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canucksailorguy 05-31-2012 09:49 AM

Sponsored travel to Cuba
In another thread, I was excoriated by one of the usual suspects in the ongoing Cuba debate regarding my contention on sponsored travel to Cuba.
Well, here's my vindication, via - For American Customers Traveling to Cuba
The comments are those of Christopher Baker, who wrote Mi Moto Fidel, about traveling in Cuba on a motorbike, and who writes for National Geographic. He is considered an expert on Caribbean travel.


"Fully hosted" travel to Cuba is not restricted, provided that the travel is not aboard a direct flight between the United States and Cuba. A fully hosted traveler may pay for transportation only if aboard a non-Cuban carrier. Travelers whose expenses are covered by a person not subject to US jurisdiction may not bring back any Cuban origin goods, except for informational materials.
"Since 1983, Christopher has made his living as a professional travel writer, photographer, lecturer, and tour guide, and is acclaimed for his specialist knowledge of Cuba and Costa Rica, about which he has written 10 books."

Let the fight begin.

Donna_F 05-31-2012 10:24 AM

Re: Sponsored travel to Cuba
I don't want to start a fight, I just have a question:

If U.S. citizens can legally visit Cuba but are prohibited from spending money, what is the issue with having the passport stamped? Unless paying a fee to enter Cuba is considered "trade"?

canucksailorguy 05-31-2012 10:47 AM

Re: Sponsored travel to Cuba
Paying a fee is considered 'trade'. The sponsor has to pay the entire cost of the trip. As far as having the passport stamped, why wave a red flag in front of the proverbial federal bull?

bljones 05-31-2012 11:04 AM

Re: Sponsored travel to Cuba
Was this worth starting a new thread? It's not new information, it was covered in the Cuba thread... weeks ago.
C'mon Wally, keep up, willya? ;)

canucksailorguy 05-31-2012 11:14 AM

Re: Sponsored travel to Cuba
Too busy sailing to stay on top of everything! A 'usual suspect' claimed to have outed me on this issue and I didn't have this quote available at the time - so just setting the record straight.
For those of us headed to Cuba, I expect we'll be hearing from our US friends

Minnewaska 05-31-2012 06:47 PM

Re: Sponsored travel to Cuba
The issue was that your suggestion was to "wink" and pay the sponsor on the side and as long as they pay everything while you are in Cuba, you are in compliance. You are not.

Here is the US Treasury Department's paper on that. Not a blog writer.

Any fight we got in was strictly over criticizing the US.

canucksailorguy 05-31-2012 07:08 PM

Re: Sponsored travel to Cuba
Minne, what makes you think I'm referring to you? I didn't mention your name. But in reference to your post -
I was not referring to third world travel agencies or any commercial arrangement. I am referring to an agreement between two people, generally friends, so that the non-American can sponsor the American.
While I am sure there are some philanthropic souls out there who will pay holus bolus for some lucky soul to travel there, most of us don't know that person. Some will (illegally, yes) pay that friend the costs, or, alternatively, the friend will sign the affidavit about the sponsorship knowing they are lying through their teeth.
But the point remains - fully sponsored travel is acceptable and, apparently, doesn't even need a general or specific license.
I'm currently emailing with one of the senior people at the OFAC about these issues, and I'll report back definitively once I get a reply.
Also - and this WILL be of interest to all - I'm working with a group of travel people to organize legal Cuban sailing charters for Americans. I expect this project to be as much as a year in getting approvals - and I do hope I'll see you at the front of the line to sign up.

Minnewaska 05-31-2012 07:18 PM

Re: Sponsored travel to Cuba
As I've said numerous times, legal approved travel to Cuba is a-okay with me.

What makes you think I was responding, as if you were referring to me? I didn't say I was the poster you referred to. Our fight was on a different subject. Do we have to play this game?

canucksailorguy 05-31-2012 08:20 PM

Re: Sponsored travel to Cuba
...btw, Chris Baker is a bit more than a 'blog' writer. He's an acknowledged expert on travel in Cuba, with two books to his credit and numerous National Geographic (and other) articles published.
His book, Mi Moto Fidel, or My faithful motorbike and a play on words with Castro's name, is a superb read. Interestingly enough, as he spends more time in Cuba, he becomes increasingly disillusioned with the revolucion. His writing is a bit more narcissistic than I enjoy, but otherwise, it's an interesting tale.
If one wants a close up view of what Cuban life is like, this is a good place to start.

canucksailorguy 05-31-2012 08:27 PM

Re: Sponsored travel to Cuba
Minne, one question - you're ok with legal approved travel - but why is it so annoying to you that two friends make an arrangement so that the American can visit the country, particularly now, when any American can go on a person to person tour, flying out of the US?
fyi, the tours spend money on guides, food, accommodation, transportation and so on in Cuba - there's no real difference, other than one is organized and codified, the other is casual.
It seems to me that since anyone can go, dictating the choice of how they go is just needless government regulation.
What on earth is the administration afraid of here?

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