Cuban born US Citizen. Travel question
Posted: 05 November 2008 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
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My father left Cuba in the 1950ís and has never been back.  He became a US citizen in 1981.  He had never expressed an interest in going back there as he has made a life here and this is now his country and el exilioÖ well you know the shared feeling.

My father has been diagnosed with a form of Leukemia, was treated for prostate cancer and has bladder cancer. Needless to say, he is not doing well.  He is a very ill man. Recently, he did express a desire to see Cuba once more.

This broke my heart as I could feel the longing and see the reflection in his eyes.

Letís say, hypothetically of course, we did manage to make it there, would we have a problem getting out?  I was born here and would have to take my infant son with me.  I have absolutely no desire to give that government a penny but from what I understand, upon arrival, they have to see that we have accommodations at a hotel.

Any info would help.

Thanks from my heart.

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Posted: 05 November 2008 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You can go to Cuba if you have immediate family there. Obama will most likely lift the restriction on Cuban American travel early next year.

There is a $25 exit fee to leave Cuba. Getting out of Cuba is not the problem, getting through customs in the US may be a challenge.

You should be able to find a humanitarian mission that you can travel with.

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Posted: 06 November 2008 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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No family. They all left.  If any, there are distant cousins and we know, the view is, those don’t count.

My concern was being able to get out of Cuba as as a deterrent perhaps, the US says that Cuba does not acknowledge US citizenship for those born in Cuba and can whisk those away without the ability to communicate their predicament.

I thank you for your response.

By the way, thanks for this site.

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Posted: 06 November 2008 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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maybe some who have travelled both legally and illegally can give specific experiences, but I’ve heard of several Cuban Canadians who return regularly and about the only hassles they report is with Aduana (Cuban customs) because ex-Cubans returning often try to bring a whole department store with them, so even if you’re not bringing much, you still can be expected to have your suitcase checked.
If I understand correctly, former Cubans still have to travel on a Cuban passport and the Cuban police, courts etc will not let your new country assist you (as they would if you had no Cuban background) if you got yourself into any legal difficulties, either real or contrived.

I assume immigration maintainsd a database of US based agitators and former officials of the Battista government they still have a score to settle with so if he appears on these lists he could face everything from being denied entry to arrest and prosecution.

Hoping it all works out and he realizes his wish to see his old homeland one more time. He may not like everything he sees, but I think he’ll still appreciate going home one more time.

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Posted: 06 November 2008 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hi there,

You have to approach this situation from two sides - the Cuban “government” side and the U.S. government side.

CUBAN GOVERNMENT

If your father left Cuba prior to January 1, 1959, he will have no problem returning on a U.S. passport. There’s no issue there whatsoever. Might as well be travelling to Jamaica.

Now, if your father left after 1/1/‘59 he’ll need to obtain a Cuban passport - -as his U.S. passport and citizenship will not be honored. This does not mean they’re going to kidnap him and conscript him into the military or anything silly like that. It’s merely a power-play on the part of the Cuban government. Totally hollow.

I’ve heard from some folks that if you left after 1970, you need the Cuban passport - but before ‘70 it is not necessary - conflicts with what I listed above, I know. In my aunt’s case, this was not true. She left in 1961 and when we were getting her paperwork together for a trip in 2003, she was obliged to get a Cuban passport. This could be because her last name tripped an alarm bell and they simply wanted to give her a hard time, however (our family is very well know in Cuba).

Just call the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, DC (you can google them). They’ll be able to assist you with this.

As for you, again, there should be no problems. If your dad left pre-‘59 it’s a breeze. If he left after ‘59, the folks in customs (Havana) might give you this silly speech on how you are a duel Cuban/U.S. citizen since your father is still considered a Cuban citizen, blah, blah, blah but again, it’s all hollow nonsense meant to simply intimidate you and, to be honest, I think they’ve stopped using a lot of these intimidation tactics in Racho Boyeros (the airport) in the last two years. I only say this because I have not had the problem at all during my last two visits.

U.S. GOVERNMENT

It’s simple, to travel to Cuba (under current Bush laws) legally, you need to have either a parent, child or sibling on the island. Other family is not considered “family,“as George Bush, in an incredible scientific breakthrough, actually altered the human genome.

So, you’ll have to go through a third country like the Bahamas or Mexico. If you go this route, make sure you buy your ticket from, say, Mexico to Havana - in cash in Mexico. you don’t want a paper trail. And for god’s sake, don’t bring ANYTHING back that says you’ve been to Cuba. Cuban customs will not stamp American passports by the way.

I’ve never had to travel illegally to visit family as, I am also a journalist and fall under the general license provision meaning I simply sign an affidavit, send it to the OFAC office in DC and just buy a ticket from Miami.

If I can give you any more advice, just let me know.

Cheers, and good luck.

Anatasio

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