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Cuba

Old 12-18-14, 05:30 AM
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Cuba

Anyone know how Obama's loosening of relations with Cuba will affect the ability of US citizens to tour there. Tourism isn't blessed yet, but there is now a long list of ways in including:
  1. family visits
  2. official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments and certain intergovernmental organizations
  3. journalistic activity
  4. professional research and professional meetings
  5. educational activities
  6. religious activities
  7. public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  8. support for the Cuban people
  9. humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  10. exportation, importation or transmission of information or information materials
That has me thinking that it might not be too difficult to do a bike tour there with a little creativity in justifying it.

Last edited by staehpj1; 12-18-14 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 12-18-14, 06:11 AM
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Oh, you mean the Cuban Missile Crisis is over? And our Government has just now figured that out?

According to Reuters

Travel restrictions that make it hard for most Americans to visit will be eased, but the door will not yet be open for broad U.S. tourism on the Caribbean island.
So, I think this is a move in the right direction, but it really needs some Congressional Action to back it up.
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Old 12-18-14, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Oh, you mean the Cuban Missile Crisis is over? And our Government has just now figured that out?

According to Reuters



So, I think this is a move in the right direction, but it really needs some Congressional Action to back it up.
Congress isn't able to agree on what time of day it is let alone do something sensible like easing travel restrictions.
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Old 12-18-14, 08:36 AM
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Lots of loopholes in that list...must be one or two big enough for a cycle tourist. Score 1 for common sense, 0 for hypocrisy.
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Old 12-18-14, 08:57 AM
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So, go visit a family there. Or go to church. Meet a professional. Use your imagination, and go if you really want to go.
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Old 12-18-14, 09:13 AM
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Looking around at travel.state.gov, it looks like (sanctioned) travel to Cuba currently requires a license from Office of Foreign Assets Control, where OFAC is implements the laws on the books. My guess is OFAC might be more lenient in granting such licenses but an officially sanctioned trip might still require some red tape - at least unless laws are changed by congress.
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Old 12-18-14, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
Looking around at travel.state.gov, it looks like (sanctioned) travel to Cuba currently requires a license from Office of Foreign Assets Control, where OFAC is implements the laws on the books. My guess is OFAC might be more lenient in granting such licenses but an officially sanctioned trip might still require some red tape - at least unless laws are changed by congress.
It will be interesting to see how that all shakes out in actual practice. I don't have plans of going to Cuba in the very near term, but it is something I have often thought of so maybe sometime in the not too distant future I may go if it is feasible. It is much more feasible since I am retired form a job where the DOD frowned on my travelling to a lot of places and I no longer have a security clearance to worry about.

It may be that a bigger hurdle is language as I know almost no Spanish. Maybe I should start working on at least some rudimentary Spanish I imagine it is possible to get by with only a little Spanish and a phrase book though.
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Old 12-18-14, 09:36 AM
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(Use the I DREAM OF JEANNIE tune)

It's good to be a Canuck
So good to be a Canuck.
Nya nya you're not a Canuck,
I Am. Canadian!

But sadly, family vacations to Cuba are out for now. My wife's not a Canuck.

Last edited by auldgeunquers; 12-18-14 at 09:37 AM. Reason: smiley added, spelling
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Old 12-18-14, 11:03 AM
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Here is a great book about a woman's solo bike tour of Cuba, a great read if you are interested in cycling on the island.

The Handsomest Man in Cuba: An Escapade: Lynette Chiang: 9780762743902: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 12-18-14, 12:18 PM
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Check with U.S. Department of State , a much more reliable source on the situation, than a Bike Forum .
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Old 12-18-14, 04:29 PM
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I went as an ordinary independent cycle tourist about seven years ago, but then I'm not American.
The flight was expensive (1,000 rtn) and while an interesting experience not worth repeating.
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Old 12-18-14, 05:44 PM
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More questions than answers right now. Here's a somewhat informative article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/19/tr...ay-change.html

I heard a story on the radio today which said that the US State Dept. will be making changes to the travel rules fairly quickly, within weeks rather than months.
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Old 12-18-14, 07:11 PM
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strap your Huffy onto a couple of oil barrels, float over, and if caught, say you're a refugee from the U.S.
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Old 12-18-14, 09:31 PM
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Americans have been ignoring the travel restrictions for years. If you want to go, just fly to Mexico City and arrange a visit from there. The Cuban authorities will clip a paper into your passport instead of stamping it so that when you return to The Land of the Free the immigration authorities will be none the wiser.
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Old 12-19-14, 06:53 AM
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https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/..._id=12248&v=A9
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Old 12-19-14, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Americans have been ignoring the travel restrictions for years. If you want to go, just fly to Mexico City and arrange a visit from there. The Cuban authorities will clip a paper into your passport instead of stamping it so that when you return to The Land of the Free the immigration authorities will be none the wiser.
Awwww...you beat me to it! It's pretty common here for the expats to take a trip over to Cuba. I haven't done it yet, but would like to. Like Staeph, I was a bit worried about the restrictions (ret military, clearance, blah, blah, blah), but it really is one of those "wink, wink" things. If you want to go, just take a minor side trip through Mexico and enjoy!
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Old 12-19-14, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dengidog View Post
Awwww...you beat me to it! It's pretty common here for the expats to take a trip over to Cuba. I haven't done it yet, but would like to. Like Staeph, I was a bit worried about the restrictions (ret military, clearance, blah, blah, blah), but it really is one of those "wink, wink" things. If you want to go, just take a minor side trip through Mexico and enjoy!
I'd say go sooner than later while the island is still unique. I have nightmares about walking around Havana and being surrounded by Starbucks, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken...

Last edited by Ekdog; 12-19-14 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 12-19-14, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ekdog View Post
i'd say go sooner than later while the island is still unique. I have about nightmares walking around havana and being surrounded by starbucks, mcdonald's, kentucky fried chicken...
amen!!!
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Old 12-19-14, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
I'd say go sooner than later while the island is still unique. I have nightmares about walking around Havana and being surrounded by Starbucks, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken...
The joke among Canadians is that they had better hurry up and visit Cuba NOW! before it is spoiled by the American tourists...

Actually, I don't think it's a joke.
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Old 12-19-14, 05:03 PM
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Cuba by bike , learn about rum , a little history , ride a bike to give away !"Bikes For Cuba "
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Old 12-20-14, 01:34 AM
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I was Cycling in Eastern Europe just a couple years after the Warsaw Pact went Poof!, probably similar .
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Old 12-20-14, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
I'd say go sooner than later while the island is still unique. I have nightmares about walking around Havana and being surrounded by Starbucks, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken...
I agree! My daughter was down there for close to a month as part of an educational exchange. That was one of the things that she noted was the lack of crass commercialism.

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Old 12-20-14, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
I agree! My daughter was down there for close to a month as part of an educational exchange. That was one of the things that she noted was the lack of crass commercialism.

Aaron
Yes, that's one thing I loved; another was the lack of automobile traffic. When I was there, during the very difficult Special Period of the 1990s, the country was facing an oil shock, and they'd imported over a million Flying Pigeon bicycles from China and manufactured half a million more themselves.

If any of you are interested in how they dealt with this situation, here's an excellent documentary:


Last edited by Ekdog; 12-20-14 at 07:19 AM. Reason: Changed some numbers.
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Old 12-20-14, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
strap your Huffy onto a couple of oil barrels, float over, and if caught, say you're a refugee from the U.S.
Thanks for the laugh.

I have two American friends who I believe went there to ride relatively recently. I will reach out to one of them.
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Old 12-20-14, 01:40 PM
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I've been to Cuba three times. I can tell you the infrastructure for visitors is well-established, as evidenced by millions who come each year, mostly from Canada but to a lesser degree from UK, Germany and other places. However, everything I have seen assumes you are staying at an all-inclusive hotel, and perhaps taking organized day tours via bus.

I think it would be challenging to bicycle in the non-touristic areas. Maybe not impossible, but not easy. Cycletourists should not count on finding accommodations, provisions, replacement bicycle parts, banks, and tourist offices in towns and villages. You would need to be self-reliant. Visitors are barred from using Cuban pesos; not sure non-convertible pesos are exchangeable beyond the walls of the hotels and tourist traps. Need to use a credit card in a small town? Don't count on it!

The Cubans I have met in smaller places have been genuinely warm toward visitors. That in itself could make for a great bicycle tour.

If you go, stay far away from recreational drugs. There is zero tolerance in Cuba. The counts allow for the death penalty (or 20+ years) for drug-related offences.

I have spotted the rare cycle tourist in Cuba. Would enjoy hearing about their experiences!

Last edited by acantor; 12-20-14 at 01:46 PM.
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