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  #1  
Old 11-01-2010
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Cuba in my sights

If I wanted to make a stop in Cuba while on a cruise how hard would it be?
I would like to see the island but I am not sure if all the hoops you jump through are worth it.
Anyone ever stopped there for any length of time?
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Old 11-01-2010
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No problem

As long as you aren't a US citizen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by w1651 View Post
If I wanted to make a stop in Cuba while on a cruise how hard would it be?
I would like to see the island but I am not sure if all the hoops you jump through are worth it.
Anyone ever stopped there for any length of time?
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Old 11-02-2010
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Originally Posted by mdbee View Post
As long as you aren't a US citizen.
So how do I get a Canadian Passport?
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Old 11-02-2010
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To me, the idea of going to Cuba is crazy for an American Citizen, but you do what you want. If I were to go, I would probably punch out of the Tortugas and head south where is is like 60 miles - but should be an easy day-sail though you have to cross the stream. Still, from the Tortugas you can choose your timing to go.

That being said, the getting back in might be tricky. We have had a sharp increase in US CUstoms and Border Patrol here in SW Florida. I have seen them sitting right at the mouth of Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach. There are people that have done it, but I won't - for more reasons than just our US Govt but I won't go there this morning.

Brian
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Old 11-02-2010
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Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
To me, the idea of going to Cuba is crazy for an American Citizen, but you do what you want. If I were to go, I would probably punch out of the Tortugas and head south where is is like 60 miles - but should be an easy day-sail though you have to cross the stream. Still, from the Tortugas you can choose your timing to go.

That being said, the getting back in might be tricky. We have had a sharp increase in US CUstoms and Border Patrol here in SW Florida. I have seen them sitting right at the mouth of Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach. There are people that have done it, but I won't - for more reasons than just our US Govt but I won't go there this morning.

Brian
That's my point though. Castro is no longer in power and I hear the island is beautiful.
So why are we still clinging to a foreign policy so out dated. If we went there our capitalistic ways would take over.
Anyway I know people who have been there but never left the marina. i just want to know how to see the islands interior.
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Regardless whether you agree with the laws, they are the laws and the penalties are stiff (take you boat from you). I don't agree with teh seat belt law or the helmet law, but I have to comply. That is a different discussion.

I have never been there. If you are from St Pete, they used to do the St Pete - Havana race there (and still sign up for it every year, just don't get the permit so it gets cancelled). See if you can get some info from them. Try googling the race and reach out to them since they are local to you.

I suspect that there are many people here (Americans) that have been to Cuba. But you might be pressed getting any of them to talk about it online, for obvious reasons. I would carefully research the project and really evaluate my risk factor beforfe proceeding down there. It ain't the going there that will be hard. It will be the getting back in and not getting caught.

Brian
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Whiskey,

I understand your desire, and hope you don't take this the wrong way.

I'm probably one of the few folks around here who has first-hand, on-the-ground experience of living in Cuba. And yes, I'm a US passport holder.

First, you will drive yourself crazy trying to apply reason as an argument relating to the US-Cuba political relationship. It's a very emotional subject on both sides, and pragmatism rarely prevails in discussions. Just accept things that you cannot change, while keeping your hope alive that policies can and will change. (For the record, I'm not advocating radical change or full repeal of the current policies -- they will almost certainly evolve at their own pace.)

Second, don't take the glowing reviews of Cuba as a cruising Mecca at full face value. The people of Cuba are warm, friendly, and for the most part great folks. Yes the waters are beautiful. Scuba diving, particularly on the southern coast, is great. However, keep in mind that Cuba remains a very bureaucratic and fairly strictly regulated state particularly in regards to foreigners. Many of the vacation resorts catering to foreign tourists, which is a very important source of hard currency income for the government of Cuba, are closed "communities" that keep tourists in and locals (other that the staff) out. This is intentional. The Cuban government maintains its grip on power, but remains cognizant of what Glastnost did to the Soviet Union.

Third, maritime facilities are somewhat spartan and in less than tip-top condition. The Coast Guard and maritime Border Patrol organizations have in some instances proven themselves to be less than friendly, less than helpful, and in some instances complicit in screwing cruisers -- and avenues for seeking redress or compensation for an American are very, very limited.

Fourth, you run a very significant risk of losing your vessel if US authorities determine that you have violated US travel restrictions. Is your desire to visit Cuba so strong that you're willing to take that risk?

In the long run, my guess is that sanctions will ease and travel will become possible. Until that day comes, I for one wouldn't even consider going there.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but I hope you take this to heart.

Best,
PorFin

Last edited by PorFin; 11-02-2010 at 09:02 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorFin View Post
Whiskey,

I understand your desire, and hope you don't take this the wrong way.

I'm probably one of the few folks around here who has first-hand, on-the-ground experience of living in Cuba. And yes, I'm a US passport holder.

First, you will drive yourself crazy trying to apply reason as an argument relating to the US-Cuba political relationship. It's a very emotional subject on both sides, and pragmatism rarely prevails in discussions. Just accept things that you cannot change, while keeping your hope alive that policies can and will change. (For the record, I'm not advocating radical change or full repeal of the current policies -- they will almost certainly evolve at their own pace.)

Second, don't take the glowing reviews of Cuba as a cruising Mecca at full face value. The people of Cuba are warm, friendly, and for the most part great folks. Yes the waters are beautiful. Scuba diving, particularly on the southern coast, is great. However, keep in mind that Cuba remains a very bureaucratic and fairly strictly regulated state particularly in regards to foreigners. Many of the vacation resorts catering to foreign tourists, which is a very important source of hard currency income for the government of Cuba, are closed "communities" that keep tourists in and locals (other that the staff) out. This is intentional. The Cuban government maintains its grip on power, but remains cognizant of what Glastnost did to the Soviet Union.

Third, maritime facilities are somewhat spartan and in less than tip-top condition. The Coast Guard and maritime Border Patrol organizations have in some instances proven themselves to be less than friendly, less than helpful, and in some instances complicit in screwing cruisers -- and avenues for seeking redress or compensation for an American are very, very limited.

Fourth, you run a very significant risk of losing your vessel if US authorities determine that you have violated US travel restrictions. Is your desire to visit Cuba so strong that you're willing to take that risk?

In the long run, my guess is that sanctions will ease and travel will become possible. Until that day comes, I for one wouldn't even consider going there.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but I hope you take this to heart.

Best,
PorFin
That, PorFin, wzas one of the very best replies I have read on Sailnet in a long time.

Brian
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  #9  
Old 11-02-2010
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Oh, and to your question about seeing the interior of the island -- could you do it? Maybe. You'd probably need to get Cuban government permission to do so, and would be under close supervision and "minded" very carefully. What could happen if you just went on your own without Cuban government permission? Detention, expulsion, and probable loss of your vessel to the Cuban government. Again, a fairly high risk endeavor.
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Old 11-02-2010
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Thanks Brian. Every once and a while my brain actually engages on most of its cylinders
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