Selected Press Coverage on OFAC and the Right to Travel to Cuba


Published September 2, 2001

Letters on Travel

More on Cuba

To the Editor: The articles on Aug. 5, "Exploring Two Sides of Cuba's West," by Carey Goldberg, and "Havana's Not for Eating, But Eating Can Be Fun," by Marian Burros, paint an illuminating picture of the rewarding but rocky road of travel to Cuba. Yet both understate the categories of Americans who may travel to Cuba.

There are six categories of general-license travel that involve scores of subgroups (which means no license needed at all) and 16 categories of travel that require a license. Americans who may travel under a general license include journalists, government officials, those with relatives in Cuba, and full-time professionals (including doctors, dental hygienists, environmentalists and actors) going to conferences or doing research.

Americans who may travel under a specific license include a broad range of groups like Little League and high school sports teams; those participating in religious activities; freelance journalists; students studying abroad; musicians, dancers and other artists who will be giving public performances; people who want to buy art (which is exempt from the embargo) and others.

New York, N.Y.

Professor Falk teaches in the School of Law at the City University of New York and is president of CubaTravel Advisors, which helps secure authorization for travel to Cuba.

To the Editor: Regarding Frank Bruni's article "Bush Administration Showing Willingness to Enforce Law on Visiting Cuba," (Aug. 5), travelers whose trip to Cuba is marred by a United States Treasury letter requesting information or threatening fines are advised to promptly contact the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City, (212) 614-6464. The center will either take the case or refer it to a team of civil rights attorneys that it has formed with the help of the National Lawyers Guild and Global Exchange, organizations that vigorously defend citizens' right to travel freely. The guild's Web address is

Oakland, Calif.

The writer is general counsel for Global Exchange.

To the Editor: The Bush administration is showing more than a "willingness" to enforce laws on visiting Cuba. It's more like out-and-out gusto in the theater of the absurd.

Returning to Kennedy Airport from Cuba through Mexico City on July 28, about 12 of us were pulled aside by zealous Customs officials who seized everything they could find of Cuban origin not just the occasional cigar or bottle of rum, but books, music recordings, art, posters, even religious statues from El Cobre, shrine of the Virgin of Charity! All this, despite the fact that informational material (which includes music, art and printed material) is exempt from the embargo. As they rifled through our bags, some of us were threatened with strip searches, passport seizures, long detentions or all three until we would answer the Customs officials' questions which were never even asked.

Englewood, N.J.

To OFAC: Travel, Trade, Licenses and Legislation


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