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post #34 of Old 04-20-2013
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Re: Will USCG fly over Cuba airspace?

Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
If you lay low and go about a quiet way to and from Cuba indirectly via another foreign country, I doubt the U.S government will prosecute you even if they know.

Has anyone know of someone goes to jail as an American tourist visit to Cuba? I met a few American Cruisers in DR that have visited Cuba, they all encouraged me to go there.
If you really want to go, by far the best way would be as a crew on someone else's boat - preferably Canadian, or other non-US registry... Have the owner pay any and all expenses involved, have him "host" you in exchange for your help as crew or whatever, and settle up with him afterwards, if need be... There is no prohibition on non-licensed Americans traveling to Cuba, but only upon spending money while there, and such a strategy legitimately gets you around that... It would seem to me that the likelihood of the State Department/OFAC coming after you in such a situation would have to be miniscule, to virtually non-existent, today...

Everything changes for an American taking their own boat, of course... Then, it's a given you have to spend $ for visas and clearance/departure fees, etc. Again, one can attempt to circumvent that by having a foreign national 'guest' aboard who can pay all expenses, but that could be considerably harder to prove to OFAC if they had an inclination to come after you...

Most importantly, be under no illusion that one might escape the prying eyes of our government by coming or leaving though a 3rd country... It's very naive to think that by returning to the States via the Bahamas, for example, that you'll avoid 'detection'... Trust me, any American who takes their boat to Cuba, our government WILL know about it... However, if you were simply a crew on someone else's boat, it would seem that there would be a decent probability that our State Department might never learn of it... Still, that might be hopelessly naive, and I certainly don't want anyone to take anything I've written on the subject to be construed as any sort of advice, or recommendation...

Whether they actually CARE, of course, is the $64K question... All indications over recent years is that they don't, for there have been a LOT of American boats visiting Cuba, far more than most here would probably imagine...

In previous threads, I've written a fair amount about my own 3 separate trips to Cuba with my boat, 10 years ago... This one is probably the most comprehensive...

Cuba in my sights

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