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Traveling to Cuba without Government Permission!

Why it is not a good idea to travel to Cuba through another Country without Government Permission

Cuba is the only country that Americans need government permission to visit.  You can travel to China, Russia, and North Korea.  The US Government does not restrict travel to any other communist countries.  Today, June 16, 2017, we are expecting a major speech from President Donald J. Trump to change US policies and heavily restrict travel to Cuba.  I have seen several people state that you can still go to Cuba just go through Jamaica, Canada or another country.  Where it is possible, here is why it is not a good idea to travel to Cuba through another Country without Government Permission!

Morro Castle in Havaan Cuba

Morro Castle in Havana Cuba

Don’t be Shortsighted

If you travel to Cuba without the US Government permission you run the risk of destroying your life short term and long term.  It is possible to slip in and out of Cuba without being immediately detected.  However, there will be a record of your travel and it could come back to haunt you later.  Often names show up in Intelligence Surveillance reports.  Some conducted by the US and many conducted by other Foreign Governments who share information with the United States.  This is actually how many members of the Trump administration found themselves in the middle of an FBI probe.  When that happens your name is generally placed on a watch list and all of your domestic and international travel is flagged and followed.  

Short Term Consequences

Now that may be no big deal to some, especially if you have done nothing wrong.  If you don’t count circumventing the US Government to make an illegal trip to a Foreign Country.  I purposefully stated it that way so that you can see how it sounds.  Hoping you will see that is a big deal.  If you did that at your Mama’s house you would get a beat down for sure and never be trusted again.  That is not up for debate!  

Havana Libre Hotel's Nataly Show.

The Nataly Show at the Havana Libre Hotel.

Long Term Consequences

This is where the problem is/That is not where the real problem is.  The real problem is if ever you need a Security Clearance or your company wants to get government contracts or do business with the government.  That’s when that trip can come back to haunt you!  You can be denied a Government Clearance and/or lose your clearance or job.  Today you may not have or need a clearance but what happens in the future if you need one?  We have discussed if things go right, but what happens if things go wrong?

 What if a problem occurs?

What if something goes wrong?

What if something goes wrong?

Most people who are someplace where they are not supposed to be are on their best behavior.  However, bad things happen to good people.  If you are accused of something that you did not do or something happens to you like you become ill, get injured what happens then?  Especially in Cuba where your cell phone does not work.  The Internet is not the same and you have no support from your government.  What if you break a law that you did not even know was a law? Now, what are you going to do?

Little known Cuban laws

Little known Cuban laws

The Department of State, U.S. embassies, and consulates provide assistance to U.S. citizens traveling abroad.  Many people have a hard time understanding the difference between the laws of the US and the laws where they are visiting.  Just as in the US ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law! It is the same in other countries.  If you have traveled to Cuba without the permission of the US Government you are on your own.  Here is why it is not a good idea to travel to Cuba through another Country without Government Permission!

What the US Government can do for you!

U.S. Government

U.S. Government

If the worst happens and you actually are arrested overseas here is what the US Government can do according to the US DoS website.  

  1. Provide a list of local attorneys who speak English
  2. Contact family, friends, or employers of the detained U.S. citizen with the written permission of the detainee.
  3. Visit the detained U.S. citizen regularly and provide reading materials and vitamin supplements, where appropriate
  4. Help ensure that prison officials are providing appropriate medical care
  5. Provide a general overview of the local criminal justice process
  6. Inform the detainee of available local and U.S.-based resources to assist victims of crime
  7. Upon request, ensure that prison officials permit visits with a member of the clergy of the religion of your choice
  8. Establish an OCS Trust, when no other means to send funds are available so that friends and family can transfer funds to imprisoned U.S. citizens
  9. Ask the prison authorities to notify the U.S. embassy or consulate

The only country that Americans need government permission to visit is Cuba.  Not China, Russia or North Korea; Americans can even go to Iraq, Iran or Syria.  We have no US Government restrictions travel to any other country except for Cuba.  Today, President Trump is expected to heavily restrict travel to Cuba.  Some are saying Americans can still go to Cuba just go through Jamaica, Canada or another country.  It is not a good idea to travel to Cuba without permission.  It is not worth the risk!


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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 34 different Countries mainly concentrated in Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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