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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The White House will likely ease some travel restrictions to Cuba by the end of this week.

It has been circulating for the past few weeks now- and this week will determine if it is a go. The White House recently stated that there is a possibility that some travel bans to the island will be ended by the end of this week. The bans that would fall under this new decision would be bans for religious groups, students, educational institutions and several other groups of the like.

This decision likely came as a result of Raúl Castro's government deciding to release at least 52 political prisoners that were imprisoned for opposition to the government of the "Communist" led island. Havana made this decision after intense negotiations with the Roman Catholic church in Cuba.

To date, 24 political prisoners have been released, all being exiled to Spain, with one settling in Chile. The US government has had numerous inquiries from the exiles about the possibility of entering the United States, which the government has decided it will "take a look at".

One can only guess that the end to all of the travel bans, and in turn, the Embargo, are very close.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An end in sight for the harsh travel bans on Cuba.

News has broken from Cancun that according to some congressional leaders, the US travel ban on Cuba has a good chance of ending as early as this summer.

There are at least 60 confirmed Senate votes (a 10% majority) for ending the ban and the House is very close to a majority.

The ban would likely redirect a steady flow of Florida's tourism to the long-forbidden island, and Florida's immense fleet of cruise ships have their compasses pointed for Havana.

At a meeting with Cuban officials in Mexico, US travel leaders discussed future plans for travel between the island and the states, and the effect on Floridian tourism.

I personally believe that these travel bans need to end. They serve no purpose whatsoever. Whoever wants to go to Cuba still can go, they just have to detour through Mexico or Canada. My hopes are that this ban is seeing its final days as the congressional vote approaches.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

There are more Americans in Cuba then you may think.

I read an article today about how simple it really is for Americans who wish to travel to Cuba in defiance of the State Department's harsh rules about travel to the island. Cuban-Americans can go freely since Obama came into office-but that doesn't mean that everyone else can't. 

According to the article- one of the top indirect routes from the United States to Havana is Cancun, Mexico. Cancun offers daily flights to Havana which are relatively short compared to some others which may go through Canada.

It is indeed true that many Americans do travel to Cuba, but it's not getting there that is the problem. It's getting back.

If you travel to Cuba as an American citizen without the proper authorization from the US Department of the State- you may face some problems when you try to re-enter the United States from your midpoint airport. If Customs Officials see that your passport was stamped by Cuba and you do not have the proper  license for traveling there, you may face heavy fines and possibly even prison thanks to the embargo.

As the old saying goes, where there's a will, there is a way. And if you have the will, the way is to not have your passport stamped when you get to Havana. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 90's and the near disappearance of Communism in the world- Cuba's main industry has been tourism. 

Since most of Cuba's annual income is due to tourism, it is well accepted that the Cuban authorities will not stamp your passport for you so you do not face trouble upon your return to the States and you will come back again.

Alas, the best way to go would be the legal way. For those who have opted for that route, there are always the very rare flights on small jets from Miami (and other South Florida airports) that are seen on the departure boards. However, obtaining the proper licensing for traveling to Cuba remains as difficult as ever in the United States. 

Read the original article at: 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cuba must compensate US before we remove the embargo? Ridiculous.

A US lawmaker said this week that before the United States removes it's 50-year old economic embargo on Cuba, Havana should pay the United States 6 billion dollars in compensation for expropriated businesses and property.

When Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, the Revolution took over many US-owned businesses. in 1972, the estimated value of these businesses was 1.8 billion dollars.

Is it right to ask Havana for 6 billion dollars when Cuba's economy is bad enough as it is?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

US and Cuban officials meet but reach no deal on Haiti aid.

What's this? The United States and Cuba actually holding a civilized discussion about something meaningful without bickering at each other? Its about time. 

Jorge Bolanos, who heads the Cuban Interests Section in Washington said that officials from the US and Cuba have met three times to discuss the issue so far, and will likely meet again in the near future. 

Since the quake in Haiti, Cuba has opened it's airspace to the United States so aid transfers can be facilitated between the two enemies. Cuba also dispatched doctors to Haiti following the earthquake, and according to the government, 700 of them remain in Haiti now. 

"That shows the disposition of Cuba to cooperate with any country, including the US", Bolanos said.

Original article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100421/pl_afp/haitiquakeaiduscuba_20100421184609
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Yet again, more people want the embargo ended.

Today, another online newspaper reported the world's desire to see the end to the cruel U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. Morning Star News, a UK news website, stated that many Latin American leaders called for the United States to end the "blockade". 

Heads of state in some of the member nations of Alba (Alternatives for the People of Our America) held a meeting in Caracas and stated that President Obama's policies were "continuing the imperialism that promotes war." 

Presidents of Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and even Cuba declared a "manifesto of independence", demanding that the United States needs to accept "the will of the peoples of Latin America". 

Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, also pointed out that the United States still has a "colonial grip" on Puerto Rico, and that their fight for independence must be supported. 

More and more criticism faces Washington every day about all Latin American policy, especially Cuba. When will the government come to realize that it is time to make some changes?

Original Article: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/89392