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US Politics: Reaching the Tipping Point

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18 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Only if you get you get your passport stamped in Cuba. I have met Americans who did travel through Canada to visit Cuba.

I have friends who've told me the Cuban authorities are quite happy not to stamp your passport if you ask them not to. 

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Yup, I have too. The question is,what are the consequences if you get caught? Though I don't know how you get caught,unless you are foolish enough to bring back Cuban rum.

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48 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Only if you get you get your passport stamped in Cuba. I have met Americans who did travel through Canada to visit Cuba.

Wait, I thought at customs one of the things they did was check to make sure that your passport was stamped from where you came from, assuming it was a different country than where you were from. I get Mexico being kind of lax, but Canada?

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30 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

Yup, I have too. The question is,what are the consequences if you get caught? Though I don't know how you get caught,unless you are foolish enough to bring back Cuban rum.

I brought back Cuban cigars from Argentina. It wasn’t hard.

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52 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

The question is,what are the consequences if you get caught?

Right?  I'm sure there are statutory penalties, but I have a hard time believing anyone would bother prosecuting.  Maybe if somebody does it habitually or is high profile.  Could be entirely wrong though, I've never looked into it.  Don't even have a valid passport at this point.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I believe that’s illegal, or at the very least would cause a ton of problems at customs when I’d reenter the U.S.

It is not illegal.  You reenter where you left from, particularly since you weren't able to fly in any more than you were able to fly out on a US airline then. 

I know for I've done for decades -- always legally.  It's so much nicer to go and return to the US than to Mexico or Canada.  And a lot less expensive than a charter flight out of a US airport (which may come back again). 

Which were the average US person's options, even those going legally, until Obama changed that.  You didn't even have to apply for a visa -- a US visa / permission to GO to Cuba, not for Cuba to allow the passenger in.  Recall these rules are also very much about keeping US citizens from exercising their constitutional right to free travel.

Cuba helped out, by not stamping one's passport, even for the passengers of legal charter flights. But traveling via another country makes the trip a whole lot more - LOT MORE - expensive, unaffordable for a majority of the younger and student travelers, who love traveling to places that are more out of the way than cruise ships and resorts. What remains illegal is spending money that goes to the state. So far, however, the US airline who were able to establish a presence after Obama in Cuba have no plans to stop flying there. 

Or -- you go on a US airline as one of the legal categories, most of which remain. You still can do that, SO FAR.  So far, the airline will still issue the visa as part of the price of your ticket.  So if someone want to go to Cuba, book right now, before the official change of regs kicks in, which allows for grandfathering of projects already in play, and you additionally can fly directly from the US to Cuba and back.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"The Fallout Of The Trump Administration's New Restrictions On Travel To Cuba"

https://www.npr.org/2019/06/05/730057551/the-fallout-of-the-trump-administrations-new-restrictions-on-travel-to-cuba

Quote

 

LAVERTY: Well, we released a study last week of hundreds of Cuban entrepreneurs, and it was quite astounding. You know, over 95% of Cubans said that changes to travel would either harm or greatly harm their business. And 97% said that their earnings were directly or indirectly linked to more U.S. visitors. And then over 50% of those surveyed said that they support five or more members of their family. 

So you can imagine this is taking food off the table and money out of the pockets of average Cubans that, supposedly, we're trying to help.

 

It's been part of my brief to be up-to-date on all travel regs for years.  The only persons I know who got hit with any prosecution for disobeying were movie people, particularly Robert Redford.  He gave Hillary a big campaign donation, i.e. paying a, I think it was, a $30,000 'fine', and it went away.  That's the reprecussion for doing something illegal in Cuba -- a fine.  (Unless you are trying to take down the Cuban government, do a military invasion, etc., w/o even official US backing -- then you get a medal and are labeled a martyr to FREEDOM!)

But even Beyoncé and Jay-Z didn't suffer reprecussions in 2013, prior to Obama's changes.

https://www.reuters.com/article/entertainment-us-cuba-beyonce/beyonce-and-jay-z-rock-havana-for-their-anniversary-idUSBRE9340XK20130405

And all along colleges and universities, even after the bushwa new, much harsher regs kicked in, continued to run their programs there.

Bringing back Cuba cigars and rum -- as well as educational / art materials -- has always been legal, as long as it wasn't in quantity for resale.  $100 tended to be the cut-off prior to the Obama changes.  Art that sells on the art market is also legal, but like any purchase as such abroad, upon re-entering the US, one has to pay duties.

 

Edited by Zorral

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Looking into it...

Quote

Cruise ships and group tours have been banned from visiting Cuba as of Wednesday, per new regulations from the Trump administration. But what does that mean for travelers already booked on trips or those who still want to go? [...]

“The important thing to know about these changes is that there is still a way to travel legally to Cuba and that is under 'support for the Cuban people,'” Sarah Arizaga, manager the of Cuban Adventures tour agency U.S. office, told USA TODAY. The company’s tours were already compliant with the condition about support for the Cuban people since President Donald Trump’s 2017 changes to Cuba travel, when the administration eliminated individual people-to-people travel. [...]

It means travelers will have more responsibility if they decide to travel to Cuba, like evidence of staying at privately-owned bed and breakfasts, eating at privately-owned restaurants, shopping in privately-owned stores, visiting art galleries and interacting with locals on a meaningful level, according to Arizaga.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control can ask for documentation of such activities for up to five years. Travelers can keep a travel diary and receipts as proof. Under the “people-to-people” designation this would’ve fallen under the burden of tour companies.

 

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Posted (edited)

Speaking of universities, I heard a report on CNN last night that took me by surprise. College and university enrollment in the US has dropped for something like 7 years straight. 

This means they’re taking a double-whammy with the on-going trade tensions with China. The Chinese are looking for other countries to send their kids to, and Chinese students in the States (as in Canada) pay top dollar for their tuition. The report said it could mean billions over the next decade.

Also, luxury stocks have been taking a hit as well. Chinese tourism to the States is down, and Tiffany’s, for example, reported bad numbers this quarter and predicted sales would be down 5% this year, mentioning the decrease in sales to visitors from China.

eta Oh, I forgot, the discussion was triggered by the Chinese government issuing a warning to travelers about how dangerous it was to travel in the US.

Edited by Fragile Bird

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As for how the charter flights were able to fly out of US airports to Cuban airports: the charter company rented planes of another airline that wasn't a US airline.  Which, of course, is how so many US citizens up to the Civil War made huge amounts out of the African slave trade to Cuba -- selling the US flag to be flown on ships since the Brits who enforced this on the high seas, were prohibited by the treaty that ended the War of 1812 to stop and search ships with the US flag.  Also made huge amounts not just their cut of the profit, but from building and selling the ships that carried the slaves -- New York and Boston and Baltimore families, in particular.

Corps from everywhere hide money, launder money, etc., under false flags now all time.  Though  the charter flights weren't false flag, but a legal thing to do.  It is not and never was, for a US citizen to go to Cub. -- just not via a means that is US owned, which is why 'private vessels' are so prominent in the new regs. (Miami Cubans are  / were doing it all the time now, in their own yachts and flash boats, to visit their families.  Also to bring goods if they managed to make a deal with someone who wouldn't look.)

Like EVERYTHING ALL TIME ABOUT THE US AND CUBA, it's all very complicated and -- well, stupid,.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I brought back Cuban cigars from Argentina. It wasn’t hard.

Are you sure the cigars were not rolled by Dominicans?

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Perhaps I'm mad, but I think that there's a very legit chance that Warren wins the Dem nomination and defeats Trump and is the next President and the first female President.  

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1 hour ago, Triskele said:

Perhaps I'm mad, but I think that there's a very legit chance that Warren wins the Dem nomination and defeats Trump and is the next President and the first female President.  

Having just had an election in Australia where the opposition laid out a policy framework with a skilled but uncharismatic leader against a right-wing government who had (again) knifed its own leader in the back, and where that party lost, I'm sorry but Warren isn't exactly my cup of tea.  

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6 hours ago, Triskele said:

Perhaps I'm mad, but I think that there's a very legit chance that Warren wins the Dem nomination and defeats Trump and is the next President and the first female President.  

About 2 months ago CNN ran polls asking people who they would vote for in the election, using the top 8 or 10 candidates versus Trump. Or longer, Biden hadn’t announced yet.

In any event, every Democrat would beat Trump, some handily, some narrowly, but one: a Trump v Warren choice resulted in Trump beating Warren 38% to 37%. Statistically insignificant, of course, and as CNN pointed out themselves, way too early to ask that question.

Warren, of course, has been working hard and doing very well, 4th now, isn’t she? I wonder how those polls would turn out today. I’m sure CNN will be re-running the poll again soon.

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14 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

One good thing about Warren over Biden, she definitely doesn't share his barbarian views on women's right to choose.

Don't worry, he reversed course on that...today. :rolleyes:

Biden is a treasure trove of awful, terrible, disastrous ideas. And he's the front runner.

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24 minutes ago, Mr. Fancy Pants said:

Don't worry, he reversed course on that...today. :rolleyes:

Hey, hey, hey!  It was yesterday, alright.

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18 hours ago, Martell Spy said:

Are you sure the cigars were not rolled by Dominicans?

They were rolled too tight!!!

They have a good hustle though. You buy two boxes, one of Cubans and one of non-Cubans that are the same size, and switch the seals and the boxes and you’re good to go. You can even bring the Cuban box and seals back and change them once your through customs.

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2 hours ago, Mr. Fancy Pants said:

Biden is a treasure trove of awful, terrible, disastrous ideas. And he's the front runner.

US politics is dominated by awful ideas, and has been for a long, long time. Biden just represents us getting back to the normal of terrible ideas instead of policy being decided by a hate filled, tantrum throwing baby intent on flinging his crap at everyone and everything around.

And a large, perhaps overwhelming portion of electorate wants nothing more than to get back to normal. Cause you know, once we get back to normal we can all take a breath and stop worrying about or paying attention to the state of politics or our country. It's not like normal was slowly killing us, stripping us of our rights, or leaving us trapped in lives of quiet desperation or anything.

And okay, even if it was, it's a hell of a lot less threatening than change. Or those goddamn atheist socialists that are going to throw everyone who ever owned a gun in a FEMA camp or whatever other drivel is the favorite bullshit of right wing conspiracy theorists this hour.

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

They were rolled too tight!!!

They have a good hustle though. You buy two boxes, one of Cubans and one of non-Cubans that are the same size, and switch the seals and the boxes and you’re good to go. You can even bring the Cuban box and seals back and change them once your through customs.

That's just not necessary.  You can bring in a $100 of cigars.  Or is it more now?  Don't smoke and nobody I know does, so not even as gifts are they anything I bother with.

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5 hours ago, Mr. Fancy Pants said:

Don't worry, he reversed course on that...today. :rolleyes:

Biden is a treasure trove of awful, terrible, disastrous ideas. And he's the front runner.

Well, that's certainly better, hopefully the fact that his staff was at least comfortable saying he still supported the Hyde Amendment, shows people how far he is in the past, and that he's only being dragged here by the electorate.  He's got a terrible record on this issue.  

Will also take this as an opportunity to to remind everyone that Biden still sucks.

 

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