to seize any vessel which " may create unsafe conditions".
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Old 05-03-2008, 07:34   #22
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From the Canadian Foriegn Affairs Office:

Canadians who dock their Canadian-registered boats in Florida are subject to these measures, whereas those Canadian boats simply en route to Cuba via the U.S. will be exempt.
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:07   #23
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From what I have read, its not illegal for americans to visit Cuba, its only illegal to "spend" money whilst visiting Cuba, hence the "embargo".
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:27   #24
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I know there is a lot of hearsay out there regarding fines and boat seizures but I'll bet you can't find one firsthand account where it actually happened. And I'm referring to both US registered and non-US registered boats. Sure there are seizures but it always involves some other offence like drugs or smuggling never for just having gone to cuba. They may have threatened a lot of people but never went to court and got a conviction.
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:59   #25
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Quote:
From what I have read, its not illegal for americans to visit Cuba, its only illegal to "spend" money whilst visiting Cuba, hence the "embargo".
It is not ilegal to have been to Cuba only to leave the US bound for Cuba or to enter the US directly from Cuba. It does not matter what your own nationality is - even a US citizen. It's not illegal to spend money there just don't try to use a US credit card as they don't work (so you can't spend US credit in Cuba). Cubans like US cash just as much as any other.

The new twist is the USCG can detain you if they feel you are headed into Cuba (even if you claim you are not). They may do so any place or any time they happen to see you and think so. They don't require proof. Once you land in jail it all gets to be quite a mess of legal battles. This is a George Busch credible threat.
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:06   #26
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so who has been there and back with no stress?? care to share your full experience?
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:37   #27
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That used to be the case. Now, due to the language of the executive order, it is illegal for US citizens to enter into Cuba and the Federal and State governments are empowered to stop you for your own safety as they consider Cuba to be a hostile government. However, other nationalities in practice are not affected even by this law unless they keep their boat normally in US waters.

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From what I have read, its not illegal for americans to visit Cuba, its only illegal to "spend" money whilst visiting Cuba, hence the "embargo".
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Old 06-03-2008, 13:40   #28
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Here is what the US State Department has to say about it:

Cuba

Quote:
The Cuban Assets Control Regulations are enforced by the U.S. Treasury Department and affect all U.S. citizens and permanent residents wherever they are located, all people and organizations physically in the United States, and all branches and subsidiaries of U.S. organizations throughout the world. The Regulations require that persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction be licensed to engage in any travel-related transactions pursuant to travel to, from, and within Cuba. Transactions related to tourist travel are not licensable. This restriction includes tourist travel to Cuba from or through a third country such as Mexico or Canada. U.S. law enforcement authorities have increased enforcement of these regulations at U.S. airports and pre-clearance facilities in third countries. Travelers who fail to comply with Department of Treasury regulations could face civil penalties and criminal prosecution upon return to the United States.
I can't say that I have heard of a pleasure boat being seized for going to Cuba, but I have seen news accounts of tourists being prosecuted after flying to Canada and then on to Cuba. If you are in the US or are a US citizen, there has to be something pretty spectacular in Cuba to make it worth the risk.
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Old 06-03-2008, 14:26   #29
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If you are a foreign vessel transiting through US waters you are protected by the United Nations Law of the Sea, which is recognized by the US State Department and the Office of the President. This law provides the right for vessels to transit a countries coastal waters unfettered in innocent passage. Hence the comment on Canadian vessels. This also allows anchoring while in transit. Hence the Coast Guard for any vessel under foriegn flag has always simply performed routine inspection and has never tried to impose any restrictions with the trading with the enemy act on foriegn flagged vessels transiting US waters. This hasn't changed, the Presidential Directive was specifically written so this wouldn't change. The US utterly depends upon the provisions of the law of the sea to allow our navy to be go through the Red Sea and various straights and waters. The only case I know of where a vessel was impounded for violating the Cuban embargo came into the Florida Keys loaded with cigars, and even then the treasury agents had to hide behind bushes and wait for them to unload the vessel and bring their cargo ashore. So Canada, Mexico, everyone, relax. But for the US citizens, yes, you can't even think of going down there.
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Old 07-03-2008, 06:08   #30
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Interestingly, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sought to lift the ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba in December 1963.

In a December 12, 1963, memorandum to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Kennedy urged a quick decision "to withdraw the existing regulation prohibiting such trips."

Kennedy's memo, written less than a month after his brother's assassination in Dallas, communicated his position that the travel ban imposed by the Kennedy administration was a violation of American freedoms and impractical in terms of law enforcement. Among his "principal arguments" for removing the restrictions on travel to Cuba was that freedom to travel "is more consistent with our views as a free society and would contrast with such things as the Berlin Wall and Communist controls on such travel."

His memo prompted what senior National Security Council officials described as "an in-house fight to permit non-subversive Americans to travel to Cuba." Several State Department officials supported Kennedy's position that "the present travel restrictions are inconsistent with traditional American liberties," and that "it would be extremely difficult to enforce the present prohibitions on travel to Cuba without resorting to mass indictments."

But in a December 13, 1963 meeting at the State Department, with no representatives present from the Attorney General's office, Undersecretary of State George Ball ruled out any relaxation of regulations on travel to Cuba.

A principal argument, as national security advisor McGeorge Bundy informed President Johnson in a subsequent memorandum on "Student Travel to Cuba" was that "a relaxation of U.S. restrictions would make it very difficult for us to urge Latin American governments to prevent their nationals from going to Cuba-where many would receive subversive training."

Instead of announcing a legalization of travel to Cuba, as the Attorney General had proposed, in late December the State Department issued a warning stating that "persons who may consider engaging in such travel should be on notice that if they do so, their passports will be withdrawn and they may be subject to criminal prosecution."

The ban on travel was maintained until President Jimmy Carter (sort of) lifted it in 1977; but restrictions were re-imposed during the Reagan administration, and have been tightened further under the current administration.

See the RFK memo:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB158/19631212.pdf
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