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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Obama lifts Cuban American travel, remittance restrictions - communications too

Posted April 13, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

Excerpts from JENNIFER LOVEN | Associated Press article

President Barack Obama directed his administration Monday to allow unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba, and to take other steps to ease U.S. restrictions on the island, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

The formal announcement was being made at the White House Monday afternoon, during presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs’ daily briefing with reporters. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to upstage the president’s announcement.

With the changes, Obama aims to create new space for the Cuban people in their quest for political freedom and a democratic government, in part by making them less dependent on the Castro regime, the official said.

Other steps taken Monday include allowing gift parcels to be send to Cuba, issuing licenses to increase communications among and to the Cuban people, and expanding the things allowed in gift parcels being sent to Cuba, such as clothes, personal hygiene items, seeds, fishing gear and other personal necessities. The administration also will begin issuing licenses to allow companies to provide cell and television services to people on the island, and to allow family members to pay for relatives on Cuba to get those services, the official said.

U.S.THE WHITE HOUSE - Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 13, 2009

FACT SHEET: REACHING OUT TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE

Today, the Obama administration announced a series of changes in U.S. policy to reach out to the Cuban people in support of their desire to freely determine their country’s future. In taking these steps to help bridge the gap among divided Cuban families and promote the freer flow of information and humanitarian items to the Cuban people, President Obama is working to fulfill the goals he identified both during his presidential campaign and since taking office.

All who embrace core democratic values long for a Cuba that respects basic human, political and economic rights of all its citizens. President Obama believes these measures will help make that goal a reality.

Cuban American connections to family in Cuba are not only a basic right in humanitarian terms, but also our best tool for helping to foster the beginnings of grassroots democracy on the island. There are no better ambassadors for freedom than Cuban Americans. Accordingly, President Obama will direct the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce to support the Cuban people’s desire for freedom and self-determination by lifting all restrictions on family visits and remittances as well as taking steps that will facilitate greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba and increase the flow of information and humanitarian resources directly to the Cuban people. The President is also calling on the Cuban government to reduce the charges it levies on cash remittances sent to the island so family members can be assured they are receiving the support sent to them.

Specifically, the President has directed the Secretaries of State, Treasury, and Commerce to take the needed steps to:

• • Lift all restrictions on transactions related to the travel of family members to Cuba.

• • Remove restrictions on remittances to family members in Cuba.

• • Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.

• • License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into roaming service agreements with Cuba’s telecommunications service providers.

• • License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.

• • License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba.

• • Authorize the donation of certain consumer telecommunication devices without a license.

• • Add certain humanitarian items to the list of items eligible for export through licensing exceptions.

REACHING OUT TO THE CUBAN PEOPLE

Supporting the Cuban people’s desire to freely determine their future and that of their country is in the national interest of the United States. The Obama administration is taking steps to promote greater contact between separated family members in the United States and Cuba and increase the flow of remittances and information to the Cuban people.

Lift All Restrictions on Family Visits to Cuba

We will lift all restrictions on family visits to Cuba by authorizing such transactions by a general license, which will strengthen contacts and promote American good will. We will ensure the positive reach of this effort by:

• • Defining family members who may be visited to be persons within three degrees of family relationship (e.g., second cousins) and to allow individuals who share a common dwelling as a family with an authorized traveler to accompany them;

• • Removing limitations on the frequency of visits;

• • Removing limitations on the duration of a visit;

• • Authorizing expenditure amounts that are the same as non-family travel;

• • Removing the 44-pound limitation on accompanied baggage.

Remove Restrictions on Remittances

We will remove restrictions on remittances to a person’s family member in Cuba to increase Cubans’ access to resources to help create opportunities for them by:

• • Authorizing remittances to individuals within three degrees of family relationship (e.g., second cousins) provided that no remittances shall be authorized to currently prohibited members of the Government of Cuba or currently prohibited members of the Cuban Communist Party;

• • Removing limits on frequency of remittances;

• • Removing limits on the amount of remittances;

• • Authorizing travelers to carry up to $3,000 in remittances;

• • Establishing general license for banks and other depository institutions to forward remittances.

Authorize Greater Telecommunications Links with Cuba

We will authorize greater telecommunications links with Cuba to advance people-to-people interaction at no cost to the U.S. government. This will increase the means through which Cubans on the island can communicate with each other and with persons outside of Cuba.

• • Authorize U.S. telecommunications network providers to enter into agreements to establish fiber-optic cable and satellite telecommunications facilities linking the United States and Cuba.

• • License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into and operate under roaming service agreements with Cuba’s telecommunications service providers.

• • License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.

• • License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba, except certain senior Communist Party and Cuban government officials.

• • Authorize, consistent with national security concerns, the export or re-export to Cuba of donated personal communications devices such as mobile phone systems, computers and software, and satellite receivers through a license exception.

Revise Gift Parcel Regulations

We will expand the scope of humanitarian donations eligible for export through license exceptions by:

• • Restoring clothing, personal hygiene items, seeds, veterinary medicines and supplies, fishing equipment and supplies, and soap-making equipment to the list of items eligible to be included in gift parcel donations;

• • Restoring items normally exchanged as gifts by individuals in “usual and reasonable” quantities to the list of items eligible to be included in gift parcel donations;

• • Expanding the scope of eligible gift parcel donors to include any individual;

• • Expanding the scope of eligible gift parcel donees to include individuals other than Cuban Communist Party officials or Cuban government officials already prohibited from receiving gift parcels, or charitable, educational or religious organizations not administered or controlled by the Cuban government;

• • Increasing the value limit on non-food items to $800.

(Thanks to John McAuliff at the Fund for Reconciliation and Development for the head’s up on this document)

Member Comments

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On April 13, 2009, publisher wrote:

This is big news for all Cuba watchers.

Unfortunately it smacks of Bush “regime change” language but you can’t deny the fact that this move goes well beyond Obama’s campaign promise.

Let’s see how the tiny minority of old Cuban American hardliners react to this. I think they will try to make a big stink about this move but few will care and even fewer will do anything to try to stop this new direction.

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On April 13, 2009, publisher wrote:

On the investment front from 247wallst.com

Investors Taking the Cuba Bet (CUBA)

How long has the U.S. been at odds with Cuba?  For many of us, the answer is “Our entire lifetime.”  And now things may start be finally on track to be turning.  A headline came across the Broad Tape this morning indicating that the Obama administration is set to lift some travel and money restrictions that have been in place against this Island nation for decades. It seems hard to imagine that relations will ever be normal as long as anyone named Castro is in charge of the country, but the criteria for ‘normal’ and the criteria for good news seems suddenly very different in today’s world.  We won’t bother you with a historic dissertation nor will we engage in all of the political and personal issues that have affected many in this regard.  But there is an investor angle here that traders have used as their single US-traded vehicle to invest in the future of a US-Cuba normalization: the Herzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund Inc. (NASDAQ: CUBA).

This news today follows similar news last week that certain travel restrictions may be lifted.  We have covered this closed-end fund on any time that there was a rumor of either the passing of Fidel Castro or when any olive branches get passed between the U.S. and Cuba.  Thomas J. Herzfeld Advisors, an investment advisory firm specializing in the field of closed-end funds, manages this vehicle.

The company listed the following data on its website today, with the values based upon last week’s close: Net Asset Value (unaudited) $4.37; Closing Price $5.72.

This is not just a play on Cuba. It seeks to make investments that the manager feels are likely to benefit from economic, political, structural and technological developments in the countries in the Caribbean Basin.  This starts out listing this as Cuba, but it also includes many more countries: Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Aruba, Haiti, the Netherlands Antilles, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela.

The closed-end fund invests at least 80% of its total assets in a broad range of securities of issuers including U.S.-based companies that engage in substantial trade with, and derive substantial revenue from, operations in the Caribbean Basin Countries.

The company’s listed information at NASDAQ shows it up 10% at $6.20 today, and its 52-week trading range is $3.11 to $9.18 on only about 35,000 shares. (At the close the CUBA fund was up 40% for the day).

Net asset values rise and fall with markets.  Whether or not this is for you is something that is, well, entirely up to you.  Investors should always look at the premium and discount in a closed-end fund and determine what funds really invest in for their own parameters.  These NAV’s are always just benchmarks, but they can be tracked rather easily.

This is deep into micro-cap territory as well.  Some days it trades under 10,000 shares.  When there is news on Cuba-US relations, we see many times the normal volume.

JON C. OGG

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On April 13, 2009, abh wrote:

I find myself personally just as interested in some of the ‘smaller’ changes:

• • License U.S. telecommunications service providers to enter into roaming service agreements with Cuba’s telecommunications service providers.

Yes, please!

• • License U.S. satellite radio and satellite television service providers to engage in transactions necessary to provide services to customers in Cuba.

• • License persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to activate and pay U.S. and third-country service providers for telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite television services provided to individuals in Cuba.

I would like to see how this one works out…

Very interesting indeed.  I wasn’t anticipating that some of these other things would be included.  In my opinion this is a very big step, and some of the smaller things indicate to me that the administration has done its homework.  don’t think the cubans are receptive to the part about putting satelite tv up though… wink

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On April 14, 2009, Cubana wrote:

abh - Cubans are very receptive to putting up receivers to take satelite tv. Just that their government doesn’t allow them to do so.

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On April 14, 2009, paul wrote:

“Tiny minority of Cuban hardliners”

LOL…they definitely had their say in these new policies, and they are the nails on the Cuban government’s coffin. It’s regime change through commerce and communications.

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On April 14, 2009, texasfree wrote:

Everyone knew this day was vastly approaching.  God bless everyone that had something to do with this much needed change.  Stand by as the embargo is totally lifted in the months to come.

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On April 14, 2009, abh wrote:

Cubana: I know.  I have a friend who used to sell them over there.
Clearly not all these proposed changes will be welcomed by the Cuban govenment.
This are very interesting times indeed. 
I personally welcome the changes with open arms.

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On April 14, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Unfortunately the Cuban Goverment is not doing anything to reciprocate Obama’s good gesture and far from that on his last Monday “reflections” Fidel Castro said:

“.....Cuba has resisted and will resist. It will never hold out its hands begging for handouts. It will go on with its head held high, cooperating with the brotherly peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, regardless of whether there are Summits of the Americas, whether or not Obama, a man or a woman, a white citizen or a black citizen presides over the United States.”

It may sound very heroic but it give you an idea that no matter what the US do to solve their differences with Cuba, the Castros would still do everything they can to keep the power and continue oppressing the Cuban people.

Obama is trying to warm the relations and Fidel Castro is talking about “resistance”, ...... this guy would never change.

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On April 14, 2009, publisher wrote:

Agree but the statement did have that “regime change” tone to it regarding how this is being done to get information to the Cuban people.

I don’t expect Raul or Fidel to do much to “reciprocate” because we all know they want and need the Embargo.

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On April 15, 2009, publisher wrote:

The idiot Diaz-Balart brothers announce their stupidity…

By Ian Swanson | TheHill.com

Two Cuban-American GOP lawmakers blasted President Obama’s decision Monday to allow more travel by Cuban-Americans to the island.

Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said Obama’s move was a “serious mistake” and a concession to a dictatorship that has increased its repression of pro-democracy activists. Besides lifting the travel restrictions, Obama said he would allow Cuban-Americans to transfer money to relatives in Cuba.

“President Obama has committed a serious mistake by unilaterally increasing Cuban-American travel and remittance dollars for the Cuban dictatorship,” the two congressmen said in a joint statement.

“Unilateral concessions to the dictatorship embolden it to further isolate, imprison and brutalize pro-democracy activists, to continue to dictate which Cubans and Cuban-Americans are able to enter the island, and this unilateral concession provides the dictatorship with critical financial support,” the two said in their statement.

The Diaz-Balart brothers are among the toughest advocates in Congress of a hard-line approach to Cuba’s government. Lincoln Diaz-Balart was born in Cuba and fled the country with his family after Fidel Castro’s revolution.

Democrats unsuccessfully tried to knock off both GOP lawmakers in last fall’s elections, and the two faced their most serious challenges in years.

Obama won the state of Florida in 2008, partly by winning the Hispanic vote. President Bush had won a majority of the Hispanic vote in 2004.

Another Florida Republican, Rep. Connie Mack, criticized Obama for making the “unilateral” change but said the U.S. should find waysto “strengthen the bonds” of families torn apart by the Castro regime.

“President Obama, however, should not make any unilateral change in America’s policy toward Cuba. Instead, Congress should vigorously debate these and other ideas before any substantive policy changes are implemented,” Mack said.

Lawmakers who favor lifting the economic embargo against Cuba, including Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), said Obama had taken a good first step.

Obama’s moves on Monday were widely anticipated ahead of the Summit of the Americas meeting at the end of this week in Trinidad and Tobago. A host of Latin American leaders had urged Obamato change U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Some had hoped Obama might go further by loosening rules to allow cultural and educational trips to Cuba by Americans.

END

How lifting travel restrictions on their constituents and respecting basic American rights of freedom to travel can be interpreted at “Unilateral concessions to the dictatorship” is beyond belief.

Does anyone even care what these idiots say anymore?

Do their constituents really support this type of antiquated rhetoric?

Are they trying to loose their re-election bids next year?

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On April 15, 2009, Malo wrote:

In Miami, Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart are better known as Dum and Dummer.  The two nephews of ailing Cuban dictator Fidel Castro (no one knows whether Raul is actually related to the Castro Diaz-Balart clan, or to the lechero) are also rummored to suffer, like their uncle, from a chonic case of constipation which prevents them from using their facial muscles to smile, and which also may account for the wide spread belief that they are full of s*it.

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On April 15, 2009, abh wrote:

that is the funniest thing ive heard in quite some time

grin

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On April 15, 2009, abh wrote:

by the way what does lechero mean?

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On April 15, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Yeyo, you missed out the part about Castro saying that the anouncement said nothing about the embargo/blockade as they expected him to do because every other country says it is time to get rid of it and they were expecting an anouncement to be made before the meeting.

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On April 15, 2009, paul wrote:

Well I’d definitely like to hear Obama speak more about Cuba’s human right violations. There’s all this hysteria for America to change, open up to and “understand” the “sovereignty” of Cuban Communism, but we are not requesting anything of Cuba in this new agreement.

Americans can already travel to most of the world. Not being able to sip rum with a Che beret in Varadero is not a big deal. Most Cubans (apart from the handpicked who have learned to say the right things to the outside world) cannot travel without Daddy Castro’s permission slip.

But like I said before, while the weekend communists will get the change to go to Cuba to take cool photos to show on facebook to their buddies, the opposition will have more help with Obama’s changes than ever.

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On April 15, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Hi Pipefitter, actually I didn’t, is just that Castro has been singing that song for so long, when in fact we know that he really wants the embargo to stay in place, that I thought it was not worth to mention.

The main point was to say that while Obama was trying to reach out, he was, as always, making noise instead of apreciating the gesture.

You and I my friend are against the embargo but Castro is pro-embargo, this is a fact.

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On April 15, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Paul, maybe Obama schould also speak about all the human rights violations in China or Saudy Arabia but I know that won’t happen because he needs the saudi oil and, well China almost owns the U.S. doesn’t it.
If you think Castro doesn’t want the embargo lifted, why then doesn’t Obama lift it and call his bluff to see him squirm?

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On April 16, 2009, paul wrote:

Typical leftist reply. Throwing the red herring to talk about other countries.

I care about those issues, and there are people across the political spectrum worldwide that care about those issues in Cuba as well. I also dislike gross civil right violations happening in other countries, and most of the time the US points them out.

I don’t know how many political refugees from Saudi Arabia and China raise hell in America regarding human right violations in their respective countries, but Cubans that left definitely do.

I know you leftists try to lump all Cubans that left as foaming at the mouth miami right wingers, which is nothing more than agitprop bs, trying to nuance a diaspora of varying timelines. 

And as I have said before, which the Publisher should note:

If committed socialists in other countries even ask for the embargo to be lifted, that tells you that they know themselves that the credit embargo will not damage communism on the island.

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On April 16, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

The main reason why the US does not lift the embargo is simply because the people that had been in charge of Cuban policy and issues in the US government for the last 40 or so years do not understand well Cuba and the Cuban problems. In addition to that there are the old hard liners in Miami that also don’t understand that the embargo is beneficial to the Castros and their cronies.

The embargo has actually help Castro selling the notion that all the system problems, the people misery and the economical debacle are related to the embargo when in fact the Cuban problems are caused mostly for his ineptitude doing everything possible to stay in power.

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On April 16, 2009, paul wrote:

A country that hosted nukes, used Soviet money to fight proxy wars around the globe, nationalized US businesses, accepted US felons, amongst other things.

Cuba has been trading with the US for some time already (http://www.cubatrade.org), has multiple global partners, wasted away Soviet dole in warfare, gets subsidized goods from ideological partners, yet the “embargo” is to blame.

Loyal socialists around the world usually say to have the embargo lifted because Castro blames all of Cuba’s problems on it. Giving that military monarchy a blank check will not improve the average Cuban’s life, unless you demand certain things from them in exchange. 

It’s easy to see the loyalty to Cuba’s government when more is asked of the USA than Cuba. Surely the same folks were gushing over the German Democratic Republic and other former Edens of the East.

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On April 16, 2009, abh wrote:

Paul,
I think we’re all pretty familiar with your argument.
I don’t have any need to present the other side.
The only thing I would ask of you is that you don’t forget about those of us who are directly affected by this embargo.  Maybe you are one of these people; I don’t know and you are definitely entitled to your opinions.  I know that everytime I send money I am getting taxed at what I consider an unfair rate (and put through a dizzying set of red tape requirements) by both governments.
I am not satisfied with either government.  My point of view is that I feel that both governments are violating my rights.  I never will be an apologist for the Cuban government, although I recognize that the Cuban people will always guard their sovereignty.  However, I have dedicated myself to spreading the message from the Cuban people that the embargo must end.
I thought everyone on this message board agreed with this basic thesis, but I am more than willing to keep the discussion going until everyone sees that the embargo is a tool to starve the Cuban people until they revolt against their government.  This is an illogical, inhumane, immoral, counter-productive, and foolish policy. 
Thank God for Obama and his willingness to turn over a new leaf so that the next generation of Cuban Americans can step in and work for a brighter future.  Cursed be those who will stand in our way in the name of some failed policy that was designed to protect the rich and well connected, under a false guise of Cuban patriotism.  Its a new day, and the sooner that the Castros and all the right-wing exiles realize this the better.

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On April 16, 2009, paul wrote:

I wouldn’t even dare to call the Cuban government the representative of its’ people. The Cuban government speaks for the people, silences anything but officially sanctioned opinions, and is afraid of what Castro refers to as -so called- bourgeois rights.

The credit embargo is not the problem, it’s the gatekeepers of progress aka the Cuban government. There is plenty of money in Cuba, which is tightly held in the hands of nomenklatura and the military monarchy.

Your voice of CAMBIO must be just as loud for the Cuban government to drop that absurd and geriatric form of government. You don’t need a police state to give people so called free healthcare and indocr…I mean education.

Communism isn’t the voice of Cuba, and it is so shameful that posters here treat it with kid gloves.

btw…Communism protects the rich and well connected as well…read the history of many of the former USSR leaders and you’ll plainly see it.

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On April 16, 2009, abh wrote:

Paul,
I must say respectfully that I think you missed my point.
I am not interesting in arguing communism vs capitalism.  I think that argument has been repeated ad nauseum and it doesnt interest me in this forum.
Let me make my agenda clear: I don’t particularly view either government as friendly to my needs.  However I do feel responsible, as a US citizen, to represent the voices of the Cubans I know.  I have never met a Cuban (living in Cuba) who supports the embargo.  Maybe I should clarify that I have also never met any Cuban government officals, and I can’t think of any people among those who I know who are members of the communist party.
Any interaction I have with Cuba involves the meddlesome governments of one or both countries.  An example could be the laborious process of sending money.  Again, thanks to recent moves from the new US administration, this process should now be easier. 
Clearly there are numerous complaints and demands that any reasonable Cuban can have about that government.  Needless to say I have many.  But as a US citizen I feel a passionate desire as well as a responsibility to demand an end to the embargo.  It negatively impacts me personally every day.

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On April 16, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

I count myself among the ones affected by the embargo and I hope it would be lifted soon.

However I want the embargo to be lifted not only by the US but also by the Cuban Government.

Now, whenever you send money to Cuba nobody tax you except the Cuban Government that imposes you a 20% mark-up on the exchange of every US dollar.

I agree that the travel ban is actually violating the rights of every citizen affected by it, but now that we mention it, we should remember that the first party in violating not only the travel rights but every single human right of its own people is the Castro regime.

Very few people seem to remember that Cubans are among the few and probably the only Country in the world where their own citizens need visas to go to their own Country. Additionally the money grabbing “socialist” Cuban Government no matter what is your present citizenship once you were born in Cuba forbid you to enter to Cuba with any passport other than the Cuban and a special Cuban Visa. Obviously Cuban passports are the most expensive in the world, an extremely good hard currency source.

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On April 16, 2009, paul wrote:

I demand an end to authoritarianism. Lifting the credit blockade and not applying pressure for Cuba to change is backwards. As a Cuban exile, it’s surprising that you only care about being able to send cash to your family enslaved on the island…I mean…Americans will eventually be able to travel to Cuba, but there is zero advocacy for Cubans to freely travel as well.

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On April 16, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Send money in Euros or Canuck dollars and you won’t get the 10% tax.

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On April 16, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Trying to apply pressure to the Cuban government by maintaining the embargo is only hurting the Cuban people. By eliminating the embargo it will open a floodgate of change and the Cuban people will force the government in time to adapt to this new reality.

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On April 16, 2009, abh wrote:

My friends,
please consider that I view this forum as a way to educate those interested in Cuban issues and especially how those issues are played out in the United States.  This blog is an anti-embargo blog in my view, for very mainstream, capitalist reasons.  It seems to me that if you want capitalism in Cuba you would want the embargo to be lifted.  That’s my point of view.  Lets demand an end to authoritarian regime for sure, but heres the question: Do you think I, as an American citizen, hold any sway in Cuba in creating political change on the island?  Of course not. 

Pipefitter: But I can’t just walk into a Western Union on the street here in the US and hand them foreign money right?  Are you sayinig there’s a way to pay Western Union in dollars and have them convert it?

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On April 16, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

#24 Yeyo, Thats not quite true, my wife was born in Cuba and she can travel with a Canadian passport as she has done before.

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On April 16, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

We can’t send money to Cuba via western union because as soon as we tell them we want to send it to Cuba they say they won’t send it. What we do is get our bank to do a money transfer to our families bank. You can get them to send it in whatever funds you want. Maybee the banks in the U.S. arn’t permitted to do that. Dambed embargo. Maybee a Canadian bank in the U.S. will send it via Canada.

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On April 17, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Hey pipefitter if your wife is doing that good luck but she is in clear violation of the Cuban law. There are over a million Cubans now citizens of other countries and have to buy and cuban passport and pay for the renovations only because they are not permitted to go to Cuba with other passport than the Cuban.

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On April 17, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Yeyo, she has traveled with both no problem.

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On April 17, 2009, abh wrote:

Yeah in the US you have to search for specific Western Union locations.  The vast majority do NOT send to Cuba, but there are certain locations that DO legally send money to Cuba.  You have to fill out a form saying that you’re not sending it to government officials or communists or whatever.  I believe this is from the Cuban Adjustment Act if I’m not mistaken.  And of course the maximum you can sent is $300 every three months, although this rule was just changed by the Obama administration.  Does anybody know if these changes have taken effect officially yet????
Then of course el jefe me coje 18% porque le da la ganas. 
I know that in the US there’s no way I could send money through a normal bank.  I have heard of other services that somehow arrange a money transfer but I’ve never been able to successfully arrange that.

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On April 17, 2009, Yeyo wrote:

Hey Pipefitter, thaks for the update, good to know. I would find out because we are preparing to go in the near future but were holding on due to having to obtain new / renew the Cuban passports, entry authorizations etc.
If we can now go with our Canadian or American Passports that would certainly be a nice step on the right direction.
Any idea someplace where we can confirm this?

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On April 17, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

Yeyo, you still have to get a visa from the Cuban Consolate so the cost isn’t much different. I think this applies to people that left Cuba before 1/1/71. Take a look at this site:-
http://www.nacionyemigracion.com/InfConsular/TramitesConsulares_HabilitacionPasaportes.html

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On April 17, 2009, pipefitter wrote:

abh, you could try and see if you can do it through a Canadian bank.