Travel To Cuba Info from WI Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba (and info on 2 trips)

Sep 10, 2017 by

Wisconsin Coalition to Normalize Relations with Cuba

Travel to Cuba

Responsible & Ethical Cuba Travel 

An association of U.S. Travelers to Cuba

Mission Statement

RESPECT (Responsible and Ethical Cuba Travel) is a U.S. professional association uniting nonprofit entities, travel agents, tour operators and other travel service providers dedicated to practicing and promoting ethical and socially responsible travel to Cuba.

Principles

Members of the Association agree to uphold the following principles in organizing travel to Cuba:

  1. We understand that the opportunity to visit Cuba is a step towards promoting mutual understanding and learning, through firsthand respectful exchanges, contributing to more informed, pro-active and responsible global citizenship on the part of all concerned.
  1. We frame our Principles in the context of the internationally agreed-upon UN Sustainable Development Goals and respect for Cuba’s path to sustainable development, as determined by Cubans themselves.  (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs, http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sdgoverview/post-2015-development-agenda.html)
  1. “First do no harm” – the cornerstone of medical ethics worldwide – is fundamental to the principles that guide our organizations and those who travel to Cuba with us, respecting historical sites and natural areas and leaving them as we find them without disturbing their peace and sanctity .
  1. We encourage our travelers – before they travel – to learn about Cuba and its history from a variety of sources, including Cuban sources.
  1. We are committed to transparency in our relations with all Cuban entities and people, accurately and honestly representing ourselves and our intentions.
  1. We affirm our commitment to respect all Cubans, without regard to skin color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, political persuasion, abilities or economic status.
  1. We are committed to upholding non-exploitative relationships with Cuban entities and people, and respect for policies and laws enacted to prevent discrimination and exploitation of all kinds.
  1. We promote health and respectful travel to Cuba and vehemently oppose “sex tourism” and associated businesses in any form, all of these prohibited by Cuban law.
  1. We are committed to support Cuba’s efforts to confront climate change and protect the environment, actively contributing to conservation of energy and water resources, as well as protection of urban and rural landscapes, flora, fauna, beached and marine life.
  1. We will respect the authenticity of Cuban culture, its heritage, multiple roots and manifestations, as well as the cultural contributions of the Cuban people to world culture. We will consciously help to care for and maintain the country’s UNESCO-identified World Heritage Sites and other monuments and sites that constitute part of Cuba’s cultural patrimony.
  1. We will abide by Cuban laws and regulations pertinent to our travel, including but not limited to immigration and customs regulations.
  1. We are committed to protecting the health of our travelers and the Cuban people, by doing our part to keep infectious diseases and prohibited drugs from entering Cuba.
  1. We encourage travelers to purchase products made in Cuba particularly from those who contribute to local development efforts, giving back to their communities.
  1. We uphold the rights of travelers and their hosts in Cuba to be treated with respect and dignity, and commit ourselves to addressing issues of concern in this area through established mechanisms between the Association and its Cuban counterparts, in a spirit of constructive dialogue and joint reflection.
  1. We believe all US citizens and residents have the right to travel to Cuba, and advocate lifting all US governmental travel restrictions to the island.
  1. As an Association, we encourage our members’ efforts to support travel to Cuba of modest means, making the island a destination for the many, not just the few.
  1. The Association supports Cuba’s contribution to the Caribbean as a zone of peace, and as a safe and peaceful destination for all travelers.

RESPETO

Viajes a Cuba éticos y responsables:

Una Asociación de estadounidenses que viajan a Cuba

Nuestra Misión

RESPETO (Viajes a Cuba éticos y responsables) es una asociación profesional estadounidense que agrupa a organizaciones no lucrativas, agentes de viajes, turoperadores y otros proveedores de servicios de viajes, que promueve y realiza viajes a Cuba éticos y socialmente responsables.

Principios.

Los miembros de la Asociación acuerdan mantener los siguientes principios al organizar viajes a Cuba: 

  1. Consideramos que la oportunidad de visitar Cuba es un paso para promover la comprensión y el conocimiento mutuos a través de intercambios de primera mano basados en el respeto, contribuyendo así a la formación de los involucrados como ciudadanos universales más informados, responsables  y proactivos. 
  1. Enmarcamos  nuestros principios  en el contexto de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible de las NNUU aprobados internacionalmente y en el respeto al camino de Cuba hacia el desarrollo sostenible, de acuerdo a la determinación del pueblo cubano.  (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs, http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sdgoverview/post-2015-development-agenda.html)
  1. “Primero que todo no hacer daño”- la piedra angular de la ética y la práctica  médicas en todo el mundo- es el principio esencial y abarcador que aspiramos  guíe a los viajeros con los que compartimos los principios de nuestra Asociación, respetando sitios históricos y áreas naturales sin perturbar su paz y carácter sagrado.
  1. Incentivamos a nuestros viajeros a que consulten diversas fuentes, incluidas las cubanas, para conocer – antes de realizar el viaje a Cuba – sobre el país y su historia.
  1. Nos comprometemos a actuar con transparencia en nuestras relaciones con el pueblo cubano y todas sus entidades, representando nuestra Asociación y nuestras intenciones con claridad y honestidad.
  1. Reafirmamos nuestro compromiso de respeto hacia todos los cubanos, con independencia del color de la piel,  género, orientación sexual, religión, edad, convicción política, facultades  o estatus económico.
  1. Nos comprometemos a mantener relaciones carentes de explotación con el pueblo y las entidades cubanas,  así como a respetar  las políticas y leyes promulgadas para evitar todo tipo de discriminación y  explotación.
  1. Promovemos viajes a Cuba saludables y respetuosos y nos oponemos enérgicamente al “turismo sexual” y a cualquier otro negocio asociado, prohibidos por la ley.
  1. Nos comprometemos a apoyar los esfuerzos de Cuba para enfrentar el cambio climático y proteger el medio ambiente,   contribuyendo de manera activa a la conservación de la energía y los recursos hidráulicos, así como a la protección de los paisajes urbanos y rurales, la flora, la fauna, las playas y la vida marina.
  1. Respetaremos la autenticidad de la cultura cubana, su patrimonio, múltiples raíces y manifestaciones, así como  los aportes culturales del pueblo cubano a la cultura universal. De manera consciente ayudaremos a cuidar y mantener los sitios que la UNESCO ha declarado patrimonio de la humanidad, lo mismo que otros monumentos y sitios que forman parte del  patrimonio cultural cubano.
  1. Respetaremos las leyes y regulaciones cubanas relacionadas con nuestro viaje, incluyendo las regulaciones de aduana e inmigración, aunque no solo  limitados a estas.
  1. Nos comprometemos a proteger la salud de nuestros viajeros y del pueblo cubano haciendo lo que nos corresponda para evitar la entrada a Cuba de enfermedades infecciosas y fármacos o drogas prohibidos.
  1. Estimulamos a los viajeros a que compren productos hechos en Cuba particularmente a aquellos  que contribuyen a los esfuerzos para el desarrollo local y aportan a sus comunidades.
  1. Defendemos los derechos de los viajeros y sus anfitriones en Cuba a ser tratados con respeto y dignidad, y nos comprometemos a atender las  preocupaciones en este sentido a  través  de los mecanismos establecidos entre la Asociación y sus contrapartes cubanas, en un espíritu de diálogo constructivo y reflexión conjunta.
  1. Consideramos que todos los ciudadanos estadounidenses y residentes tienen el derecho de viajar a Cuba y abogamos por el levantamiento de todas las restricciones de viajes a la Isla impuestas por el gobierno de los EEUU.
  1. En nuestra calidad de Asociación, alentamos a nuestros miembros a apoyar los viajes a Cuba de personas con modestos recursos, de manera que la Isla sea un destino para muchos, y no para unos pocos.
  1. La asociación está comprometida a apoyar los continuos esfuerzos por parte de Cuba al Caribe para seguir siendo un destino de paz y seguridad.

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6 CUBA TRAVEL FACTS, from National Lawyers Guild Cuba Subcommittee,  June 21, 2017

1.  The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that we have a constitutional right to travel, but says it is not absolute.

2.  There are 12 categories for U.S. citizens\residents to travel to Cuba & spend money legally, according to the US government.

3.  Congress can change what these 12 categories are; the Administration can change how they are defined and fulfilled.

4.  55 U.S. Senators have co-sponsored a total repeal of those travel restrictions, but the Senate leadership has not allowed a vote. The U.S. House of Representatives with a Republican majority had previously voted to deny any funds to enforce these restrictions; but more recently Speaker Paul Ryan has effectively blocked such a vote in the House.

5.  For only 6 of the 8 years under President George W. Bush, the U.S. attempted active enforcement of these restrictions, but abandoned that in late 2006 after strong opposition, civil disobedience, and other political setbacks.

6. Our standard advice to any U.S. travelers to Cuba 2 is: 1) never lie to a U.S.  government official; and 2) do not supply any information about spending any money in Cuba.  You have a Constitutional right to remain silent about such matters under the 5th Amendment.

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Cuba

Witness for Peace organizes delegations that offer a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities. Now, even more people will be able to benefit from the unique opportunity to visit our island neighbor and learn more about changing U.S./Cuban relations.

WFP takes delegations to Cuba under the “People-to-People” category. This travel category provides for educational exchanges when those exchanges promote people-to-people contact. Delegation themes range from arts and culture to education and law to sustainable agriculture and health care.

If you are interested in planning a delegation to Cuba and have traveled to Cuba at least once, please contact the National Delegations Office at emily@witnessforpeace.org or 773-669-6501.

Please explore our current delegation offerings – and apply once you’re ready!

Upcoming Delegations to Cuba

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A Healthy Cuba, Healthy World:  Linking Culture, Community & Cooperation

SAVE THE DATE!

A five-day interactive conference on health, culture, and history to celebrate the 20th anniversary of MEDICC and its work building US-Cuba health cooperation.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3 – SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2017

Meliã Varadero Hotel, Varadero, Matanzas Province, Cuba

Conference travel is fully legal under the General License of the US Treasury Department (OFAC) regulations, Professional Meetings category.

Family members over 16 years of age may accompany primary travelers.

Full details, registration and travel information coming soon!
Contact:  Christian Vigil at cvigil@mediccglobal.org for more information.

MEDICC, 1814 Franklin St., Suite 820, Oakland, CA 94612

Constant Contact

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Global Awareness Through Experience CUBA trips

2017 Programs:
November 7-17 (night of November 6 at Miami hotel) – Registration Closed
December 1-11 (night of November 30 at Miami hotel) – 9 places available

2018 Programs:
November 7-17, 2018 (night of November 9 at Miami hotel) – register by June 15, 2018
December 1-11, 2018 (night of November 30 at Miami hotel) – register by July 10, 2018

Elements of The Program

We enter Cuba with a Religious Activities visa sponsored through the Cuban Council of Churches. This is a unique opportunity to experience Cuba and her people.

As with other GATE programs, you will learn about:

  • The Cuban Revolution and how it has impacted families and the country
  • The effect of the decades-old blockade on the country
  • The high priority given to education and healthcare for all
  • Recent efforts at organic food production
  • The value given to the arts in people’s lives

Other programmed activities include:

  • A guided tour of the Bay of Pigs Museum
  • A visit to a highly specialized neurological center
  • An ecological preserve
  • A late afternoon visit to the former DuPont home
  • An opportunity to interact with children at a school
  • A presentation on current Cuban family life
  • A presentation on the Cuban system of government
  • Time at a Cuban Art Museum
  • Time in Old Havana and handicraft and art market
  • Families who own their own restaurants
  • A music or dance performance
  • and more!

Program fees: $2,500.00 (includes cost of visa)
Registration fees: $100.00 with completed registration form
Charter flight plus required Cuban health insurance: $469.00 (from December 2016)
Hotel cost in Miami and personal money for souvenirs etc. is not included.

The program fee includes all meals in Cuba, in-country transportation, translation, tips. Many in the previous groups opted for travel insurance in case of plane delays. This is your own choice. Many in the previous GATE groups opted to stay in a Miami hotel the night of our return from Havana. We have a morning flight from Miami to Havana, and a morning flight from Havana to Miami. The time of your connecting flights home would determine the need, or not, of an extra night in Miami.
Lodging in Cuba is in Havana and Matanzas.

While the program fee to Cuba is higher than most GATE programs, I have done a comparison search of other groups who travel to Cuba. Here are some samples:

A national magazine has advertised:

$5,855.00 for an 8-day period in Cuba
$5,980.00 for an 8-day period in Cuba

A national organization has advertised:
$5,770.00 + $380.00 group air travel from Miami-Havana-Miami for 7 days
$5,865.00 + $430.00 group air travel from Miami-Havana-Miami
*Charter flight costs vary by the month

Join us for this unique opportunity to meet our Cuban neighbors! As with all GATE programs, we do not go as tourists. All participants will be receiving a religious visa to enter the country. This does not mean that the focus of the program is church buildings, but rather Cuban people who work to improve life for their brothers and sisters.

Please contact GATE (gate@fspa.org) for more information and/or a registration form Given the advance time needed for visa work as well as group plane reservations from Miami to Havana to Miami, now is the time to register. With so many changes being made in Washington, we do not know how long it may be possible for American citizens to travel to Cuba. Contact us today and register!
Only a few spaces available, click here for registration.

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National Lawyers Guild–Cuba Subcommittee

633 W. Wisconsin Ave. Suite 1410

Milwaukee WI 52303-1918

(414) 273-1040 ext. 12

NLG CUBA SUBCOMMITTEE PLEDGES TO PROVIDE LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO U.S. TRAVELERS TO CUBA, IN SUPPORT OF THEIR RIGHT TO TRAVEL, June 16, 2017

In light of President Trump’s Miami announcement today, seeking to further curtail the right of U.S. residents and citizens to travel to Cuba, the Cuba Subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild reiterates its longstanding support for the right to travel, and pledges to continue to provide legal assistance to U.S. travelers to Cuba.

The NLG through its Cuba subcommittee has been providing legal assistance to U.S. travelers to Cuba for decades, working in the past with the Center for Constitutional Rights. This included during the first six years of the administration of George W. Bush, which initiated an enforcement regime, including a series of “trials for travel,” held in Washington, D.C.  In response, the NLG Cuba SC established a national network of lawyers in 2000 to counsel and advise potential and returning U.S. travelers to Cuba. In the face of civil disobedience and other opposition, all formal enforcement actions effectively stopped by the end of 2006. However, both before and after that, U.S. travelers have faced the fear of both civil and criminal penalties.

“We do not know what kind of enforcement this new administration may attempt, to chill or penalize U.S. residents for exercising their right to travel,” stated Atty. Arthur Heitzer who chairs NLG Cuba Subcommittee, “but we need to be prepared.” Heitzer noted that the government could attempt to go back five years to penalize recent travelers to Cuba, and that no new regulations have yet been issued, nor are they promised sooner than “in the coming months.”

Heitzer quoted a publication issued today by U.S. Department of the Treasury, stating explicitly  that “The President instructed Treasury to issue regulations that will end individual people-to-people travel.” Heitzer added that any such “group” travel which it intends to allow, will be subject to having an on-site “agent” of the U.S.-based sponsoring entity to monitor the schedule for “each traveler” “Corralling U.S. travelers into groups with a U.S. ‘minder’ is antithetical to the proclamation that these restrictions are issued in order to uphold freedom,” Heitzer asserted.

For more information, contact the Cuba Subcommittee of the National Lawyers Guild at (414) 273-1040 ext. 12; email its chair at artheitzer@gmail.com,  or visit http://www.nlginternational.org/cuba-subcommittee/.

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Department of the Treasury – Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Frequently Asked Questions on President Trump’s Cuba Announcement

1. How will OFAC implement the changes to the Cuba sanctions program announced
by the President on June 16, 2017? Are the changes effective immediately?
OFAC will implement the Treasury-specific changes via amendments to its Cuban Assets
Control Regulations. The Department of Commerce will implement any necessary
changes via amendments to its Export Administration Regulations. OFAC expects to
issue its regulatory amendments in the coming months. The announced changes do not
take effect until the new regulations are issued.

2. What is individual people-to-people travel, and how does the President’s
announcement impact this travel authorization?
Individual people-to-people travel is educational travel that: (i) does not involve
academic study pursuant to a degree program; and (ii) does not take place under the
auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such
exchanges to promote people-to-people contact. The President instructed Treasury to
issue regulations that will end individual people-to-people travel. The announced
changes do not take effect until the new regulations are issued.

3. Will group people-to-people travel still be authorized?
Yes. Group people-to-people travel is educational travel not involving academic study
pursuant to a degree program that takes place under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people
contact. Travelers utilizing this travel authorization must maintain a full-time schedule of educational exchange activities that are intended to enhance contact with the Cuban
people, support civil society in Cuba, or promote the Cuban people’s independence from
Cuban authorities, and that will result in meaningful interaction between the traveler and individuals in Cuba. An employee, consultant, or agent of the group must accompany
each group to ensure that each traveler maintains a full-time schedule of educational
exchange activities.

4. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect individual
people-to-people travelers who have already begun making their travel
arrangements (such as purchasing flights, hotels, or rental cars)?
The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations. Provided
that the traveler has already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as
purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to the President’s announcement
on June 16, 2017, all additional travel-related transactions for that trip, whether the trip
occurs before or after OFAC’s new regulations are issued, would also be authorized,
provided the travel-related transactions are consistent with OFAC’s regulations as of June
16, 2017.

5. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect other
authorized travelers to Cuba whose travel arrangements may include direct
transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security
services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy?
The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations.
Consistent with the Administration’s interest in not negatively impacting Americans for
arranging lawful travel to Cuba, any travel-related arrangements that include direct
transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services
that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy will be permitted provided that those
travel arrangements were initiated prior to the issuance of the forthcoming regulations.

6. How do the changes announced by the President on June 16, 2017 affect companies subject to U.S. jurisdiction that are already engaged in the Cuban market and that may undertake direct transactions with entities related to the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba policy?
The announced changes do not take effect until OFAC issues new regulations.
Consistent with the Administration’s interest in not negatively impacting American
businesses for engaging in lawful commercial opportunities, any Cuba-related
commercial engagement that includes direct transactions with entities related to the
Cuban military, intelligence, or security services that may be implicated by the new Cuba
policy will be permitted provided that those commercial engagements were in place prior to the issuance of the forthcoming regulations.

7. Does the new policy affect how persons subject to U.S jurisdiction may purchase
airline tickets for authorized travel to Cuba?
No. The new policy will not change how persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction traveling to
Cuba pursuant to the 12 categories of authorized travel may purchase their airline tickets.

8. Can I continue to send authorized remittances to Cuba?
Yes. The announced policy changes will not change the authorizations for sending
remittances to Cuba. Additionally, the announced changes include an exception that will
allow for transactions incidental to the sending, processing, and receipt of authorized
remittances to the extent they would otherwise be restricted by the new policy limiting
transactions with certain identified Cuban military, intelligence, or security services. As
a result, the restrictions on certain transactions in the new Cuba policy will not limit the
ability to send or receive authorized remittances.

9. How does the new policy impact other authorized travel to Cuba by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction?
The new policy will not result in changes to the other (non-individual people-to-people)
authorizations for travel.  Following the issuance of OFAC’s regulatory changes, travel-related transactions with prohibited entities identified by the State Department generally will not be permitted.  Guidance will accompany the issuance of the new regulations.

10. How will the new policy impact existing OFAC specific licenses?
The forthcoming regulations will be prospective and thus will not affect existing
contracts and licenses.

11. How will U.S. companies know if their Cuban counterpart is affiliated with a
prohibited entity or sub-entity in Cuba?
The State Department will be publishing a list of entities with which direct transactions
generally will not be permitted. Guidance will accompany the issuance of the new
regulations. The announced changes do not take effect until the new regulations are
issued.

12. Is authorized travel by cruise ship or passenger vessel to Cuba impacted by the new Cuba policy?
Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction will still be able to engage in authorized travel to
Cuba by cruise ship or passenger vessel.  Following the issuance of OFAC’s regulatory changes, travel-related transactions with prohibited entities identified by the State Department generally will not be permitted. Guidance will accompany the issuance of the new regulations.

For more information on the National Security Presidential Memorandum visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2017/06/16/fact-sheet-cuba-policy.

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How to Travel to Cuba Now

 CreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times

When President Barack Obama eased restrictions on travel to Cuba, American travelers, tour operators and airlines lost no time. Curious Americans flooded the island’s colonial cities and tobacco-growing plains; Airbnb added thousands of Cuban homes to its offerings; and a handful of American airlines began direct flights to the island.

But new restrictions announced Friday by President Donald Trump could significantly dampen the euphoric boom in American travel to the island. The new rules turn the clock back to the days before the détente, when most Americans could visit Cuba only as part of an organized group rather than under their own steam — making travel to the island more costly and less spontaneous.

They also put hotels and restaurants run by the Cuban military off-limits, obliging travel organizations to scramble for rooms at hotels run by civilian-run Cuban companies. Still, those who cannot find a hotel room could always stay on a boat. Cruises will apparently be unaffected by the new regulations because fees paid to the military for ports and airports will be exempt from new bans.

Travel to Cuba can be confusing in the best of times, and uncertainty about possible policy changes makes planning a trip there more challenging. Here are answers to some of the questions people have right now:

Can Americans still travel to Cuba?

Yes. But, in the case of people-to-people trips, they will no longer be able to travel outside an organized group. Instead, they will have to travel with an organization that holds a license to take groups to Cuba. They may have to apply to the Treasury Department for a license to travel independently for, say, religious reasons.

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