I''m currently working on a story on this topic for a boating magazine. My book, Sailing to Hemingway''s Cuba, will be out next month from Sheridan House...spent a month at Marina Hemingway near Havana.
For web info: www.ustreas.gov/ofac/info.html (you will need Adobe Acrobat to download materials), or www.state.gov/www/regions/wha/cuba/
or fax-back service, 1-202-622-0077
The boat is an Endeavour 32, "Dream Weaver" out of Burlington, Vermont. I have been in touch with ST. Pete and have included a report on the "Cease and desist" order to organizers of Tampa-Havana race. Also talking to US Treasury Public Affairs for their point of view, case histories, etc. Any stories? Your boat? I was headed down west coast of Florida from Fort Myers to Marathon in Feb. 99.
I have not been to Cuba, but can tell you that many people push to Key West or the Tortugas (preferably the Tortugas), overnight there, then punch across. If I am not mistaken, from the Tortugas to Cuba is only 60-61 miles... so it is closer than the mainland of the US.
If you are a US Citizen, I would probably not make that run while Bush is in office. The immigration is very lax in Fort Myers ( I have only seen a Customs boat there once), but I have been warned the US tracks boats in and out of Cuba. I do not know if it is true.
It is really a crock. I do not see the point of an embargo against a country when the rest of the world does not follow suit. Either get the rest of the world involved or try another avenue... but enough of my political chat.
PS The tortugas are beautiful and worth the stop. Better than Key West if you like beauty and seclusion... but I guess you would miss CatMan if you don't go to Key West!
I wouldn't expect any lifting of restrictions on sailing to Cuba after the President leaves office. There was none under previous administrations. My suggestion is to expect consequences if you sail to Cuba and are caught.
Castro is a brutal dictator and his brother is no better. You are consorting with the enemy if you go there and regardless of what the rest of the world does, you are violating our law if you spend ANY $$ there. Any American who goes there in violation of our laws should be both ashamed and prosecuted.
Actually you are incorrect. The US government allows visits and spending money in Cuba under certain circumstances. Cuban Americans bring more US money into Cuba than anyone else. I visited and did so legally, notified the Coast Guard, etc.
As far as brutality is concerned, it seems to me that while Fidel Castro is not saint, I believe George W. is responsible for the death of more innocent people and that number is still growing. If brutal dictatorships is a criteria, I guess we shouldn't be trading with China. Vietnam, a country where we fought, died and lost to communism is okay now that they allow Coca Cola in. Guess who's one of their biggest trading partners? The good old USA. Let's not get too hypocritical. The Cuba embargo is there to ensure that sure Florida votes Republican. If I were a Republican, I wouldn't go to Cuba either.
There are three reasons the US will not recognize Cuba.
The Mafia won't let them - the Mafia were the biggest looser when Cuba nationized everything. No American lives have been lost in Cuba.
They have a higher literacy rate.
They have better medical care.
A few years ago Bush decreed that anyone even planning to go to Cuba could be boarded and charged and have their boat confiscated. This includes foreign registered vessels as well. I've also read that even those who have travelled to Cuba with the proper authorization were all subject to an IRS audit.
While I agree with Cam that you should not break the law, I certainly do not support the US government's refusal to remove the embargo with regard to Cuba. The embargo was not removed during Clinton's presidency, so the arguement that it is so Florida will vote Repubican would seem incorrect. The State of Florida is certainly interested in keeping the embargo because of the effect on tourism but Florida is not the only state in the union. There has to be another reason and unless someone can come up with compelling arguements for some other theory I'm sticking to the Mafia theory.
Regardless, Sailsman10, be very careful about going to Cuba. If you believe that hell hath no fury like a women scorned, try pissing off the US government - you ain't seen nothin yet.
Kenshu...That's it...change the subject and blame it on Bush. As to China/Viet...hell no we shouldn't be trading with them either but it is legal and hypocritical I agree.
EBS...you need a history lesson. Maybe Hillary will lift that embargo...her husband didn't. The mafia doesn't care about Castro...it is just that he knows the truth about their involvement in the JFK assasination. <grin> As to the cuban heath care system...it is NOT better...it is quite good however (and cheap) but they get those results by doing away with the obesity problem there! <grin again> For really serious stuff you are still way better off getting treated in the USA. For general population health with limited resources they do a great job. Actual gross stats:
Table 1. Comparison of Health Statistics and Gross National Product Cuba vs United States
Life Expectancy at Birth Cuba 76.3
Maternal Mortality (per 100,000 live births) Cuba 34.1
Infant Mortality (per 1,000 live births) Cuba 7.2
Gross National Product per Capita (US$) Cuba 2,2704
United States 77.2 7.1 7.2 & 31,910 on same stats respectively
Cubans are smart, hard working vibrant people as they've proved in southern FL...This isn't about them...it is about breaking our laws ratified by presidents and congresses for 40+ years to satisfy selfish desires. If you want to visit a brutal dictatorship...go to Venezuela...it's still legal!!
Where is my history wrong?
Castro as a brutal dictator whats your arguement that he is - unless you mean the vernacular "aweful" or "bad".
"The Mafia does not care about Castro" but they do care that he took away all their casinos and whore houses and the US government also knows about the Mafia's JFK involvement - that's the reason this and previous administrations will not recognize Cuba until they have a free market system.
As far has the health care system it was just a jibe at the only country in the G-7 that doesn't have universal health care with two thirds of its citizens without proprer health care coverage. The statistics you cite show how favourably the Cuban health care system compares. Now compare those to every other country in the Caribbean and you'll see that Castro is not doing such a "brutal" job.
Cam regardless of our political differences I stand with you when you advise Sailman not to go to Cuba and I certainly wouldn't advise anyone to go to Venezuela but that's a whole other story.
For the record, I recognize the various ethnic, political and economic interest groups which oppose removal of the embargo. My own agenda is simply that Castro needs to go (just as Batista needed to go) and the Cuban people deserve the freedom they clearly want so badly.
As to historic Castro brutality try: http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/castro.thwart.html or maybe those conservative lackeys at Amnesty International would be more to your liking: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR250172003
...and I was commenting favorably on Cuba's overall health care record...just disputing that it is better than the USA as stated. One reason their infant mortality rivals ours is that ours is so bad due to drug babies...not many such problems in Cuba!
Finally... on US health care system vs. the rest of G-7. That is a long and involved discussion not really appropriate here or even on topic. You might guess that I am not a proponent of gov't health care systems...and I am not. It is nevertheless a disgrace that 40% (not 2/3) of WORKING Families (not everyone)...does not have health care. Employers should be required to provide a plan meeting certain criterea and WORKERS should be required to buy in rather than buying big screen TV's and Nintendo's. Mitt Romney seems to have the right idea in Massachussetts. Worth a look if you are interested. I wonder if his plan will apply to illegal aliens as well since they seem to be doing a pretty good job of putting hospitals out of business.
Have i offended everyone here yet? <grin> Anyway EBS...suppose we'll just have to disagree on some political stuff but appreciate the support on obeying the law.
If Cuba is such a great place to live...I guess all the Cubans who venture the semi-suicidal escape to the US must just be psychos. And all the Cuban exiles in Miami who aren't smart enough to go back, must be too dumb to know how bad they've got it. Who'd have thought so many delusional people could all be found in the same place.
Sailsman, your best bet is to write--not just email--the US Department of State, and request a written reply.
I have to disagree with hellosailor, Sailsman your best bet is to not go to Cuba until the embargo is lifted or else face persecution from your own government.
To respect the intention of this forum I will not comment further on Cuban/US relations.
Politics aside; everyone would have to agree that it is risky to sail to Cuba if you're an American and plan to return to he US. Even if you went, it can be very difficult to move from port to port due to a confusing, inconsistent process. My experience there was that it is definitively a police state where human rights are not respected. I don't see anything changing when Castro dies. Raul will most likely be just as bad without the charisma.
Hemingway seems to be the favorite port which has an American Interests Office who will photograph your boat. My last info, April, 2006, the American cruisers who use that port have taped over boat names and registration so they do not get nasty notes from Uncle Sam.
There is a marina east of Hemingway that some find to be easier to get to from Florida due to the Gulf Stream. I forgot the name but it is in the cruising guide. Another, on the SW end of Cuba is also a popular stop before heading off to Mexico or Belize. Some cruisers think it is safer to hit a port that is legal befor ereturning to the States.
Also, there is a form that the Coast Guard will fax to you for permission to sail through a war zone. They ask all the pertinent info on you and your plans to sail through the restricted waters north of Cuba. it is no big deal but do not mistake this for permission to sail to Cuba.
All that know who have been , most have gone to Hemingway, have had a great time and none have been notified by the US that they have been charged with treason and owe fines. I know several cruisers who have been in the past few years and, while the stories abound of those who have been fined, none have been fined. Two have been stopped by the Coast Guard for a routine check/boarding.
You might also check with the CMCS sailing club in Ft Myers for other opinions.
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