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Posted June 11, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Travel

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The Associated Press
The organizers of a sailboat race from Key West to Cuba have been indicted on two counts of providing unlicensed travel services to the Communist island nation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

Peter Goldsmith and Michele Geslin ran the race in violation of the Trading With The Enemy Act, federal officials said. The first count of the indictment could carry as much as a five-year prison term and $250,000 fine; the second count has a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and possible fine of $100,000.

Crews competing in the Key West Sailing Club Conch Republic Cup departed May 22, 2003 for Havana and several Cuban shore communities after receiving pre-race warnings they would be violating U.S. Department of Commerce licensing regulations.

About 20 boats took part in the race, which was then in its third year.

A call placed to the sailing club Thursday evening rang unanswered. A telephone listing in Goldsmith’s name in Key West had been disconnected, and there was no listing in Geslin’s name.

The sailors participating in the race brought humanitarian aid, including medicine, educational supplies, books and food for the Cuban people.

Prosecutors contend Goldsmith and Geslin “organized, administered and operated” the races despite being notified that they needed a license to provide travel services to Cuba from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on June 12, 2004 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Fight it. Stand up and fight it.

    I will give you space at the Havana Journal to say what you need to say.

    You are innocent until proven guilty. Make them prove that Cuba is the Enemy.

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on June 14, 2004 by Ken Wagner

    The regime of G.Bush in Washington has gone way to far and wasted way to much money trying to prosecute Peter Goldsmith and Michele.Whos only crime is to love the sport of sailing and to spread goodwill of other sailors to our fellow human beings to our south.Shame on George Bush and his dictorial stance against Cuba and the sailors who wish to travel there.Trading with the Enemy….So I guess all the European visitors to Cuba are just tourist..

    Stand Tall Peter and Michele…WE stand with you

  3. Follow up post #3 added on July 21, 2004 by Michael Feigin

    George W. Bush will do anything to win the Cuban vote in Miami, even sell out our right to travel freely as Americans.  I thought this was a free country.  I’ve been to Havana, the only one the embargo hurts is the Cuban people who have nothing to do with politics there.

  4. Follow up post #4 added on August 11, 2004 by mac storm

    Dear Friends and Conch Republic Sailors,

      Peter Goldsmith, as Principal Race Officer, with Michele Geslin assisting, has worked for a number of years to promote the Conch Republic Cup Regatta to Cuba. These races were sponsored by the Club Nautico de la Habana as fully hosted events. Humanitarian aid has also been given in connection with these events.

      Since they assisted in these events, Peter and Michele have been indicted by the U. S. Justice Department for violation of the Trading With The Enemy Act because they provided “travel services without a license” from the U. S. Department of Treasury. This is a most ridiculous charge, but, unfortunately they are facing a trial on November 8, 2004; they face substantial legal fees which they can ill afford. If they should lose their case and be convicted, they could face substantial fines and possible incarceration in Federal Prison.

      We want to assist in the cost of their legal defense and are e-mailing each of the past participants, you, and all their good friends to help them beat these unfair charges by our government.

      A web site has been set up at [url=http://www.defendcubasailors.com]http://www.defendcubasailors.com[/url] where you can find out the full story and simply click on the “donate” button to make a secure contribution for their defense. This will be linked to PayPal and a bank account set up for this purpose. Contributions by credit card may also be made at this site.
      The trial has been set for a date after the November elections. We hope that they will get a fair shake in this trial.

      Please support Peter and Michele by sending whatever you can
    (plus a little more). By supporting them in their hour of need, you are also standing up for the Constitutional rights for any citizen of the U. S. to travel anywhere in the world. In the world of international sailing competition and sportsmanship worldwide, there should be no allowances made for politics! Where would the Olympics be today if politics were involved?

      Please log on to [url=http://www.defendcubasailors.com]http://www.defendcubasailors.com[/url] and show your support. This site will also keep you up to date on the progress of the legal proceedings.
                                  Hugh Robinson & Mac Storm   (Savannah,GA)

  5. Follow up post #5 added on August 13, 2004 by Bob Knowles

    I don’t know Peter or Michele. But my wife & I spend lots of time in Key West and you’d have to be a cretin not to sense the strong ties, both cultural and otherwise, between the people of Key West and the people of Cuba. Pandering for votes is to be expected of venal types like the Bushies, but to use the legal system and the threat of huge fines and jail time against two sailors trying to foster closer ties between US sailors & the people of Cuba just goes beyand the pale. My fervent hope is that some really sharp lawyers take on this joke of a case on a pro bono basis and finally get this whole government charade out in front of the American people. I would be amazed if any court, outside of Florida courts, wouldn’t laugh this right out the door. I just made a substantial donation to the defense fund. I hope every other sailor out there, along with every American out there who resents this kind of govt’ heavy handedness, will do the same. Hang in there, Peter & Michele. There are alot of us behind you!

  6. Follow up post #6 added on October 28, 2004 by Norm Maltby

    I wonder if any has noticed that the Key West Symphony Orchestra traveled to Cuba last spring -for a week - w/ a group of musicians, friends, neighbors, spending lots of of $$$$$$$$ & touring for a week before playing ONE concert. They advertised in local papers to get more tourists to go with.

  7. Follow up post #7 added on November 17, 2004 by mac storm

    The good news is that the Indicment against Peter Goldsmith and Michele Geslin has been dismissed. The bad news is that it was dismissed “without prejudice” which means the newly established Bush Government could re-indict on other grounds. Thus, the need still exists to assist in the payment of Attorney Fees which can be quite considerable. Please go to [url=http://www.defendcubasailors.com]http://www.defendcubasailors.com[/url] and check the Donate button. Thanks to one and all.
                        Mac Storm

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