[Thu 9 May, 17:55]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
I need some info, please... - (13 replies)

Hello every one, I have a friend in Toronto who is willing to bring me a laptop to Cuba, he is asking me if there will be any trouble at customs, and I do not know what to tell him. I thought that he can declared at the entrance that he is bringing it to work during his holliday here, and in the way back he could say that he got stolen the last day, but, all you there as I do know how complicated things could be sometimes here, and I am worried that he can get into trouble...Does any one out there can give a suggestion please?. Thank you for your time...


[Thu 9 May, 18:02]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
1. no problem

I brought down a laptop in December and left it there. All I was asked at customs was if it was for personal use.. I said yes. Nobody keeps track of these things as you are going into Cuba, so he will not have to say anything on the way out.


[Thu 9 May, 18:07]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
2. Thanks friend!

for your fast response, other tourist told me something else but I wasn't sure if he was telling me the truth, or may be he was more unlucky.
Best regards Dog!


[Thu 9 May, 18:14]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
3. Correct

I've done it several times . No problem.

They WILL make you turn it on so maKE SURE THE BATTERY IS CHARGED or you have the power cord with it.


[Thu 9 May, 19:17]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
4. laptops

I have NEVER been asked to switch mine on.

Last time in from the UK I had to fill in a declaration - including the serial number - which I had to hand back in next time I left. (Was never asked in my seven entrances last year.)

Claiming it was stolen risks the Cuban getting accused of the theft if the machine is found.


[Thu 9 May, 19:25]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
5. Luck of the draw

A friend returned last week from Havana. He had brought down a laptop that he left behind. They didn't even look at it when he entered Cuba although they did go through his 40 lbs of donated meds. All in all, he didn't have any problems.


[Thu 9 May, 19:51]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
6. Wow - your friend might have a Customs nightmare!

'Cheers Terry' and others have mentioned that THE OLD POLICY (lax focus on imported luxury goods) has changed!

I too brought several laptops before - no problem THEN - but that's not Cuban Customs' routine now.

In April 2002, everyone who was carrying a laptop was forced to go through inspection: the Aduanas didnt speak English and I even had to translate (LOL!) for one gringo businessman. The routine is this:

1) They discover the laptop.

2) They make you fill out some paperwork at the X-ray area.

3) You are walked to the inspection area. Your computer is inspected.

4) They ask you questions in spanish.

a)If you speak no spanish and have a brand-new IBM, they will make you sign a document making you liable for a $500-700. tax, IF YOU TRY TO LEAVE CUBA WITHOUT IT!

b)If you speak some spanish & indicate that you might want to donate it to some organization ("NO es un regalo!"), your very very old laptop, black& white screen, almost worthless in the USA, they will fetch the jefe ... well, then they will tel you the TAX LIABILITY is (gulp!) $5,000. Five thousand bucks, "that's what its worth" they say...!

5) They make you sign more paperwork, entering serial numbers with your passport # and give you the duplicate - DONT you dare lose that paperwork, LOL! You must present that WITH your computer, when you leave .... they tell you.

(If you're Cuban, I dont need to explain the many ways to 'resolver' this little matter: but of course I left my laptop and had all the necessary paperwork to show if interrogated.)

Leaving Cuba: dont bother to go downstairs to the Aduana property holding area, that's pointless. Dont bother to start explaining about your computer and paperwork to Immigration: they will just smile and wave you on.

Its the Aduana on the OTHER SIDE of the door, harried from looking in purses and inspecting trinkets and shouting at a coworker that she should be on break that you will have to deal with: she will wave you on, too busy to be bothered with whatever paperwork you're clutching.

Well, DESPITE her annoyed "Vas!" I went back: who knows when those computer and passport #s might come up again together, and a BIG tax duty demanded on the spot? So I insisted that my paperwork be examined - it was a real chore for them LOL! - and then they asked me one important question, with a sly smile:
"How much did you pay for this paper?"

Shocked, I was shocked, at the insinuation that I've done anything wrong: the agent apologized "Okay, okay no problema..."

The agent filled out whatever 'clearance' was necessary: another duplicate, that I will carry just in case next time. NO DUTY - I will check the paperwork tonight for whatever its called.

Yes it did seem a very lax process (for me, that time), but who knows when it might become hardass, and I dont want to have a shouting match with the Aduana over something like this.

Conclusion of the tale: if your friend wants to leave a laptop in Cuba, he needs to get some very official-looking paperwork and have a good story where it was donated or what happened to it, just in case.

"El Torro"

[Thu 9 May, 19:56]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
7. Sorry - meant this ...

"In April 2002, the last time I arrived, everyone who was carrying a laptop was forced to go through inspection" ...

From all I've read & heard, I do believe that 'special inspection' is typical, not exceptional, at this point.

"El Torro"

[Thu 9 May, 21:18]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
8. Not easy, no...

but if any one out there living in Toronto is coming next month here and want to make me the great favour of bringing the stuff to me here I will give in return a week of guiding, riding in my car around here, etc, of charge...and my thanks for ever...
best regards my friends...


[Fri 10 May, 06:41]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
9. leaving laptop

I have brought one with me twice this year. Both times they inspected it and filled out a paper. When you leave, you give them the paper, they check the serial number and make sure you are leaving with the same computer. No problem or hassle, but you can't leave it. If you did, I am sure they would catch up with you on your next trip, or whoever has it could get in trouble.


[Fri 10 May, 09:47]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
10. computer to Cuba

I have been bringing my laptop(s) with me for years. The most anyone has asked me to do was turn it on. The last time was Feb/March. I am going down next week, I guess I should expect the new routine.


[Fri 10 May, 14:43]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
11. Leaving stuff in cuba

A few years ago it was not a problem and I brought in a vcr and left it but it is all different now and the last trip they wanted to tax anything electrical like my hair dryer so I guess it depends how they feel on any given day.
If you do get the laptop in I would make sure your friend has a police report of its theft to take when he leaves.


[Sun 12 May, 22:09]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
12. thanks Patywolf...

I was thinking of doing that from the first time, but I was still worried that my friend could get into trouble even with the police receipt, any way, it seems to be the only possible way. Best regards,,,


[Tue 14 May, 18:18]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
13. Insanity on Parade???!

Half-baked nonsense on TT. Great.

o.k. o.k. - so how many of you have actually gone to the police station and filed a bogus report? Anyone?

Who did you blame - your casa owner? The casa owner can be held liable (and can certainly expect TROUBLE) if a tourist reports something like this ... or maybe you'll just identify a local cuban from a routine lineup? NICE.

Or are you just going to 'wing it on the spot' when questioned by an incredulous police officer who thinks you might be lying/scamming ... Will you understand "BOOK'em Dano!" in spanish?

Filing a LIE in a police dept. sounds like a waste of time, extra risk, and potentially a LIFE F*CKING SCAM that could cost a Cuban months/years in jail.

Not that anyone suggesting that cares, of course. Jeeeeesh! Get real, people.

"El Torro"

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