Informacion economica sobre Cuba

How to get in trouble traveling to Cuba

Published April 08, 2013

It appears that Jay-Z and Beyoncé's trip to Cuba is above board after

all. That's at least what Reuters is reporting, citing a source close to

the couple.

The two music stars were in Cuba last week, where they toured Old

Havana, posed for pictures with local schoolchildren and dined at the

renowned restaurant La Guarida. The trip also sparked the interest of

two Republican congressman from Florida who questioned what kind of

license – or special permission – allowed them visit to the island.

Traveling to Cuba is technically not illegal, but the United States does

prohibit its citizens from spending money in Cuba without the proper


While it's true that travel to Cuba has gotten a whole lot easier due to

easing of travel restrictions for Americans, travelers must take part

in tours to Cuba that encourage "people to people" contact. There are

exceptions for students, journalists, Cuban-Americans and others with

legal reasons to travel there.

Getting caught can result in 10 years in prison and $250,000 in

individual fines.

While most people's trips won't garner the public scrutiny of Jay-Z and

Beyoncé, here are some ways you might still catch some heat if you don't

follow the rules.

1. Don't Get a License

You can't simply book a flight and a hotel and head to Cuba. To get

into the country legally, you need to travel with a Cuba travel

organization that has an official license from the U.S. State Department

Americans. There are about a dozen of these licensed organizations now.

2. Hang Out On The Beach

Tourist activities — like visiting the beach or scuba diving — are

prohibited from itineraries. According to Treasury Department

guidelines: "Each traveler must have a full-time schedule of educational

exchange activities that will result in meaningful interaction between

the travelers and individuals in Cuba." This means your days will be

spent going to museums, a hospital or a local Communist Party block meeting.

3. Purchase Tickets From a Local Travel Agent

You can find anything on the Internet, including contact details for a

local agent who will be more than happy to sell you a ticket directly —

by cash. Also, there are other third party agents that arrange travel

to Cuba, usually through a third country. (By the way, the Cuban customs

and immigration officials know not to stamp the passports of Americans

entering the country.) You can do the same if you want to book a hotel

room or a car.

4. Ignore the U.S. government if it comes a calling

Say you're busted by U.S. customs official when bringing something back

to the U.S. that you bought in Cuba. If you get a questionnaire from

Treasury Department's office, which oversees financial dealings with

Cuba asking for details –ignore it. That's what happed to Zachary

Sander. After a protracted to and from in which Sanders sued the U.S.

government, he finally agreed to settle the case and pay a fine of $6500."

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