US man to pay fine for unauthorized 1998 Cuba visit

Discussion in 'Other North America/non U.S.' started by sobore, Jul 25, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-usa-cubatravell2e8iod7m-20120724,0,1092262.story

    New York man agreed on Tuesday
    to pay a $6,500 fine to settle a long-running dispute with the
    U.S. Treasury Department over a trip he made to Cuba as an
    unauthorized tourist 14 years ago.

    Zachary Sanders, now 38, said he was 23 and had been living
    and teaching English in Mexico when he decided to go to Cuba for
    a couple of weeks in 1998.

    I wanted to learn about how a socialist country worked in
    practice," Sanders said in an interview. "I had no illusions.
    ... I'm not like some diehard supporter of the (Cuban)
    government or anything like that."

    Read More: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-usa-cubatravell2e8iod7m-20120724,0,1092262.story
     
  2. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    It's a free world, let the man go and let people travel, there is now way he shall comply IMHO!:confused:
     
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  3. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Yeah tell that to the Cubans in South Florida and the politicians (mostly GOP) who are scared s****** in opposing their absolute hatred of all things related to current Cuban Govt.

    Its amazing that we fought a war in Vietnam after Castro came to power yet we now have better relations with country.
     
  4. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    Anti-Castro campaigning is a way of life in South Florida, and no one party has a lock on it.
    You're running under the assumption that 'Merica is still a free country.
     
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  5. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    US Cuba travel policy is absolute insanity, and more than a little bit counterproductive...
     
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  6. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Yeah I know, I dream a lot lately!:D
     
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  7. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Well observed and very true!:cool:
     
  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    There is some truth here, but honesty demands that I protest "...(mostly GOP)..." because all stripes of US politicians seem to quail in front of the aged Cuban immigrants from the 1960's. Marco rubio even had to invent an earlier date of US entry for his parents in order to curry favor with these old people.

    The oddity here is why this guy was singled out. Everyone else either gets a legal permit or just ignores it and nobody bothers them. Of course if you want to take AA or another US carrier you do need the legal permit. I have never had a permit, nor has anybody ever glanced at me or anybody else I know. By all means I do not scream to advertise my travels.
     
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  9. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Its quite true that politicians on both sides of the isle are quite afraid of confronting the Cubans in Florida on the face it the main reason for those outside the state is that Florida is a large swing state that they are concerned about upsetting even such a relatively small demographic. That said however I dare you to name one Cuban-American member of congress, member of the Florida house/senate past and present etc etc that is not a member of the GOP.
     
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  10. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Of the six Cuban-Americans in Congress, two are Democrats, one Senator and one Representative. The other four are Floridian Republicans.
    http://www.menendez.senate.gov/
    http://sires.house.gov/

    I do not argue that Cuban-American politics are not Republican-dominated. I don't argue that their dominant interest is Cuban politics either. My own US Representative (actually the US Representative from my district, she would not even reply to my request for service) Ileana Ros-Letinen refused to assist many people who made their requests in English, never officially, but our letters and phone calls were just never returned. She is quite powerful and is probably quite typical of the lobby to which you refer, to the extent that her husband had to quit teh Democrat party before she married him.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ileana_Ros-Lehtinen

    My point is that younger Cuban-Americans are not so devoted to the ultra-right-wing politics that their parents brought with them from Batista-era Cuba. That does not make them liberal nor conservative. That does make them tired of the anti-Castro polemic. The further away from Miami that Cuban-Americans get the less likely they seem to be to maintain their attitudes.

    So, we probably do not too much disagree, except that i think the Cuban-born Batista-types are dying out without successors, as are castro loyalists in Cuba. Thus, I think we'll see major change within the next five years on both sides of the Cuban issues.
     
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  11. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    The funny thing is that inside the Florida Cuban community, views are fairly split, and given demographics, an increasing number, if not majority, would like to see travel restrictions lifted. The problem lies in the overwhelming political power of a relatively small group of old guard Cubanemigrants and large corporations (can anyone say Bacardi) with massive land claims....
     
  12. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Precisely! ...and the continuing renewal of the prohibition of the suing provisions of the Helms-Burton law never removes the aura of discontent over aging old-guard rum and cigar makers, casino, brothel and hotels owners and the entire plantation class. Only death will reduce that political issue.
     
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  13. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    We were on a trip with an 20 something Iranian green card holder last week.

    He told a story of arriving at Dulles (IAD) for the first time and spending hours at immigration waiting for the immigration officials to complete their questioning/arguing with a US citizen who had visited Cuba. Three hours later he was passed through immigration with almost no review. I found that rather interested considering he is young and from one of the so called axis of evil countries - versus a detailed review of a citizen who visited Cuba.

    Of course the US citizen felt it was completely within his rights to visit Cuba.
     
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  14. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    As it is, even the US agrees about that. The issue is spending money there rather than going, thus the regulation is financial, related to the embargo, rather than immigration. It may make no difference if you're held up in an immigration queue. IME to be subject to that you really would need to work at it to have them notice that you've just been to Cuba, and there are people, such as the one we have in the OP's quote, who have forced the issue.
     
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  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    it probably didn't help that he was caught with a box of Cuban cigars.
     
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  16. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    No, probably not, however...
    Arriving at JFK a few years ago a customs man looked in my bags and found two boxes of Montecristo #3, a great favorite of a cigar-smoking friend. He looked and said "where did you get these?". I responded "ahhh, is there a Habana in Jamaica?". He responded, "I don't know but you're allowed fifty cigars and you have fifty here, enjoy those Jamaican cigars". My experience has never included confiscation nor any question about where I'd been other than this single incident.
     
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  17. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    Dead give away...
     
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  18. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    This is part of the equation that has always puzzled me. Not only folks that "force the issue" get popped by Treasury Department. I know of several cases first hand, and I've studied the issue previously. Very, very few go to trial (these are the folks "forcing" the issue). Most settle. From what I've heard, it's fairly easy to negotiate down the initial threat of 10 years in jail and $10,000 in fines to the $1-$2K fine neighborhood.

    Still, it's my theory that in this post-9/11 era the US govt absolutely must know the identity of every US citizen who travels to Cuba, whether via Toronto, Jamaica, Cancun, Costa Rica, Bahamas, etc... Heck I'll bet they know of every sailor who drops anchor and heads to the Hotel Nacional for a mojito. However, enforcement is very spotty and haphazard.
     
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  19. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Since they're sold almost everywhere other than the US I tend to doubt that this is such a signal. They're also cheaper at Dubai Duty Free as well as many other places, and the best selections are not necessarily in Cuba, they really do like the export revenues, even though they must normally be bought in foreign currency within Cuba. Hint, if you're US origin and you're there without a US treasury license don't forget cash, not that MC, V, D and AE work there anyway.
     
  20. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    You're right of course. I live in Costa Rica and my dad (RIP) used to always have me bring him a Cohiba or two.... And actually, my experience is that non-US issued credit cards (Visa and MC at least) do work in Cuba.
     
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  21. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    True, but using them still produces a trackable US record due to the availability of association reporting processes. That said, every Brazilian I know pays with Brazilian-issued cards for hotels and formal purchases. I have not seen any of the wonderful house-based restaurants accepting cards, but even some of them may do so now. Do you know about that?
     
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  22. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    nope, no info on that, but doubt the paladares can accept credit cards and probably won't be able to for the foreseeable future. But state run hotels/car rentals/restaurants and all the Melias, etc... yup. And of course yr right, a non-US issued card to a US citizen would be trackable. But as I wrote earlier, I can't imagine that the person isn't already being tracked (via flight records, etc). Sure, the cc spend "proves" the person is spending money...
     
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  23. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    OTOH, a dual citizen who's using a non-US passport and a CC issued in the non-US country with eligibility based on non-US assets is almost impossible to track, which may be part of your point.
     
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  24. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    And preferably non USD cash as the exchange rate is better. Fortunately I have always sufficient Euros on hand that I didn't have to use any USD (and the major expenses -- most meals, hotels, transportation -- were paid for with a US credit card as it was an organized trip).
     
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  25. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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