2004-05-13 11:33:24 UTC
Department used to issue licenses for travel to Cuba for Cultural Exchanges.
These have been virtually stopped under the current US regime.
Subj: SPECIAL CUBA POLICY UPDATE: Administration Cuba Policy Changes
Date: 5/12/2004 4:21:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)
May 12, 2004
Dear Cuba Policy Advocates:
Last Thursday, May 6, President Bush accepted the recommendations from the
report of the "Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba." The recommendations,
which are draconian, will now become official U.S. policy. Among them are a
virtual end to educational travel, a cut in family visits from one per year to
one every three years, increased aid to dissidents, assignment of a military
plane (C-130) to fly around Cuba beaming in Radio and TV Martí increased
enforcement of existing travel restrictions, and many other measures. The
measures are designed (according to the Bush Administration) to empower Cuban
civil society and deny resources to the "Cuban dictatorship." The reality is
that they will further weaken Cuban civil society and deny needed assistance to
the Cuban people. To say nothing of the impact they will have on the
Cuban-American community in this country and their efforts at family
reunification and reconciliation.
If you are part of an educational insitution with a travel license, we recommend
that you look carefully at the section on "undermining tourism." The new
regulations will state that short-term educational programs will be licensed
only if the program "directly supports U.S. policy goals," i.e., regime change
The recommendations are a costly and dangerous endeavor. They will only serve
to increase tensions between the two nations, heightening fears of forcible
regime change among the Cuban people. Below you will find fundamentally
unedited excerpts from the report, using their words, not ours. Please take the
time to read them to gain a sense of the full impact of these outrageous
measures. We recognize that this is a long email, but we want you to have the
opportunity to get the full flavor of the report.
If you would like to read the full report (about 500 pages) you can find it at:
They take comments on the report at ***@state.gov .
We will send further actions soon.
Latin America Working Group
The following are the chief recommendations of the "Commission for Assistance to
a Free Cuba." The stated goals of the commission are:
To empower Cuban civil society;
To break the Cuban dictatorship's information blockade;
To deny resources to the Cuban dictatorship;
To illuminate the reality of Castro's Cuba;
To encourage international efforts to support Cuban civil society and challenge
the Castro regime; and
To undermine the regime's "succession strategy."
With these goals, the commission report sets out a policy that is extremist and
out-of-touch with the values and ideals of mainstream American society. It is
the work of hard liners.
EMPOWER CUBAN CIVIL SOCIETY
(Note: In this section there is a great emphasis on increased support for NGOs
(non-governmental organizations) that are working "toward democracy in Cuba."
Most are the Miami-based NGOs are run by hard-line Cuban Americans. For the
sake of brevity, some of these recommendations have been left out.)
Recognizing the U.S. assistance program already in place, the Commission
recommends that the U.S. Government make available an additional $29 million (to
augment the current Cuba program budget of $7 million) to the State Department,
USAID, and other appropriate U.S. Government agencies for the following measures
to aid the training, development, and empowerment of a Cuban democratic
opposition and civil society:
Provide additional grants to willing NGOs for activities supporting democratic
and human rights groups on the island to fund an increased flow of information
on transitions to a political system based on democracy, human rights, and a
market economy to the island, including radio and TV broadcasts, in support of
and to augment Radio/TV Martí efforts;
Support NGOs involved in medical assistance in buying and distributing medicines
on the island, which can be distributed to unemployed physicians and medical
Work with willing third-country allies to support creation of an international
fund for the protection and development of civil society in Cuba. This fund
should engage, train, and provide resources for volunteers of different
nationalities to travel to Cuba for several weeks to provide logistical and
technical assistance to independent libraries, professional organizations,
charity organizations, journalists, educators, nurses, and medical doctors
working independently of the regime;
Encourage a wider array of religious organizations to provide humanitarian
assistance and training to Cuban churches through streamlining licensing
procedures and expanding outreach to those organizations.
Building Democracy by Empowering Cuban Civil Society:
Ongoing USAID Section 109 Cuba program
Human Rights and Democracy: Grants for activities supporting democratic and
human rights groups on the island and to fund an increased flow of information
to the island on transitions to a political system based on democracy, human
rights, and a market economy.
Women: Programs to support democracy-building efforts by women, such as programs
to train, develop, and organize women's groups in Cuba.
Afro-Cubans: Programs to develop democracy-building and civil-society
groups within the Afro-Cuban community. Youth: Programs to reach out to
disaffected Cuban youth to enable them to take greater political/civil society
action in support of democracy and human rights in Cuba.
Civil Society Development: NGO training programs to promote peaceful methods to
build democracy and civil society and advocate greater respect for human rights
and fundamental freedoms
Material Assistance: Provision of computers, short-wave radios, satellite
dishes, decoders, faxes and copying machines by U.S. and third-country NGOs to
Cuban civil society groups and journalists.
Independent Libraries: Programs to re-stock, strengthen and expand the Cuban
independent library network and to promote their solidarity with national
library associations in Europe and Latin America.
Independent Labor: Programs to promote membership and organizational development
in Cuba and to facilitate international contacts by the independent labor
movement in Cuba.
$36 million Subtotal
Public Diplomacy: Illuminate the reality of Castro's Cuba, through public
diplomacy initiatives worldwide, including conferences, small grants, media and
Total Recommended Funding
BREAK THE INFORMATION BLOCKADE
Direct the immediate deployment of the C-130 COMMANDO SOLO airborne platform,
coordinated with the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), for weekly airborne
radio and television transmissions into Cuba, consistent with the United States
international telecommunication obligations.
Make available funds to acquire and refit a dedicated airborne platform for
full-time transmission of Radio and TV Mart?into Cuba, consistent with the
United States international telecommunications obligations.
Provide funds to NGOs to purchase broadcast time on TV and radio stations in the
Caribbean basin that can be received in Cuba for programs on democracy, human
rights, and market economies.
Increase the provision of short-wave radios, satellite dishes, decoders, and
other similar types of equipment to the Cuban people
DENY REVENUES TO THE CUBAN DICTATORSHIP
A. Undermine Regime-sustaining Tourism
Continue to strengthen enforcement of travel restrictions to ensure that
permitted travel is not abused and used as cover for tourism, illegal business
travel, or to evade restrictions on carrying cash into Cuba. This can be
accomplished by increasing inspections of travelers and shipments to and from
Cuba and continuing training of inspectors at all points of entry and
pre-clearance facilities on the identification of unlicensed travelers.
Support efforts by NGOs in selected third countries to highlight human rights
abuses in Cuba, as part of a broader effort to discourage tourist travel.
Eliminate the regulatory provision allowing for the import of $100 worth of
Cuban goods produced by Cuban state entities, including cigars and rum, as
accompanied baggage. In order to enforce this measure, Treasury would need to
continue to provide training to law enforcement authorities at U.S. ports and
pre-clearance facilities to identify and fine violators of the import ban.
Eliminate abuses of educational travel by limiting educational travel to only
undergraduate or graduate degree granting institutions and only for
full-semester study programs, or for shorter duration only when the program
directly supports U.S. policy goals; requiring that the travelers be enrolled in
a full-time course of study at the licensed institution; and requiring that
educational institutional licenses be renewed annually, rather than bi-annually,
to allow for improved enforcement of OFAC regulations.
Eliminate the general license provision for amateur or semi-professional
athletic teams to travel to Cuba to engage in competitions and require that all
such travel be specifically licensed.
Eliminate the specific license provision for travel related to clinics and
workshops in Cuba, leaving general and specific license categories for
professional research and attendance at professional meetings unchanged.
Eliminate the concept of fully-hosted travel and require that all Cuba
travel-related transactions be licensed under general or specific license,
regardless of whether or not the U.S. traveler or another person subject to U.S.
jurisdiction is directly involved in and/or pays for the transactions.
In order to improve unity of effort, responsiveness, and overall effectiveness,
federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies should increase active
participation in intelligence sharing and establish agreed-upon protocols for
locating and prosecuting pleasure boaters who travel to Cuba illegally. We
recommend an increase in both maritime surface patrols and air sorties in the
region by law enforcement agencies.
Revise the U.S. Government licensing policy to limit the issuance of temporary
sojourn permits for private travel, except for the explicit delivery of
humanitarian goods or services or when it is in the U.S. foreign policy
interest. To mitigate against undue burdens on legitimate religious and
humanitarian groups, we recommend increased efforts to reduce the costs charged
by licensed scheduled charter flights.
B. Limit the Regime's Manipulation of Humanitarian U.S. Policies
Recognizing the humanitarian need in Cuba as a basis for U.S. policies on
remittances, gift parcels, and family travel, the Commission recommends a
tightening of current policies to decrease the flow of resources to the regime.
Prohibit remittances to certain Cuban officials and members of the Cuban
Communist Party and its affiliated institutions.
Permit individuals to send remittances only to immediate family (grandparents,
grandchildren, parents, siblings, spouses, and children) in Cuba.
Revoke the existing general license provision in the Cuban Assets Control
Regulations for banks to send individual remittances to Cuba. Such transactions
would require each bank to be specifically licensed as a remittance-forwarding
service provider. This will facilitate the oversight and effective enforcement
of remittance regulations.
Offer rewards to those who report on illegal remittances that lead to
enforcement actions. An undetermined amount of remittances are sent illegally to
Cuba, via third country companies and through "mules" who carry the money to
Cuba either directly or through third-countries. Rewards will encourage efforts
to identify and eliminate illegal remittance networks.
Direct U.S. law enforcement authorities to conduct "sting" operations against
"mule" networks and others who illegally carry money to Cuba as a means to
disrupt and discourage the sending of illegal remittances.
Recognizing that gift parcels meet a fundamental humanitarian need in Cuba and
that the shipment of these benefit the regime less directly than cash
remittances, the Commission recommends:
Limit gift parcels to medicines, medical supplies and devices, receive-only
radios, and batteries, not to exceed $200 total value, and food (unlimited in
dollar amount); and
Limit gift parcels to one per month per household, except for gift parcels
exclusively containing food, rather than the current policy of allowing one gift
parcel per month per individual recipient. This change will have no impact on
NGOs that provide humanitarian support or assistance to pro-democracy or civil
To reduce the regime's manipulation of family visits to generate hard currency ?
while preserving efforts to promote legitimate family tties and humanitarian
relief for the Cuban people ? the Commission reecommends:
Limit family visits to Cuba to one (1) trip every three years under a specific
license; individuals would be eligible to apply for a specific license three
years after their last visit to Cuba; new arrivals from Cuba would be eligible
to apply for a specific license three years after leaving Cuba;
Limit the definition of "family" for the purposes of family visits to immediate
family (including grandparents, grandchildren, parents, siblings, spouses, and
Limit the length of stay in Cuba for family visitation to 14 days. (This limit
would be consistent with limits currently being implemented for humanitarian and
other groups visiting the island);
Reduce the current authorized per diem amount (the authorized amount allowed for
food and lodging expenses for travel in Cuba) from $164 per day to $50 per day
(i.e. approximately eight times what a Cuban national would expect to earn
during a 14-day visit) for all family visits to Cuba, based on the presumption
that travelers will stay with family in Cuba.
Limit the volume of baggage carried by those traveling to Cuba to no more than
44 pounds per traveler, without the possibility of purchasing excess baggage
capacity. Travelers and groups holding specific licenses to deliver humanitarian
goods or to deliver assistance to civil society groups and official U.S.
Government travelers would continue to be exempt from this requirement.
Denying Migration Revenues to the Regime:
Recognizing our humanitarian interest in continuing to discourage potential
rafters from risking their lives at sea, while seeking to minimize the Castro
regime's ability to earn hard currency by exploiting our visa determination
process, the Commission recommends:
Reduce Castro's profiteering from legal migration to the United States,
including through charging exorbitant fees for passports, exit permits, medical
examinations, and charter flights, by requesting an international monitoring and
coordination entity to conduct a thorough review of regime practices with a view
to reasonableness and consistency with other nation's practices, and to suggest
changes as appropriate.
C. Deny Other Sources of Revenue to the Regime
To deter foreign investment in Cuba in confiscated properties, claims to which
are owned by U.S. nationals, aggressively pursue Title IV visa sanctions against
those foreign nationals trafficking in (e.g., using or benefiting from) such
property, including devoting additional personnel and resources to application
Neutralize Cuban government front companies by establishing a Cuban Asset
Targeting Group, comprised of appropriate law enforcement authorities, to
investigate and identify new ways in which hard currency is moved in and out of
Cuba, including Internet banking, pre-paid cards, hawala-type systems, Internet
gambling companies, and other such mechanisms. The group would also work to
identify and close Cuban government front companies.
ILLUMINATE THE REALITY OF CASTRO'S CUBA
Recognizing the importance of an enhanced public diplomacy effort, the
Commission recommends that the U.S. Government make available an additional $5
million for the following purposes:
Fund U.S. Embassy public diplomacy sections worldwide to disseminate information
abroad about U.S. foreign policy, specifically regarding human rights and other
developments in Cuba, including Castro's record of harboring terrorists,
committing espionage against the other countries, fomenting subversion of
democratically-elected governments in Latin America, and the U.S. Government's
belief that Cuba has at least a limited, developmental offensive biological
weapons research and development effort;
Provide small grants and other assistance to local national groups interested in
promoting greater information about U.S. policies toward Cuba and greater
national involvement in support of democracy and the development of civil
society in Cuba; and
Fund and promote international or third-country national conferences to
disseminate information abroad about U.S. policies on transition planning
efforts related to Cuba.
For any other questions, problems, or comments you may email LAWG at