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Re: cuba #149074
02/24/03 01:23 PM
02/24/03 01:23 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,336
oklahoma
T
toad Offline OP
 
toad  Offline OP
T
also, he wants to know how safe is your dive gear to take?

Re: cuba #149075
02/24/03 01:25 PM
02/24/03 01:25 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 2,364
LAPORTE, TX, USA
GAY AND DAVID Offline
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GAY AND DAVID  Offline
toad my honey, my sweetie, my love laugh laugh laugh , in three weeks i will be somewhere between san pedro and cozumel. DO NOT DRINK MY RUM!!! eek
much luv
gay

Re: cuba #149076
02/24/03 08:29 PM
02/24/03 08:29 PM
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 3,280
Virginia
Barbara K Offline
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Barbara K  Offline
I have a travel associate who brings groups to Belize and now started bringing groups to Cuba. I could hook you up if you are interested. He leaves from Albuquerque via Cancun but you could just meet them in Cancun. Cool archology scuba guy. Said he has a good connection for biking around Cuba now.

Re: cuba #149077
02/26/03 01:21 PM
02/26/03 01:21 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 11,012
Rockport, Maine
klcman Offline
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klcman  Offline


_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman
Re: cuba [Re: toad] #462650
04/19/13 04:44 AM
04/19/13 04:44 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,977
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy

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Marty  Online Happy

from a friend....

I have been researching a trip to Cuba and was made aware of the National Lawyers Guild and their links to the travel organization below.

I have provided a link here which is literally a mini-counter-intelligence manual as to how the travel restrictions work and how to disrupt and evade them.

As a bottom line it appears no matter that even if one is tagged at the airport or by mail later (and the vast majority are NOT anyway), all one really needs to do is request a hearing within 30 days and then Treasury backs off. There will be no hearing, no fine, no nothing. Only suckers and cowards have paid fines and not one single person has ever been actually prosecuted. If confronted one needs only to stand up for their rights and refuse to answer any questions, other than the ones answered on the customs form. You are not required to answer any other questions coming back into the U.S. other than what is on that form -- period.

I would still stress, though, it appears the odds are overwhelming that one most likely won't need to worry about any of this. I just found the information fascinating...


We know how to get you in and out of Cuba trouble free!  If you follow these instructions, your chances of getting in any trouble are almost zero!

Tens of thousands of Americans travel to Cuba every year without a license. And nobody have ever been prosecuted for traveling to Cuba.

In 1963, the US attempted to ban travel to Cuba, but that was found to violate the U.S. Constitution.  So there is no law against travel to Cuba. However, in 1982, the Reagan / Bush Administration, introduced regulations that prohibit the spending of money in Cuba.  The Supreme Court upheld those regulations in a 5-4 vote, saying that Cuba might use the American tourists' money for subversive activities.  Even if that were true in 1982, it is not true today!  So why are these regulations still on the books (515.560 of the Trading with the Enemy Act)?  Even the Pentagon said in May of 1999, that Cuba was no threat to the United States or any of their other neighbors.

Every American planning on traveling to Cuba should become aware of these laws.  Knowledge is a very powerful tool when dealing with a government such as ours that for no sensible reason does not want you to travel to Cuba and discover the real truth for yourself.

Information regarding travel to Cuba.

(1) Cuba has a policy of not stamping US passports and the passports of US residents.

(2) Upon re-entry to the United States, there are a number of questions you are required to answer such as: What is your name, what is your address, what is your occupation, was the purpose of your trip business or pleasure, which countries have you been to, and for how long, how much money are you carrying, do you have anything to declare, what do you have in your luggage or on your person?

If you are asked more than these normal questions, the Center for Constitutional Rights advises you to state:  "I have been advised by my counsel to not answer any further questions and to refrain from any additional comment.  Any further inquiries should be directed to my counsel":

All Americans should know that they should refuse to give any self-incriminating information that might be demanded by US Customs & Immigration officials both while being interviewed in the airport or if you might happen to receive one of the letters sometimes sent out by the Treasury Department.

The Wall of Lawyers formed to protect Americans Constitutional Rights say the Treasury Department usually takes one of two actions.

1.  A "requirement to furnish information" letter to travelers suspected of unlicensed travel to Cuba.

2.  A "pre-penalty notice threatening a fine", frequently reaching $7,500.

If American travelers ever receive one of these kinds of letters they should contact the National Lawyers Guild and ask for a form letter or click on letters below that will reply to whatever letter they have received from the Treasury Department.  Email addresses and phone numbers are listed below.

Americans should immediately ask for a hearing within 30 days with the Treasury Department.  The record over the past five years would indicate that after a hearing is requested, the Treasury Department files away the case because no appeals hearings have ever been held.  Up until now, the process for all such cases then stops.

Since the embargo began, millions of Americans have traveled to Cuba. None have been prosecuted or jailed.  None that have asked for a hearing have had to pay a fine.  A few unknowledgeable people have been fined and paid it to avoid hassle or because they were scared.

Americans should not lie to the US Customs & Immigration officials....that is a violation.  Americans can simply tell any of these officials that they are taking the Fifth Amendment that guarantees you the right to refrain from answering any questions from any government official.  It might be uncomfortable for a few minutes....but you are entitled to request a hearing within 30 days. They have not heard any cases regarding travel to Cuba in years. 

Some journalists have called the Treasury OFAC to ask about this....but their calls are never returned.  In other words, the Treasury Department OFAC is trying to avoid confirming that this is the case.

Americans who follow the instructions on this page....are not likely to ever have a problem or even get to this stage.

This law is known as the Trading with the Enemy Act and is a little ridiculous since the Pentagon has already declared (May of 1999) that Cuba is no threat to the security of the United States or any of their other neighbors.

We have formed a WALL OF LAWYERS to protect our clients in the event of problems.  They are as follows:

National Lawyers Guild.....Art Heitzer  414-273-1040 Ex 12  aheitzer@igc.org or Jeff Fogel 212-614-6470  matthewscott@ccr-ny.org 

The Center for Constitutional Rights, 212-614-6464, FAX 212-614-6499, 666 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, Email ccr@igc.apc.org 

In the event that you receive a letter requiring that you furnish information or a Pre penalty notice.....we suggest you respond with one of these two letters.  Just print it out, sign it and mail it.  More than likely you will never hear from the Treasury OFAC again.  Click on letters below.

Letters

It is a good idea to keep this information handy for easy reference during your re-entry customs interview.

(4) We advise our Cuba traveling clients to read carefully the US Customs and Immigration form that you completed (usually in flight), then if you are asked more than those standard questions by U.S. Customs or Immigration officials, simply hand them the name and phone number of your lawyer, the CCR  lawyer or the lawyer from the National Lawyers Guild.  Typically, that is the end of the hassle! 

Remember that it is the policy of our government to try to intimidate Americans regarding travel to Cuba or to scare you out of returning once you have been.  Also, it is up to each individual Customs or Immigration agent as to whether or not they want to hassle you.

Keep in mind that the travel sanctions are likely to end in the very near future.  It is doubtful that our country will ever charge any American with a crime that will soon cease to exist.

(5) Be sure to take some humanitarian foods or medicines and give them to the Cuban people you meet or to the Cuban Red Cross representative (usually the nurse at the hotel where you stay).  Cubans always need over the counter medicines such as:  Aspirin, vitamins, cold medicines, asthma medicines, antibiotics, medicines for lice, bandages, soap, shampoo, toilet tissue, pens, pencils, paper, envelopes, tooth brushes and tooth paste, condoms, birth control medicines, etc.  The US law (Helms Burton Act) says in Section 1705 (b) and (c) that if you donate humanitarian food or medicines that there are "no restrictions" on travel. Document the giving of those gifts with a photograph if possible.  Save your receipts!

(6) Many Americans try to bring home items such as Havana cigars, Havana Club rum, T-shirts and other Cuban made items.  Most get away with it, but if the US Customs & Immigrations find them in your luggage, they will take them away from you.  Please remove all airline luggage tags from your suitcase and get rid of all tickets and claims checks before entering US Customs & Immigration.  The vast majority of Americans go thru trouble free....but you should be warned!

(7) It is a good idea to carry some sort of money belt to keep your extra cash and passport. Beginning November 08, 2004, Cuba  stopped accepting US dollars at stores, restaurants, hotels, etc. You will be required to exchange US dollars for Cuban pesos and will be charged 10% fee to do so. If you bring Euros, Swiss francs, Canadian dollars, this 10% exchange fee will not apply.  Most hotels have a safe at the front desk and the better hotels have one in the room.  Carry only the amount of money you need for the day and carry a photo copy of your passport.  Keep the original passport and extra cash in the safe.  BFI, an international bank and Transcard of Canada are now offering a debit card that can be purchased at any Transcard office in Cuba (one in each Province) or at any BFI Bank in Cuba.  You can put as much money as you like in this account and then use it at most tourist agencies in Cuba.  When departing Cuba, just turn it in at the bank where you bought it and get your balance returned or if you prefer, leave a few dollars to keep it active if you plan to return to Cuba. Transcards number in Canada is 800-724-5685.  In some cases, Rex Limousines in Havana acceepts Master Card for rental cars and has made cash advances on their card to a few of our clients.  Bank of Nova Scotia in Havana has been allowing cash advances on American issued Master Cards. However, don't count on being able to use US issued credit cards or debit cards for anything in Cuba.

(8) Many hospitals in Cuba offer free, or very cheap, emergency health care for tourists, including Americans.

(9) Internet service is becoming more widely available in Cuba, but it is still quite expensive, and not on par in terms of quality with the US and Europe.

(10) Long distance phone calls can be made from the lobby of almost every hotel in Cuba.  It is expensive (sometimes more than $5 per minute). You can now buy phone cards in the lobby of most hotels in Cuba.    Check for the price per minute (sometimes as low as $2.00 per minute).  You simple stick the phone card in the phone, dial 1191 and then your area code and phone number.  These cards can be used at what is known as blue card telephones.  A network of these phones can now be found throughout the country.

(11) Don't make this mistake.  Cuba is in the process of installing a new system of controls for reservations.  Believe me....they need it!  Whatever you do don't ever double book a reservations.  Cuba is slow about confirming flights, hotels and car rentals.  Americans get nervous and start checking around.  Sometimes they even book reservations with another agency.  Don't do it!  If you double book, both reservation requests will be cancelled.  So find an agency or agent you like and stick with them.  99.9% of the reservations eventually get confirmed.

(12) You might consider making sure you have a carry on bag that includes your passport, a copy of your passport, drivers license or picture ID as well as your tickets.  Don't forget to include your camera, film, shaving gear, make-up kit, prescriptions, toilet paper, towelettes, pens, mosquito repellent, etc.  You might also include some decaf coffee, tea, sugar free sweeteners, and maybe even something to spice up your food such as Cholula, etc.  One last reminder to include an extra pair of clothes in the unlikely event your bags may be lost.

(13)  Make sure you know the new rules regarding what you can bring to Cuba.

Check Cuban Customs at http://www.aduana.co.cu/.  They change the link fairly regularly. If this link gives you an error, just Google  Aduana Cuba.

It is probably a very good idea nowadays to check with your Airline prior to flying to the Gateway City (Cancun, Nassau, etc.) in order to find out how to pack your personal items in order to allow a speedy pass thru luggage inspections in most American airports.  Remember not to lock your luggage until after it has been inspected.

http://www.cubatravelusa.com/Travel_Tips.htm


An Open Letter to Americans Traveling to Cuba on People-to-People tours

-

My dear compatriot: Recently we have been receiving several visits a week from People-to-People exchange tours at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba. As the number of these tours is likely to increase I’d like to say a few words to those of you making the trip across the Straits of Florida.

I am delighted that you have decided to visit Cuba. I know it wasn’t easy to make the decision to come here, and some of your friends might have looked at you funny when you told them where you were going. I also know that the trip didn’t come cheap. But despite those obstacles you are on your way.

Because of current travel restrictions to the island you are probably coming on a specific travel license that allows People-to-People exchanges. I also have to use a travel license to make my journey home from Cuba.

Likewise, Cubans must also get permission from their government to travel outside their country. My point is that all of us coming and going from Cuba have restrictions imposed from one side or another. Keep this in mind as the first of many areas of solidarity you can use to relate to your Cuban hosts.

When you arrive to Havana and board the tour bus you will be embarking on a busy and somewhat rigid schedule. I encourage you to keep two things in mind:

The first is that the United States State Department continues to forbid “tourism” to Cuba. Therefore your travel provider, in cooperation with a Cuban government travel company, has gone to great lengths to abide by these rules to avoid legal problems for everyone involved, especially you. This is done by scheduling your time around cultural exchanges and informational tours while avoiding “touristy” things like mojitos on the beach.

The second thing you need to remain cognizant of is that your Cuban tour guides are paid to give you a tour of their country. No one wants to talk badly about their home to strangers. Would you expect to go on a group tour of Washington D.C. and the guide say something like “this is the White House, it is the home base of an evil empire perpetuating capitalist globalization”? No, you would not hear that from your tour guide. Similarly expect your Cuban tour guide to be respectful and proud of their country.

Photo: Caridad Now, my dear compatriot, I fear I may have you worried. You might be questioning whether or not you should come to Cuba if you are not going to be able to get a “down to earth” or “real life” experience of the Cuban situation.

So to lay those fears and frets at ease I will offer a few ways you can make your highly regulated trip a bit more…free. (At least in spirit if not actually cost.)

- Get to know your guide right away by asking them about their family. Tour guides will spend 20 hours a day, or more, working for you the entire time you are in Cuba. That means they won’t be around their family. Show them you recognize that.

- Ask people in the tourist industry where they work when they are not giving tours. You are likely to meet an engineer, a linguist, or a professor. You might find someone who has the same profession you have back home. Don’t be afraid to “talk-shop” while on vacation.

- Buy people drinks. Don’t be afraid of getting into a conversation with a stranger. Remember that even if it is boring or difficult to communicate your busy travel schedule will pull you away soon enough. Use this to your advantage and be outgoing without fear of getting bogged down for the whole day or night talking with the same person.

- Sneak away. You need to do this without making the bus wait on you so as to be respectful to the other guests and the host. One way around this is to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and then show up on schedule when the bus is supposed to pull away. This will give you a chance to get away from the group for an hour or two without having to make them look for you. Remember forgiveness comes easier than permission.

- Tip. Tip. Tip. I don’t know why we Americans assume no one needs a tip outside of our country. Some people working in the Cuban tourist industry had to pay money to get their job. The only way they put food on the table is with your Convertible Pesos. Tip.

So, fellow American, I hope after reading this you have some ideas on how to get the most out of your trip to Cuba. If you find yourself frustrated try to remember the context that you are traveling in is highly regulated, mostly from our government. Perhaps use that frustration back home by expressing your concerns about travel regulation to Cuba with your elected officials.

I will close with an invitation. If you find yourself at the Latin American School of Medicine ask to go to the bathroom as soon as you arrive. If you see a tall, lanky guy with an American flag sewn onto his coat sleeve at the top of the stairs ask for a personalized tour of the campus. I’ll make sure to get you back to the bus on time.

Happy trails!

Graham Sowa: I've been living in Cuba for three years now. I would like to blame my obvious hair loss seen in this updated photo on the rigors of life here and medical school, but it is probably just genetic. I've made some of the strongest friendships during my time in Cuba from other writers on this website. The strength of those friendships has almost restored my faith that the online world can lead to offline and real life change. On that same note I've adjusted to using internet one or two hours a month. In the meantime I have rediscovered things like flipping through the pages of books, writing stuff down by hand, and having to admit that I don't know something instead of rapidly looking up the answer on Google while the teacher isn't looking.

Source


Re: cuba [Re: toad] #462652
04/19/13 04:55 AM
04/19/13 04:55 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,977
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy

.
Marty  Online Happy

(15)  Phone codes in Cuba:


When traveling to Cuba, we hope you will make reservations with an American company. We are Americans!

We have been traveling to Cuba for more than 30 years, have taken or sent about 24,000 Americans. We like to think that we are responsible for tens of thousands more going.  Not one has been prosecuted, fined, or jailed.

We believe that international travel is a Constitutional Right and that every American who can possibly go to Cuba, should go!

It is disgusting to us that Canadians, Europeans, even Russians enjoy "unrestricted" travel rights and Americans do not. If you truly want to be the freest people on earth, you must fight to restore our travel rights. 86% of the American people now want the embargo ended.  A handful of right wingers including our President are standing in the way of free travel and free trade.  They are violating our Constitutional Rights, the International Declaration on Human Rights, a United Nations Resolution to end the Cuban Embargo (vote was 185-3 October 2008 (2 countries abstained from voting), not to mention the violation of this nations signature (President Gerald Ford. August 1975) on the Helsinki Agreements.

When you get ready to plan your trip to Cuba, we hope that you will buy your trip from Americans like us, the ones doing the fighting for your travel rights.


Re: cuba [Re: toad] #462653
04/19/13 04:55 AM
04/19/13 04:55 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,977
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy

.
Marty  Online Happy
responses


Good information maybe, but not completely accurate. People, especially recreational sailors, have been prosecuted for traveling to Cuba. Those cases may never have gone to trial because the government fears losing a test case, but property seizures and legal fees amounted to major harrassment. I know of a couple in Key West, sailmakers, who lost their business thanks to having to defend against OFAC and Federal Prosecutorial actions. If the US government wants to make your life miserable for traveling to Cuba, they can and they have.

=======


My husband's trip was through an agency in Canada; tour was land based. It was three weeks long. The biggest problem was that his checked baggage was delayed coming back but only by a week. Mexicana took care of it and when the bag made it back to San Antonio, Mexicana delivered it to the house. He even brought back 50 Cuban cigars which is allowed though the US Customs agents had to have a mini gabfest with each other to get the rule straight. He also brought some cool street art canvases. I called him on the day when his schedule said he would be at a certain restaurant with the group. Cubans were extremely courteous to me and it seemed they were excited to have a call from the US for an American. It was the only phone call I made from the US just to talk to him to see how things were going.

Re: cuba [Re: toad] #462800
04/21/13 05:52 AM
04/21/13 05:52 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,999
San Pedro AC Belize
Diane Campbell Offline
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Diane Campbell  Offline
There are a lot of nice places to visit that do not have such complications.

Re: cuba [Re: Diane Campbell] #462809
04/21/13 07:09 AM
04/21/13 07:09 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,880
Canada
seashell Offline
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seashell  Offline
That may be true Diane, but none of them are Cuba.

By the way, a US friend of mine went to Cuba with a group and every one of them was caught and charged with very large fines and may also have been facing more serious punishment. That said, it was true that the cases were all to be heard in DC if I recall correctly. Most of the details are fuzzy but because my friend challenged and the gov't didn't want to go to court his fine was reduced to a more reasonable $1500, which he chose to pay.


A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

Re: cuba [Re: toad] #500355
01/26/15 12:13 PM
01/26/15 12:13 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 58,977
oregon, spr
Marty Online happy

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Marty  Online Happy
from a friend who just got back from Cuba....

Cuba Trip A MAJOR Success!

Just got back last night..... First the bad news -- no pix. I was careless and had my camera taken after I left it in a bathroom at the airport.... yeah, a real bummer.

Anyway - we stayed in a deluxe apartment in Vedado neighborhood my friend Marta set us up in (she is a retired diplomat and her last post was Czechoslovakia 1985-91 (!). The place was 12 stories up overlooking the Malecon, which was a 10 minute walk away. I spent a lot of time walking at night in the neighborhood. Very funky, like being on a movie set with all the old mansions, now slowly in decay. We used the Hotel Presidente as a base. It was a 5 minute walk away. The government hotels are expensive -- hundreds of dollars a night for rooms that are just not worth that cost. Our apartment was only $55 USD a night. Some lady came every afternoon to clean it.

All the privateers don't like the government run tour operations and vice versa. The private operations are far cheaper and better so there is no real competition. But many people, as we found out, don't know about all the private operations. Some Russians behind me at check-in, three of them, were telling me how excited they were to stay at the famous Nacional for $100 USD -- EACH -- to sleep in the same room. When I told them about our apartment they were shocked and it turned out they called my friend Marta two days later looking for an apartment after I gave them her number.

Not one person approached me to trade dollars, ever, and all my associates made clear they wanted the CUC's, not any foreign money. Everyone knows and most people play by them. We got some pesos in exchange at a local private outdoor food market and kept them. Even at the government rate everything was cheap -- good bottle beer in a nice hotel or restaurant - $1.50-$2.00. Gasoline (we took a road trip) was about $1.15 a gallon. We hired a bicycle taxi for 2 1/2 hours and all the guy wanted was $5 CUC's per hour.

We drove three hours west from Havana to Vinales National Park in a Red 1957 Dodge Diplomat. Went hiking and caving there and then hung out at a private tobacco farm inside the main valley of the park. We had a massive all-organic meal of all sorts of stuff, including chicken, with drinks, and it was less then $20 for two of us. They also sold fresh-made smaller-type cigars at about $5.50 for a pack of ten. It was amazing. I smoked more cigars last week than in the previous several years.

I also managed to get inside their main national library, the Marti, in Havana. I had brought some books and new magazines (Jan-Feb-Mar '15) to donate, including the two latest issues of High Times. hee hee They got a real kick out of those! My friend Marta said she would call a friend and she was sure she would get me in. She called her friend on the spot and spoke to her and then put her on with me. She confirmed that I really did work at LOC, and then put Marta back on. They talked and hung up. The lady called back in 5 minutes and said I had a 10:30am appointment the next morning with Nancy Mechado, one of the Assistant Directors of the national library system! So I went and met her and yet another assistant director. Then their international director gave me a three hour tour of the library and let me go anywhere I wanted and take pictures. As I said, no pictures now... however, it was really cool they let me do it. We met the national director in an elevator and he was very nice and interesting. So I ended up meeting all the top people. Amazing. The library itself is very modern looking but they are really short of everything that goes in a library. There music room still had lp's and their turntables were 20 year old Russian jobs. I told them I was not on any kind of official visit but that when I got back I would talk to people at LOC. I had only told one person at LOC about the trip because of it's semi-legal nature. Now they are all telling me they want all the contact information I brought back (all their emails, addresses, etc.), so we'll see where that goes.

I flew back to Dallas from Cancun, where we stayed before and after Cuba. I had not been there for 30 years so it was all but unrecognizable. The flight from Cancun to Havana is 45 minutes in older model Airbus jets. Interestingly, the one we went out on was all-black with no markings. The one coming back had regular Cubana markings. I had the Cubans stamp my passport and I had the new Treasury rules printed out and with me. I also had a letter from the library, thanking me for the goodies i brought them, so I was ready for anything when we got to Dallas. I marked Mexico and Cuba on my blue customs form and was kind of hoping for something interesting when Customs saw Cuba. *However*, we got sent to one of the new terminals where you check yourself in by sliding the passport in and taking a picture of yourself. They re-ask you some of the questions, but not all, on the blue form and then you print it up. It has a prominent display of where you are coming from but nothing else. So there was no Cuba on the new document. When we did the last check out with our baggage, the customs guy looked at the form and said, "Oh, you were in Cancun, how was that?" "It was wonderful, great weather." "Ok, thank you, I'll keep this paper, goodbye." So that was it, Cuba never came up.

At the Library they asked me if Cuba was up to my expectations and I said it was and I was not really surprised by anything, other than little oddities. One thing odd, and I did not mention this to them, is that just about anywhere you go, even nice places like the National library and Museo de La Revolucion --- there is no toilet paper or paper towels ANYWHERE in both men's and women's, you gotta bring your own. At Cancun there was the usual crowd of nationals bringing in booty -- mostly tv's and the like but we noticed one guy had a big 20 pack of toilet paper to take back to Cuba!

I had one somewhat bizarre encounter. Across from their old capitol building I was accosted by a young black girl who began hugging me. Her mom showed up and I swear she looked and dressed like Aunt Jemimah. She wanted me to help her with getting some powdered milk and said pointedly, no money, please let me take you to buy. I had a feeling right away about the whole deal but could not resist seeing where it would go. So we go in and head downstairs. The daughter has by now jumped up in my arms and I'm holding her. Aunt J starts piling bags of powdered milk on the counter and it was going to be like $66 USD. (!) The amount would have taken care of the entire Cuban army for at least a month.The lady behind the counter was not happy and kept trying to stare down Aunty. In the end I told her I would buy her a small bag, it was $3.50 USD. So she was a bit disappointed and stayed in the store after she got the milk. I mentioned this to other Cubans, all white, and they made some rather nasty remarks about blacks. I also noticed the cops were usually stopping blacks, not whites, in both Havana and the countryside, even when the cops themselves were black. Some things are truly universal....

So, that's the main parts. It was great and I want to go back. I'm more convinced than ever the bloqueo is dumb, dumb, dumb. There is lots of classic "free enterprise" going on and it should be supported, not ignored and disrupted.

I'll be talking to you soon about the web stuff I mentioned. I'm heading to Belize on Wednesday morning and will be talking to some people about that and then get back to you.

It's a great time to go to Cuba!

XXX

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