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Travelling to Cuba from the USA from 9 November - new rules


#1

Publication of New Cuba-Related Frequently Asked Questions
11/8/2017
The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 515 (the “CACR”), to implement the National Security Presidential Memorandum issued by the President in June. These regulatory changes are intended to channel economic activities away from the Cuban military, intelligence, and security services, while maintaining opportunities for Americans to engage in authorized travel to Cuba and support the private, small business sector in Cuba. The CACR amendment will be published in the Federal Register on Thursday (November 9, 2017), at which time the changes will take effect. OFAC is also publishing a number of new and updated Frequently Asked Questions and a Fact Sheet pertaining to this regulatory amendment.
The rule in full: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cacr_11082017.pdf
The fact sheet: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_fact_sheet_11082017.pdf
And FAQs: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/cuba_faqs_new.pdf


#2

There are 180 organisations which are going to be prohibited for “direct transactions”, as listed here: https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/cuba/cubarestrictedlist/275331.htm


#3

Thanks, Rob. Just what our American cousins need, more BS to step around on their way to Cuba.
That will make CSM off limits as all(?) of the resorts are Gaviota, all the busses and marinas too.


#4

I see this as no more than simple b.s. There are still 11 1/2 of the original 12 OFAC exemptions remaining. And few have figured out that form is never seen again once you sign it and the airline files it away.

Many things and locations now prohibited. But the US government has no clue what any US resident does in Cuba or where they stay. And the Cuban government sure is not going to help monitor this.

Now this will scare off some potential first time visitors from the US who are too lazy or stupid to easily determine reality. But I have given up trying to educate or worry about them.


#5

Bob
In a fashion they actually made it a lot easier for many.
Under “support for the Cuban people” they have clearly written what measures can be taken to be compliant. That guesswork has been removed once and for all.
Those Americans previously enjoying the many AIs for their vacation will certainly need to rethink Cuba as a destination if the beach scene and relaxation is their aim. If they are clever and do a bit of research they will realise they could stay at nice casas with relatively easy access to quite a number of good beaches for pretty much the same price inclusive of meals and drinks on a paid for basis as they would be up for if at an AI. This is a link to TA which shows that quite a few are already aware of how good the experience can be (I randomly chose Beny’s but have never been there myself): https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g147275-d2078012-Reviews-Beny_s_House-Varadero_Matanzas_Province_Cuba.html


#6

Thanks to JustRobme, a good example of Support for the Cuban People from the US govt:

“Example 1 to § 515.574: An individual plans to travel to Cuba, stay in a room at a rented accommodation in a private Cuban residence (casa particular), eat at privately-owned Cuban restaurants (paladares), and shop at privately-owned stores run by self-employed Cubans (cuentapropista) during his or her four-day trip. While at the casa particular, the individual will have breakfast each morning with the Cuban host and engage with the Cuban host to learn about Cuban culture. In addition, the traveler will complete his or her full-time schedule by supporting Cuban entrepreneurs launching their privately-owned businesses. The traveler’s activities promote independent activity intended to strengthen civil society in Cuba. Because the individual’s qualifying activities are not limited to staying in a room at a rented accommodation in a private Cuban residence (casa particular), eating at privately-owned Cuban restaurants (paladares), and shopping at privately owned stores run by self-employed Cubans (cuentapropista) and the traveler maintains a full-time schedule that enhances contact with the Cuban people, supports civil society in Cuba, and promotes the Cuban people’s independence from Cuban authorities, and that results in meaningful interaction between the traveler and Cuban individuals, the individual’s travel qualifies for the general license.”


#7

Cuba as we know, is a wonderful place to vacation. And it was great to see new travellers in Cuba; while it lasted. I wish the newbies visited the south coast more often!! Obama did a good thing for the most part. But it appears that lots of Americans are terrified of breaking the new ‘rules’. They need to go using legal ways !! And even though Americans continue their adventures in Cuba, it seems that most USA (Land of the Free) are so concerned about $250K fines and possible prison time are very, very afraid of upsetting the US government. Obviously the US is definitely not the Land of the Free. Seems like they’ve gone back to the Civil War years.


#8

Support for the Cuban People:
The new rules are something like this:
The new regulations will also raise the bar for Americans traveling under the support-for-the-Cuban-people category. They must engage in a full-time schedule of activities that “support contact with the Cuban people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence.” Eating at a private restaurant or other interactions with Cuba’s self-employed sector won’t be enough to qualify for this type of travel, according to the regulations. -Miami Herald

Not that they may ever be enforced but an itinerary that includes visits to charities like churches, visits to farms to discuss agriculture and animal husbandry practices and to museums and local clinics will fill out your schedule. A donation to a church, a purchase of a hand rolled cigar, a sugar cane, a jar of local honey, local coffee beans, a horse riding excursion, using private restaurants, local guides and casas where you engage with the owners and staff will go a long way towards compliance.
And add:
Engage Cubans and record your survey, photos, donations, purchases of local products, local casas, local guides, farms, markets, and anything else you engage Cubans in discussion about changes to their lives through private enterprise.

Marco Rubio would be proud of you.


#9

The Miami Herald did not do much research, did they!
Again, people relying on the media get short changed and maybe scared off.
Maybe they support the Republican position on Cuba and have no intention of providing better information!


#10

I guess there wasn’t enough zing to do a story about changes to one half of one of the 12 categories so they used some of the requirements already in place to pretend that 3 of the 12 were affected.
BS baffles Brains at the Miami Herald. #FakeNews


#11

The Miami Herald is usually one of the most informed sources, and points out:

“The delay in issuing the regulations allowed U.S. companies like Caterpillar, the heavy-equipment giant, to finalize business deals with Cuba that will be unaffected by the new restrictions. The Caterpillar agreement, which allows the company’s Puerto Rican distributor to set up a warehouse and distribution operation at the Mariel Special Economic Development Zone, was announced just last week.”

And most of the press didn´t implied that “people to people” were the only way to travel, whilst the Miami Herald clearly said - “The new rules won’t affect nine other approved categories of travel, including visits to the island by Cuban Americans.”

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article183405526.html

(Although the main change is to the ½ category, there are changes to other parts.)

A subsequent opinion piece criticises the changes - http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fabiola-santiago/article183809946.html


#12

“Support for the Cuban People” official rules:
https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt31.3.515&rgn=div5#se31.3.515_1574


#13

US Customs rules for bring back Alcohol and Tobacco products includes rules for Canadians transiting through US airports:
https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/kbyg/customs-duty-info


#14

Here’s a really good round-up of the rules re travel to Cuba from the US, as they apply today.
In a couple of words, Easy-Peasy.


#15

Yes, it is easy. But you need to know that the author of the article specialises in “people to people” travel, and he is very strong on “compliance”. His website even discusses the old licenses his company got from US Treasury many years ago, and before the general license arrangements came into effect.
The best part of his website is that you can look at the tour details he provides and “customise” these to your own needs if you are one of those people who likes the idea of a backup plan which includes having available a “full-time schedule” of your activities while in Cuba.


#16