October, 2009: TRAVELING to Cuba from the U.S. can be a hassle. It is much more complicated than necessary, but it is quite do-able. RETURNING to the U.S. is relatively simple, but it has been a bit stressing for some Americans. I have done this 16 times, and I’ve interviewed dozens of others who have come back during the administrations of Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama. I also network with many concerned Americans who regularly report their experiences as well as what their friends and associates have been through. The information provided on this site, as well as future information, will be the most current and accurate available, and updated when appropriate.
Needless to say, there are no guaranties. For that matter, there is no guarantee that your aircraft will take off and land safely in Havana or anywhere else. But I sincerely believe that if you read the information presented on these pages, you are extremely unlikely to encounter problems when returning to the U.S. or afterwards. I believe that the odds are about the same as the odds of being stopped by a highway patrol person for driving 56 mph in a 55 mph zone on a clear day. I have already returned from Havana twice in 2009–in January and September. On both trips, my signed U.S. customs forms clearly stated, under “Countries visited: MEXICO, CUBA.” In January, I was asked at SFO if I had any rum or cigars, to which I replied, “No.” Last month I entered the U.S. through the airport at Sacramento. All I heard was, “Welcome back.” No questions, no bags opened. I barely slowed down walking through customs. The authorities know from their data that I’ve been to Cuba frequently. They’ve scanned my passport numerous times, including the seven times I flew directly from Havana into Miami. Back in 2002, during the year following the nine-eleven attacks, I ended up on TSA’s shi…, er, fecal list, and I was delayed several times traveling within the U.S. for unknown reasons. Eventually they dropped me off their . During the last 10 years I traveled by myself to Cuba and back on 13 of 16 trips. I would think that I have a very suspicious profile.But no worries!
So GO! Have fun. Visit a fascinating, beautiful country. Meet some warm, funny people. My goal is to encourage you and to assist you. Stay tuned–there is going to be a lot more information posted soon.