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Talk:Cuba

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This is a rather poorly written article, very unclear, and now very out of date. Someone with recent experience who knows how to write clearly should rewrite it.


This article was the Collaboration of the week between 12 December 2006 and 18 December 2006.


For future reference the Wikitravel:CIA World Factbook 2002 import can be found at Talk:Cuba/CIA World Factbook 2002 import.


Legality[edit]

I was under the impression that it's perfectly legal to visit Cuba, the only hitch being that it's illegal to spend any money as that would violate the sanctions...? Jpatokal 22:03, 21 Sep 2004 (EDT)

It's all explained (using gratuitously threatening language) in the US State Department link [1] I added. Generally though, I suspect they only go after conspicuous violators like peace activists. (I should probably add similar notes to North Korea and Iran, since I believe they are also on the "thou shalt not visit" list). -- Colin 23:46, 21 Sep 2004 (EDT)
I was under the same impression that Jpatokal had. I thought the only legal way to get in is if a non-US resident paid for trip, however, the American traveler would be prohibited from repaying the costs or working them off. Sapphire 23:43, 15 Apr 2005 (EDT)

That is strictly correct - though the traveller would need to prove they had not spent money (onus on them, not the US government). -- Beardo 01:11, 20 Feb 2006 (EST)

Yes it is perfectly legal. In all of the world but maybe not for Americans. Don't Americans cherish liberty? Yet their government doesn't afford their citizens the opportunity of visiting Cuba. Are they afraid that Americans might see how efficent and fair their health care and education systems are compared to their own?--217.203.139.107 15:32, 4 November 2009 (EST)

I removed "Travel between the two neighbors has been restricted for decades, but that has just changed, and it is now legal for Americans to travel to Cuba for tourism and spend money there." as this is simply not true. U.S Citizens and permanent resident aliens may only travel to Cuba with either a 'general license' or a 'specific license.' In 2009 the Obama administration relaxed the restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in Cuba, but this is done under a 'general license'. 17 July 2010.

Related links[edit]

  • Cuba eXPlorer — Information about Cuba (mostly related to travel), picture galleries, daily news, forums, a directory of cubans sites and more]
  • Cuba Maps — Maps of all the provinces of Cuba, and maps of the major cities.]

Visas and legal issues[edit]

It was wrongly stated that the tourist card fee is payable on departure. There is a separate CUC 25 departure tax.

It is stated "Usually, your travel agency will give you a discount of those 25 CUC when booking an holiday arrangement." I don't believe that is true, and intend to delete the statement unless others can say that it is correct.

It was stated that the tourist card can be extended twice - again, not true - only one extension. (Unless everyone else that writes has got it wrong.)

-- Beardo 01:21, 20 Feb 2006 (EST)

US section[edit]

The link [2] does not seem to work.

I removed the statement "(Euro are changed 1:1, so it means at current exchange rates also a loss of around 6%)" as it is not correct. (Current rate 1.066 - http://www.bancopopulardeahorro.com/).

-- Beardo 01:31, 20 Feb 2006 (EST)

By car[edit]

The gas prices were wrong. I can't recall the correct price for Regular - I'll check tomorrow.

Money[edit]

I have taken out "Some advise to take Euros (EUR), because EUR exchange rate seems to be about 10% better than of US dollars. (Official rate in December 2005 was 1CUC=1.04 EUR=0.89 USD (before surcharge)). However taking the exchange rates between the USD and EUR into account the actual difference is only 5% and then still you have to pay commission when exchanging your USD into EUR." because it was confusing, may change from week to week and was a written from a US point of view.

-- Beardo 02:03, 20 Feb 2006 (EST)

Our comrade Fidel has made it illegal to convert USD into the local currency. Euros are preferred now, especially since it's a legal currency to use in Cuba. Hmmm. I wonder if OFAC would really know if I went to Cuba. 71.72.212.152 18:25, 28 March 2006 (EST)
This is not correct. It is legal to change USD into CUC, but there is an 11% surcharge. I don't know whether it is legal to spend USD in Cuba instead of CUC, though I suspect not. --Dawnview 03:34, 22 April 2006 (EDT)
10% surcharge on USD actually. Euros are accepted in some specific tourist areas. But in general there is no specific advantage to Euros. Any major currency will do - Euro, CAD, GBP - if you come from one of those countries, bring your home currency and change it here. [The issue with dollars is that Cuba needed to change large amounts of notes via a friendly bank, and the US has cracked down on that.] -- Beardo 18:44, 5 May 2006 (EDT)
Yes plese write sentense with an international point of view. Bringing Euros may be a good idea for someone having this currency (or someone using a minor currency which, unfortunately, might have to convert twice as a minor currency might be hard to exchange in Cuba). But it doesn't make sense from someone from Canada or UK (two countries with currencies well accepted in Cuba from what I heard) to convert to Euros.

The intro[edit]

Too much in the past; too much US. Why should a traveller want to visit Cuba now. The equivalent on world66 is a lot better. -- Beardo 23:36, 27 March 2006 (EST)

I think the history ("was a US-traveller destination, but now banned") is interesting, but you are right that the focus should be on today's traveller. Wikitravel:The traveller comes first. -- Colin 14:03, 28 March 2006 (EST)

Yeah seriously, not only is it unrelated but the statements are halftruths if not flat out lies about Cuba before 1959. User: unknown

By train[edit]

What is the train company in Cuba? Please leave this info on my talk page, as it's highly unlikely I will return to this article unless Bush stops his screwing around on foreign policy. Vote for Roosevelt 1944! Sapphire 18:26, 28 March 2006 (EST)

Communist State?[edit]

The quick facts from the CIA World Fact Book list Cuba is a Communist State, but is this correct? I read somewhere (I think it was the Lonely Planet) that after the fall of the USSR, the Cuban constitution was amended to remove all references to Marxism. Though I also see that in the 2002 amendment to the constitution, the principles of socialism were reaffirmed. What exactly can we put for Government in the quick facts? --Dawnview 03:45, 22 April 2006 (EDT)

From Wikipedia "Cuba is a socialist republic, in which the Communist Party of Cuba is the sole legal political party" If the Communist party is the only permitted political party I would call Cuba a Communist state. Sapphire 03:51, 22 April 2006 (EDT)
Except, if the official policy of the state is not communist (the 1992 amendments recognizes property ownership, for example) it can hardly be called a communist state. Having only one legal political party makes it undemocratic, but not necessarily communist. There are plenty of countries in the world that fall into that category.
The 1992 (and as far as I can tell the 2002 retains this) constitution has the following text under Article 5:
The Communist Party of Cuba, a follower of Martí’s ideas and of Marxism-Leninism, and the organized vanguard of the Cuban nation, is the highest leading force of society and of the state, which organizes and guides the common effort toward the goals of the construction of socialism and the progress toward a communist society.
I guess that settles it. Who knows if official policy really follows this, but then if it doesn't, Cuba wouldn't be the only country in the world to ignore its constitution. :) --Dawnview 04:21, 22 April 2006 (EDT)
This is a terribly complicated subject. The Cuban Communist Party is not really like a political party in capitalist countries (and it is questionable how communist it is, too). Having only one legal party does not necessarily make elections undemocratic - candidates do not need to belong to the party, the party does not choose candidates. The Wikipedia definition is an attempt to be factually accurate. Cuba permits private assets, there is a form of property ownership (though no right to sell property), different jobs get paid different salaries (though differences aren't as wide as in some countries). -- Beardo 19:09, 5 May 2006 (EDT)
"Communist" can refer to two vaguely related governmental systems: first, the original utopian fantasy of Karl Marx, and secondly the USSR and all governments derived from that system. Being a fantasy, the former was never much seen in the real world. So the use of "communist" in a travel guide unambiguously means "a governmental system derived from the USSR's governmental system." Talk of stuff like private property is a red herring since you are referring to the Marxian fantasy definition. What matters here is that "communist state" is a shorthand to the traveler that means "government similar to USSR" which is acurate and informs the traveller much faster than writing a treatsie on the exact details of the Cuban government. -- Colin 19:49, 5 May 2006 (EDT)

Outline ?[edit]

Surely there is enough here that we don't need the outline note ?

-- Beardo 20:20, 5 May 2006 (EDT)

Oh sorry... I wasn't really rating the article as an outline, just restoring the existing rating. I'll review it now to see if we can bump it up to a improved rating. -- Colin 20:28, 5 May 2006 (EDT)
Okay, I verified and yeah it's just an outline -- for now. Here's how we evaluate the current work-status of an article: Wikitravel:Article status. For the more specific details of how to evaluate a country, check out Wikitravel:Country guide status. So it looks to me like Havana is the only {{usable}} article enclosed within the Cuba article. There needs to be a few more usable sub-articles before we can bump the Cuba article from {{outline}} to {{usable}}. -- Colin 20:38, 5 May 2006 (EDT)
Okay - so it is not this article that needs work, but the ones linked to it. Surely we need a different footnote, then ? -- 169.158.84.254 00:28, 9 May 2006 (EDT)

Castro's brother is the current leader[edit]

Should we make any mention that Raul Castro is the current leader since Fidel is under the knife? The story from CNN [3]. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 06:57, 1 August 2006 (EDT)

I'd wait until/unless this becomes a long-term situation, and affects travel to the country. - Todd VerBeek 07:07, 1 August 2006 (EDT)
So Comrade Fidel has been decommissioned far longer than he or anyone else expected. I think he was supposed to be back within two weeks of his surgery, but so far he has been unable to come back to work and in the last media reports he was expecting his death in the not too distant future. Should we update the information to reflect the change in leadership? -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 13:55, 24 October 2006 (EDT)

Map additions[edit]

Can whomever made the map for Cuba possibly add Trinidad and Baracoa, at least, to the map? Cacahuate 03:52, 7 November 2006 (EST)

Provinces[edit]

Do we need pages for each of the 15 provinces, or could we divide it up into larger chunks such as Western Cuba, Central Cuba, Eastern Cuba... Some of the provinces don't have that much of interest, and even those that do only have a handful of sites... Cacahuate 04:36, 13 December 2006 (EST)

Alright, I'm moving forward on this... I created those 3 regions, info from the individual provinces now needs to be merged into the region articles... – cacahuate talk 03:36, 31 March 2007 (EDT)

train info to be put in appropriate city pages[edit]

The following train lines exist:

  • Morón - Ciego de Avila
  • Morón - Esmeralda
  • Morón - Fallá
  • Morón - Júcaro
  • Santiago de Cuba - Antilla
  • Santiago de Cuba - Contramaestre
  • Santiago de Cuba - Holguín
  • Santiago de Cuba - Manzanillo
  • Cienfuegos - Aguada de Pasajeros
  • Cienfuegos - Habana La Coubre
  • Cienfuegos - Sancti Spiritus
  • Cienfuegos - Santo Domingo Viejo
  • Holguín - Antilla
  • Holguín - Las Tunas
  • Bayamo - Guamo
  • Bayamo - Jiguani
  • Bayamo - Manzanillo
  • Caraballo - Hershey
  • Caraballo - Playas del Este
  • Caraballo - San Mateo
  • Caraballo - Talleres Calle 7
  • Habana 19 de Noviembre - Artemisa
  • Habana 19 de Noviembre - Batabanó
  • Habana 19 de Noviembre - ExpoCuba
  • Habana 19 de Noviembre - San Antonio de los Baños
  • Manzanillo - Jiguani
  • Santa Cruz del Norte - Canasi
  • Santa Cruz del Norte - Hershey
  • Santa Cruz del Norte - Jibacoa
  • Santa Cruz del Norte - Talleres Calle 7
  • Talleres Calle 7 - Canasi
  • Talleres Calle 7 - Jaruco
  • Aguada de Pasajeros - Cárdenas
  • Aguada de Pasajeros - Colón
  • Canasi - Hershey
  • Contramaestre - Jiguani
  • Contramaestre - Oriente
  • Habana La Coubre - Guanabo
  • Habana La Coubre - Unión de Reyes
  • Las Tunas - Balcón
  • Matanzas - Agramonte
  • Matanzas - Habana Casa Blanca
  • Matanzas - Los Arabos Nuevo
  • Nuevitas - Tarafa
  • Sagua - Concha
  • Sagua - Encrucijada
  • Caibarién - Vega Alta
  • Ciego de Avila - Júcaro
  • Guane - Los Palacios
  • Guane - Pinar del Rio
  • Jaruco - Chucho Número 3
  • Güira de Melena - Rincón
  • Kilómetro 5,6 - Piedrecitas
  • Placetas Norte - Sopimpa
  • Tunas de Zaza - Zaza del Medio

External links[edit]

I just removed this gigantic list of external links, per our external links policy, but I'll put them here for now, they may aid in research. – cacahuate talk 17:28, 19 April 2007 (EDT)

The long list of external link vios is still accessible from the edit window, but I've commented it out to avoid attracting spam. --Peter Talk 02:09, 5 November 2009 (EST)

What's the beef with beef?[edit]

Beef and lobster are illegal to sell outside of state owned hotels and restaurants, however special lobster lunch/supper offers are plentiful for the tourists. You may see turtle on menus in Paladares, but be aware that they are endangered and eating them is illegal. The jail sentence for a Cuban killing even a cow is very strict. Is the part about beef true? I thought this was peculiar only to India. --Wandering 14:48, 4 December 2007 (EST)

  • Cuba is plenty strange, but killing cows is not a religious issue. [4] Being from Ohio, all I can say is eat more beef, or maybe pork, you know, the other white meat. 2old 15:06, 4 December 2007 (EST)
All things to with beef in the good ole US of A are pork! So, I guess the statement in italics above is just some cuba lover's idea of a joke on wikitravel and I can safely slaughter a cow when I'm finally allowed to visit Havana? Say it is so and I'll delete that text from the article.--Wandering 16:24, 4 December 2007 (EST)
Need to read the link above, down a bit further. I think you want to avoid slaughter in Cuba, due to jail time, unless you are State approved. But, if you really have the desire to do one up, I have a friend about two miles down the road, in the business. Having a boat in Cuba is a real problem too, according to my two Cuban cousin-in-laws. I have tried to get them to visit Cuba with me to visit relatives, to no avail. 16:43, 4 December 2007 (EST)

That's because a person can get more jail time for killing a cow than killing a human, under Cuban law. Cow killers can get four to 10 years in prison under a toughened crime law adopted in January. Those who transport or sell the meat from an illegally slaughtered cow can get three to eight years. Providing beef at an unauthorized restaurant or workplace can fetch two to five years. And buying contraband beef is punishable by three months to one year in jail or a steep fine. From link above. 2old 08:45, 5 December 2007 (EST)

Why is that? If the Cubanos don't revere the cow like in India, why this level of control? Is it because there is a shortage of beef? Or can cows swim across to Florida?--Wandering 09:05, 5 December 2007 (EST)
I am not an expert on Cuba, but have a real desire to visit, so I have paid attention for years. They seem to have screwed up many agricultural situations by going from private to state run commercial farms. One of their real income producers for the country is of course tourism, they are building many state owned resorts, I think they say, they are saving the beef for tourists, I think Fidel likely gets his share, but it it's beans and rice for the common folk. So, if you as a small farmer raise a steer, you are obligated to sell it to the state, rather than feeding it to your family. Like everything else, it is likely selective enforcement. Like some other Countries (Mexico for example), they will fine the locals for eating lobster out of season, but there is no lack of local lobster in the restaraunts year around, in some areas to the south. But, from what little I know, Cuba does seem to be a very safe place to visit. Wish I could get there before the changes that I imagine will take place after Fidel dies. Buy coastal property on west side. 2old 10:15, 5 December 2007 (EST)
I have no doubt the cattle-slaughtering law is a state-control issue. I'm not convinced it's relevant to Wikitravel, however, as it is incredibly unlikely that any visitor to the island will have any opportunity to slaughter a cow/bull. All we need to say is that its unlawful to buy or sell beef except in state restaurants. (The comment about turtles seems appropriate.) - Todd VerBeek 10:33, 5 December 2007 (EST)

Section "Traveler's Checks" need clarification. Need help for money[edit]

I live in Québec, Canada and I am going to Cuba soon. I have a few questions about money which doesn't seems clear even after reading all the article. The only traveler's check I can find here is American Express. I can buy them in $CAD if I want. My travel agent and travel books aren't of any help so I am asking the "experts" here at wikitravel :-)

  • Why is there a sentense saying "American Express checks are difficult to cash due to the likelihood that they were purchased with U.S. dollars."?
  • Why would AmEx checks be more likely to be bought with USD?
  • Why are Visa checks (no longer available in Québec as far as I know) more accepted than AmEx? Aren't Visa and AmEx two equally american companies (despite the name)?
  • Why does the goverment of Canada web site says that AmEx checks aren't accepted at all in Cuba? (but doesn't suggest any alternative, again)
  • What are the other companies making traveller's? Anybody knows where to get them in Canada? Visa and Thomas Cook both seem dead here.
  • Are cash widhrawls from PLUS and CIRUS non-US debit cards charged in USD with the 11% fee like credit cards or they are charged in CUC?
  • Is there a safe way to bring cash to Cuba without paying astronomic (11% + USD to CAD exchange) fees?

thanks!

It's not really that American Express cheques are bought with American dollars but that fact that AE is an American company. Visa and Mastercard are different as they have localized offices around the world. It's not just Cuba either - American Express credit cards and travelers cheques in general are pretty useless in most of Europe too. Bring in cash in Euros or Canadian dollars or VISA or MASTERCARD credit cards seems to be the best way. I'd steer clear of any form of travelers cheques - didn't even know that anybody used them nowadays.--217.203.139.107 15:38, 4 November 2009 (EST)

Just a sidenote on Visa and MasterCards - you can only use Canadian bank cards. You can not us an MBNA MasterCard - example, a Canadian Tire or Sears MasterCard can not be used. A Bank of Montreal MasterCard can. Also yuo will not find bank machines readily available. We usually go to the resort or airport and if we need money we use our Canadian dollars to exchange to Cuban Convertible Pesos. Or we have taken money out of our VISA card to exchange as well. But note: When you extend your room at the resorts, they have an extra charge and it will be on your Visa or M/C invoice in US Currency, exchanged to Canadian Dollars.

20th May Independence Day[edit]

Hi I am wanting to find out what celebrations take place and are worth attending on Independence Day in Cuba, particularly Havana

Number one there are no resrtictions for visting Iran or North Korea unlike Cuba. Any way is there a place to buy propaganda posters in Cuba when I was there last I could not find one

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