Glen Lee Roberts


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July 4, 2016: Exploring Freedom in the USA.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016 at 14:48
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I ran across a post, a meme, that someone published on Facebook for the 4th of July in the USA. They were taking issue with those that critique that country for abusing the freedom and liberty of their citizens.

They recommend that those who were not following the party line, ie: believing in the freedom of the US do something follows: Hop on a commercial airliner in the US and fly to Havana, Cuba. I suppose the implication was that they should move there. They also listed a number of large commercial US airlines that have flights there (according to them).

First, I think it would be an excellent idea for many Americans to visit Cuba. Aside from enjoying a nice beach and new culture, they can get a first hand look at how bad (or not) the system is there. Additionally, if the "American Way" is so much better, they will be able to show the Cubans first hand.

What is truly ironic about this meme, is that if an American attempts to visit Cuba, they will find that freedom in the US is very limited. In fact, it is possible that they will be fined and/or imprisoned for visiting Cuba. I don't think any other country in the world had such punishment for their citizens who wish to travel the world.

Now, last December, Obama announced some changes in the Cuba embargo. So, I figured it was worth seeing if US Airlines were offering commercial flights. American Airlines accepts it as a destination on their website, but lists no flights. Not with American Airlines, or "All Airlines". Expedia and Travelocity didn't even list Havana as a destination.

First problem with freedom in American, no flights to Cuba!

Below, I have linked a US Treasury Department FAQ on Cuba. 26 pages!

Are sanctions on Cuba still in place following the President's announcement on December 17, 2014?

Yes, the Cuba embargo remains in place. Most transactions between the United States, or persons subject to US jurisdiction, and Cuba continue to be prohibited, and OFAC continues to enforce the prohibitions of the CACR. The regulatory changes, effective in January, June, and September 2015, as well as in January and March 2016, respectively, are targeted to further engage and empower the Cuban people by facilitating authorized travel to Cuba by persons subject to US jurisdiction; certain authorized commerce and financial transactions; and the flow of information to, from, and within Cuba.

My emphasis. "Authorized travel". Americans are not free to visit Cuba. They must be authorized.

What are the travel authorizations in the Cuba program?

OFAC has issued general licenses within the 12 categories of authorized travel for many travel-related transactions to, from, or within Cuba that previously required a specific license (ie, an application and a case-by-case determination).

Travel-related transactions are permitted by general license for certain travel related to the following activities, subject to the criteria and conditions in each general license: family visits; official business of the US 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; and certain authorized export transactions.

So, you aren't authorized to go if it is a vacation, desire to move there, or just checking out things to see if it is bad or not.

Is travel to Cuba for tourist activities permitted?

No. Consistent with the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA), travel-related transactions involving Cuba are only permitted for the 12 categories of activities identified in the CACR. Travel-related transactions for other purposes remain prohibited.

There you go! You can celebrate freedom on July 4th, but you can't visit Cuba as a tourist!

(last edit: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 at 14:51)

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Sergey Zacepin

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Wednesday, July 06, 2016 at 20:10
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For me as the Russian guy, there can be one question that interests me the most. It's of course about relationship between our two countries. We were close to each other when there was a Soviet Union, but nowadays we seems to loose this tie.

Life is Beautiful.....

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Wednesday, July 06, 2016 at 22:30
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We were close to each other when there was a Soviet Union, ...

Woot! Then how can you explain the 40+ years of Cold War between two countries? Your comment is not related to what Glen's describe above. Please read the article and the attached paper on how US citizen can go visit Cuba despite the already open the diplomatic relations between two countries.

Techno Geek

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Thursday, July 07, 2016 at 07:43
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The underlying conflict between the USA and Cuba really has nothing to do with Cuba does it? It is a conflict between the USA and Russia that Cuba got in the middle of. Then Russia disappeared and Cuba was left with the punishment!

But, @Catman is right, this article is not about Cuba or Russia but about US Citizens have been hoodwinked into believing they live in "free country" and the silliness of some who believe that a trip to Cuba would bear out that the USA is a "free country", when attempting to plan a trip to Cuba shows that the USA is about as far from being free as you can get.

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