US journalist press passes needed for travel to Cuba?
Posted: 24 July 2007 06:42 AM   [ Ignore ]
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When I first went to Cuba in 1990, I contacted the Treasury Dept. in order to get a press pass, but Mr. Stephen Pinter told me that I could not get a press pass as a freelance journalist unless I was “on assignment” from a “legitimate” publication.  I have a college degree in journalism and, at the time, I was the Colorado publisher of The Cuba Advocate newsletter.  Well, I didn’t listen to Mr. Pinter or wait for his permission.  I made my travel arrangements and flew to Havana from Miami.  When I got back, I began issuing press passes to people who wanted to travel to Cuba on assignment from my publication.  After all, how can the Treasury Dept. decide First Amendment issues regarding whether a publication is “legitimate”?

I have not been to Cuba since 1993 and I am wondering about recent experiences that people have had as freelance journalists.

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Posted: 24 July 2007 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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mediagonebad,

Thanks for your post. First, I expanded the title of your post from Press passes to the current title in order to be more explanatory to readers and search engines. If that is a problem and you would like to edit it, simply hit the edit button and re-title it.

Now, about the press passes. I think OFAC would have a hard time making a case against anyone who claims to be a journalist so long as they have some ties to a media outlet including a website.

I do not have a degree in journalism and don’t consider myself to be a journalist but if I wanted to go to Cuba for research to write a story about Cuba, I feel that I would be qualified as Publisher of this site to travel to Cuba on a “general license” which, to my knowledge does not actually exist.

I have asked around and from my research, and a “general license” is not a document that is “issued” so to speak.

If you do claim to go as a journalist, do you need to register in Cuba as a journalist?

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Posted: 24 July 2007 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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With out “official” credentials from a “legitimate” source of journalism.. OFAC will probably make life difficult for you. Just look at what they are doing to Michael Moore. He has already been cited by OFAC for his trip to Cuba for filming “SICKO”  Although I think Moore posesses the reasoning capacity of a house plant;  I think generally, the world views him as a “reporter” (perhaps a very bias one, but… still a reporter)
OFAC has a “different” view of the first amendment.(and other parts of the constitution as well)

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Posted: 26 July 2007 07:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Speaking of Michael Moore, he just announced on “The Tonight Show” that he got a subpoena from the Bush administration for taking volunteer 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba while filming “Sicko.”  It seems BushCo wants to make a high-profile example of him.  Personally I like most of his work, but regardless of that, it is important to support him and thus support the right to travel to Cuba.

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Posted: 02 August 2007 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Michael Moore has been targeted for the simple reason that he is neither a reporter or a journalist. He traveled to Cuba as a propagandist for the regime - something that becomes very evident when watching the scenes concerning Cuba. If he had been presenting facts in an unbiased manner, he would have a strong case against the government. As it is, his goal was to present Cuba as a nation shepherded by a benevolent leader, where everyone receives the same quality of healthcare as is seen in the film, which is of course incorrect. Visit a Cuban hospital/healthcare facility for average Cubans - not party dignitaries and foreign tourists - and this point becomes self-evident.

-Anatasio

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Posted: 02 August 2007 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I agree with you on these points.

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Posted: 02 August 2007 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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although I agree with a lot of what Michael Moore’s points that he makes in his movies are, he definietly is very one sided and from an example in his Bowling For Columbine not even truthful.  He was talking about Toronto and stating that most people don’t lock their doors and Toronto has no gun crimes.  Guess I hang around with the wrong crowd - folks I know sure lock their doors.  And guess he didn’t watch the same news I did - currently had 46th gun homicide.  Two weeks ago an innocent 11 yr old got killed cause he got caught in crossfire between two gangs.  Sure compared to a comparable sized American city, its a low number but not in line with what he said.

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