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Cuba, an American perspective

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posted on Aug, 4 2016 @ 02:08 PM
I recently sailed to Cuba from Key West. I requested and received a permit for journalism to go legally, it was not difficult to do. I also know of several who just go and and come back with out doing the paper work. I do find it embarrassing a nation that we do not have open borders with Cuba for tourism.

I sailed into Marina Hemingway where first I was cleared by a doctor, then the Coast Guard and was given a slip at the Marina, there the dockmaster and Agricultural Inspector came on board. All of the Cuba officials were friendly and I did not have to pay anything until I checked out of the Marina.

Marina Hemingway has nice facilities. Most items are reasonably priced, beer is 1.50 CUC a can, rum is cheap, ice is rare, so is toliet paper. The official exchange rate is 0.87CUC for $1, however one can ask around and get a better exchange rate. CUCs are the tourist money, the locals use libres and generally get a much better price than the tourist despite the exchange rate being about 25:1.

The infrastructure, roads, and public transportation is pretty good, though the power grid and plumbing is questionable in the lower income areas. The people are friendly, though like anywhere in the world people will try to hustle you when they know you are an American. I also noticed almost everyone had phones, and many had smart phones.

Havana is about a 45 minute drive from Marina Hemingway and I spent a day over there. There are some rough looking buildings, but overall the city is fairly modern though much more pricey than the town outside Marina Hemingway.

My trip was cut short due to weather concerns and I wish I could have seen more. Getting home the US Customs were not exactly friendly, one guy insisted I told him my purpose was for tourism NOT journalism, despite what my permit said and what I said. They were bullies for a few minutes but finally cleared me. It is disheartening that I was treated better by the Cuban government officials than the US Customs.

posted on Aug, 4 2016 @ 02:21 PM
a reply to: jrod

Great thread. I know what you mean by customs being not so nice. I flew to the Phillipines. Their customs agents were super nice and I had no problems.

Flying back to the USA was another story. I landed at LAX, waited in line for almost two hours to go through customs. They ask my if I was declaring anything. I said no. The agent said you have been there for 30 days according to my passport. I said yes I have. They empied my suitcase and searched and found nothing.

posted on Aug, 4 2016 @ 03:06 PM
a reply to: jrod

Cheers man, awesome!

Did you are do you have more planned on the journalism front?

I remember reading the thread you wrote about going on this trip, it's a shame the journey was cut short but as they say safety first. From what I gather smart phones and the hype around them is just for us westerners, a phone that can browse the internet, take videos and call people will set you back $30 it's just culture insists that only the latest and greatest will do.

It always seemed to me that Cuba would be the biggest and nearest culture shock an American could have, it's seems to me the bigger shock was the lack of difference. Would I be right?

posted on Aug, 4 2016 @ 03:31 PM
I have always wanted to Scuba in Cuba. The late Jacques Cousteau once said that he saw more fish on Cuban reefs than anywhere else in the world.

“Americans still cannot not simply book a flight and head to Cuba, although that should be possible by the end of 2016. Most U.S. citizens still travel with a Cuban Travel Organization that has an official license from the U.S. State Department. Legal individual travel to Cuba is now possible if you fall under one of the 12 categories of permitted travel to Cuba, but remains (practically) difficult: you'll need to document your activities, and booking a hotel room -- while now legal -- can be a challenge due to high demand and low supply. (Tour groups, on the other hand, have big blocks of hotel rooms reserved in advance.”

Twelve categories of permitted travel to Cuba
• Family visits
• Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
• Journalistic activity
• Professional research and professional meetings
• Educational activities
• Religious activities
• Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
• Support for the Cuban people
• Humanitarian projects
• Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
• Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials
• Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines

Now how to fit Scuba into one of the categories???

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 09:37 AM
a reply to: SeekingDepth

Scuba could fall under the public performance, clinics, workshops, athletics, and other competition and exhibitions. Basically you could do a scuba workshop

The U.S. Coast Guard was awesome in approving a permit for me. If you go via boat, there is Marina Hemingway, though I have been told the best diving is on the south side.

I will post more when I can get in front of a computer.

posted on Aug, 5 2016 @ 08:29 PM
Well done thread and thanks for posting. I don't know how long the communist government will rule Cuba but sooner or later they will be overthrown. The embargo never made any sense to me and I was 12 when the missile crisis was on. I would like to go but with disabled family members it won't happen. My best,

posted on Aug, 6 2016 @ 06:57 PM
a reply to: airforce47

No, that will never happen. Communism and socialism are not evil, despite what many Americans have been conditioned to believe, in fact the U.S. practices socialism on a grand scale and the U.S. military is essentially a communist organization.

However Cuba has embraced some aspects of capitalism for many decades, mostly in the tourism industry.

posted on Aug, 11 2016 @ 10:19 PM
a reply to: jrod

Communism and socialism are not evil, despite what many Americans have been conditioned to believe, in fact the U.S.

Majority of Americans don't think socialism or communism is evil, they just know it doesn't work because of human nature and the reality of today's world. As an ideal it's great but nearly impossible to implement In today's society.

Cuba is also an example of what you end up with: dictatorship.

Anytime you have a body of governance to big and powerful you get a batardized system. Capitalism is not excluded, hence we have an oligarch.

Even the quasi socialist millatary example you made primarly benefits the MIC , with their large corporate contracts versus civilians. Our govt goes to war for money , not to keep the peace.

The truth is, society is not remotely capable of implemting any of the 3 ism type govt.
We are to stupid , selfish , and focused on all the wrong things.

However until we can fix human nature and societies priorities , we are better off striving for smaller govt and capitalism where the individual has more control and freedom.

edit on 28831America/ChicagoThu, 11 Aug 2016 22:28:31 -0500000000p3142 by interupt42 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:12 AM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


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