Cuba & Costa Rica Blog
About this blog
Written by Cuba and Costa Rica expert Christopher P. Baker, this blog will update readers on life in these two diverse and exciting countries.
- Last blog post on Costa Rica and Cuba
- First-ever group motorcycle tours of Cuba successful
- Cuba’s Mariel port readying for Panama Canal expansion
- Musings on wildlife encounters on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula
- Cuba’s Steam Trains puffing their last gasp
- My top five thrilling activities in Costa Rica
- Cuba’s fun February festivals include Harleys, Books, Cigars
- Five top volcano viewing experiences in Costa Rica
- New road along Costa Rica / Nicaraguan border mired
- Cuba’s Hotel Campoamor at Cojímar to be restored?
- Cuban revolutionary Celia Sánchez honored in new book
- Christmas challenge for Costa Rica’s sexually abused girls
- Costa Rica opens Chinatown in downtown San José
- David Soul films Hemingway’s car restoration in Cuba
- National Geographic Expeditions receives license for Cuba tours
It's not easy being arrested for illegal travel to Cuba
Mytchell Mora, a U.S. citizen, has been trying to get arrested (or at least cited) for illegally traveling to Cuba... to no avail.
Last week he flew home from Havana to Los Angeles via Costa Rica, declared to U.S. Immigration and Customs officials that he had broken the law, and essentially said to the authorities: "Take me to jail or give me a ticket!" They did neither. They didn't even confiscate his Cuba postcards and T-shirt.
Mora wants to be cited so that he can challenge the travel ban in court.
Others have tried the same thing before... to no avail.
The U.S. government doesn't want such cases to go to court in case the defendants prevail, bringing the absurd travel restrictions tumbling down.
This is Mora's fourth trip to Cuba without permission. After his second trip, in 2000, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, wrote to him asking for details of his transactions in Cuba and gave him ten days to respond on threat of a fine or jail. Mora replied invoking his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. He has never heard back.
If you aren't quite so ballsy as to demand to be arrested or cited, but still face the threat of an OFAC "pre-penalty notice," you can effectively kill it dead by requesting a hearing. Although OFAC has issued several thousand "pre-penalty notices" threatening fines for illegal travel to Cuba, only two such cases have ever been prosecuted (during a very brief period when George W. Bush appointed two judges to hear the huge backlog of cases). Most have simply been gathering dust for years.
The National Lawyers Guild (132 Nassau St., Suite 922, New York, NY 10038, tel. 212/679-5100, fax 212/679-2811,) has a Cuba subcommittee that can aid in defending against OFAC action, as can the Center for Constitutional Rights (666 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, tel. 212/614-6464, fax 212/614-6499).