Wednesday, January 6, 2010

El Yuma sobre los viajes a Cuba y las nuevas regulaciones

No es facil!

It sure ain't easy to be Cuban or Cuban-American these days if you want to travel between the U.S. and Cuba. Yes, both governments have made some moves to de-politicize most types of travel and now Cuban-Americans can return to Cuba to visit their relatives and send them money at will.

However, Cuban-Americans still pay through the nose to the charter companies and especially to the Cuban government (having to constantly "habilitar" and "prorogar" their passports at usurious rates). The Cuban government also still reserves the right to deny anyone entry to their homeland, to say nothing of having to ask permission to leave in the first place and to pay a monthly fee while abroad to maintain the right to return.

On top of this, if you've never experienced the Orwellian ordeal of flying the 90 miles from Miami directly to notorious Terminal 2 of Jose Marti International Airport consider yourself lucky. It is a strange atmosphere that combines political suspicion, petty envy, and economic blackmail, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that most travellers come loaded down with gifts and goods for their families. Getting through immigration, collecting your bags, and successfully running the gamut of customs officials without paying a bribe or having anything confiscated is a near miracle.

Not satisfied that Cuba was beating us at the game of security paranoia and political manipulation (especially when their fear of us is much more "clear and present" than ours is of them), the Obama Administration has decided to imitate them by issuing a set of "New Rules" that would make even Bill Maher envious.

These "New Rules" are covered in detail by the clear-eyed Cuba-watcher Anya Landau French in the two recent posts, "New TSA Regulations" and "What He Said," at the collectively written blog, "The Havana Note."


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