The Cuba Advocate

Year 60 of the Revolution

Trump administration announces new Cuba travel restrictions

June 4, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Song to Fidel by Che Guevara

Song to Fiedel by Che Guevara

You said the sun would rise.

Let’s go

along those unmapped paths

to free the green alligator you love.

And let’s go obliterating

insults with our

brows swept with dark insurgent stars.

We shall have victory or shoot past death.

At the first shot the whole jungle

will awake with fresh amazement and

there and then serene company

we’ll be at your side.

When your voice quarters the four winds

reforma agraria, justice, bread, freedom,

we’ll be there with identical accents

at your side.

And when the clean operation against the tyrant

ends at the end of the day

there and then set for the final battle

we’ll be at your side.

And when the wild beast licks his wounded side

where the dart of Cuba hits him

we’ll be at your side

with proud hearts.

Don’t ever think our integrity can be sapped

by those decorated fleas hopping with gifts

we want their rifles, their bullets an a rock

nothing else.

And if iron stands in our way

we ask for a sheet of Cuban tears

to cover our guerrilla bones

on the journey to American history.

Nothing more.

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bolton announces new Cuba travel restrictions

Travel to Cuba by anyone except Cuban Americans is in grave danger. National Security Adviser John Bolton told veteransof the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion on April 17th that “the Department of the Treasury will implement further regulatory changes to restrict non-family travel to Cuba, or in other words, ‘veiled tourism.'”
“Veiled tourism” is the pejorative term used by Mauricio Claver-Carone, Senior Director of the National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere Affairs office, to attack the Obama opening of purposeful travel. It was a prominent theme when he published the hard line blog Capitol Hill Cubans and ran the US-Cuba Democracy PAC that funneled large amounts of conservative exile money to candidates nationwide.
Based on an interview with “a high-ranking official who spoke on condition of anonymity” the Miami Herald reported that the new policy, “could signal the end of cruises.” Additional targets are assumed to be participants in people to people tours and independent travelers. Student programs, professional conference, artistic exchanges, religious missions and other license categories could also be affected.
Travel by Cuban Americans was not touched, but family remittances (and investments) were reduced drastically from unlimited to $1,000 per quarter.
Ahead of his skis?
It is not clear whether Bolton represented the full Trump Administration or his own hawkish ideology and long declared animus to Cuba. (Bolton tried to undermine a ground breaking visit of former President Carter to Havana with phony accusations of biological warfare research.) Although Bolton announced “the Department of the Treasury will implement further regulatory changes”, staff of the State and Treasury Departments had apparently not been informed of his proclaimed new policies.
Bolton’s extremist attack is also not consistent with the President’s history in the travel and leisure industry, including two explorations by the Trump Organization of golf course and hotel opportunities in Cuba. Notably Secretary of State Pompeo said nothing about travel earlier the same day while publicly savaging Cuba in the course of enabling Helms-Burton Titles III and IV. (This allows nuisance suits against European and Canadian businesses that use expropriated American and Cuban-American property.)
Bolton and Claver-Carone may have seen the eve of release of the Mueller report as a good moment to take advantage of chaos and preoccupation in the White House to slip in a maximum assault or at least to float a balloon. The question is how much opposition now wells up elsewhere in the Administration and from Congress, as well as from cruise companies, air lines, travel agents, tour operators and the grass roots of people who have been or expected to go to Cuba. editorialized, “Cuba Is a Problem That Trump Is Making Worse:The administration’s new sanctions are likely to backfire.
When will restrictions start?
Bolton left wiggle-room when he spoke of “restricting” not “prohibiting” travel. It has been reported that President Trump is not happy with Bolton’s role in frustrating this negotiations with Kim Jong Un. Trump might also become upset when he discovers that Bolton misled him about how quick and easy it would be to overthrow the Venezuelan government.
With the legitimacy of his rule under intense and widespread attack as a result of Mueller’s findings, the President may not want to gratuitously alienate agricultural exporters or retirees who planned to visit Cuba on their next cruise. So far the anti-Cuba lobby in Congress has applauded the use of Title III but not spoken out for new restrictions on travel.
If Bolton’s speech was more than political rhetoric designed for the 2020 election, or to build support against impeachment, how much time do we have left to more of less freely and legally visit Cuba? The Washington Post wrote: “[Bolton] provided no details on what he said were new limits on U.S. citizens’ travel there. A Treasury Department official said regulations would be issued ‘in the coming months’.
Unless they simple mindedly block all non-family travel, there will be long discussion between multiple government agencies of what will be permitted and how it will be monitored and enforced. If specific licenses are reinstituted, new staff must be hired to implement them. (There are no changes of travel regulations on May 2d! That date only applies to use of Title III and IV of Helms Burton.)
Should you book a new trip?

In the past, when the Trump Administration made regulatory changes it honored commitments already made as long as the traveler had evidence of at least partial payment. So buy your air tickets and send deposits sooner rather than later. Should the shutdown be abrupt and unforgiving, in most instances you should be able to obtain a refund, but ask to be sure.
I am posting my own evolving understanding of the licensing situation here.
Statements by others are here
How can we prevent this travesty?
Most importantly don’t give up and passively wait to see what happens. We have allies in Congress. The election nineteen months from now could with bipartisan support end all restrictions on travel and agricultural sales–and even lead to repeal of the embargo.
In the meantime, the tried but true should be followed:
1) Write an op ed or a letter to the editor that builds on your personal experience to make the case against travel restrictions.
2) Contact the local office of your Representative and Senators. See if they are doing public events or fund raisersduring this district work week (a.k.a. recess) where you can ask a question or have a personal conversation. Will they speak to the White House about Bolton’s effort to forbid trips and sponsor legislation to end all travel restrictions?
3) If you are a travel professional, ask ASTA, NTA, USTOA, TPOC, tour operators, air lines, cruise lines, etc. how they are defending your shared business interests?
4) If you are an educator, ask IIE, NAFSA, ETC, NAS, SSRC, LASA, other academic associations and your own institution how they plan to protect educational and professional exchange from renewed political interference.
5) Promote our new petition. Sign herePlease share with all your lists.
Petition: Reject John Bolton’s Attack on Travel and Remittances
I am an American who went to Cuba for people to people, family, academic, professional, athletic or cultural exchange or for other purposeful reasons, or plans to. 
I call upon President Trump as well as my Senators and Representative to oppose the attempt by hard liners in the National Security Council to return to counterproductive US government limits on travel and remittances. 
I also urge restoration of full consular authority and the provision of five year multi-entry visas by both countries.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump’s new Cuba crackdown aimed at Cuban support for Venezuela

April 19, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump turns the Vice

January 13, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Year 60 of the Cuban Revolution–20181227-0018.html

January 1, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cuba’s First Military Doctors (Part 2)

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cuba’s First Military Doctors (Part 1)

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Washington imposes new sanctions on Cuba and Nicaragua

National Security Adviser John Bolton announced an escalation of US sanctions against Cuba & Venezuela during a bellicose speech delivered in Miami on Thursday to an invitation-only audience of right-wing exiles & Republican functionaries.

November 3, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UN condemns US blockade; Bolton calls for new sanctions

On the same day the UN general assembly voted 134-2 to condemn the US blockade of Cuba, President Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, called Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua a ‘troika of tyranny’ and announced new sanctions on Venezuela and Cuba. Bolton says the U.S. will also impose additional sanctions on Nicaragua.

November 2, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment