[Thu 6 Sep, 12:13]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
Request for first hand detail - US Surveillance - (5 replies)

CONTACT - Art Heitzer : NLG Cuba Subcommittee, 606 W, Wisconsin Ave. Suite 1706, Milwaukee, WI 53203 (414) 273-1040 ext. 12

Request for info re surveillance/observation/photographing by US agents in Canada, Mexico, Nassau, etc.-- where the US customs agents are allowed to operate under very strict agreements. Art is asking to supply any relevant firsthand information to the (US) National Lawyers Guild. This request came from another website:

"...There are reporters, solidarity activists, and even government officials in these countries who are interested in pursuing this, and we can use all of the information that may be available.” -- Art

“Canada opposes U.S. crackdown on Cuba visitors” Glen McGregor and Mike Trickey. Ottawa Citizen; Southam News. National Post. Canada, September 1, 2001

OTTAWA - The Department of Foreign Affairs says it will protest a recent U.S. crackdown on Americans who circumvent the U.S. travel ban to Cuba by flying to the Communist country from Canada. The get-tough order from the White House to the
Treasury Department has resulted in American customs officers in Canadian airports questioning American travellers about whether they've been to Cuba. If they have, they face fines as high as US$55,000.

A retired social worker from Chicago who joined a Canadian bicycling tour in Cuba recently received notice of a US$7,500 fine from the Treasury Department after having her passport scrutinized by a U.S. customs officer at Pearson International in Toronto.
The 1974 Pre-Clearance Treaty permits U.S. customs official to enforce American rules for entry into the United States. "In order to do so, they are authorized to apply U.S. laws related only to the admission of these travellers and their goods," says Foreign Affairs spokesman Carl Schwenger. "Other applications of any U.S. law in Canada is not envisaged. We intend to raise this issue with U.S. authorities."

Bruno Coulome, who runs the Fredericton-based USA Cuba Travel, says many of his American clients have been intimidated by U.S. customs agents at Canadian airports. "The clients are really scared." He says he has seen customs agents watching his clients check in for their charter flights to Cuba at Montreal's Mirabel Airport. "Many times in the last month I've seen U.S. customs agents waiting at the departure counter," said Mr. Coulome, whose company handles Cuba-bound U.S. customers exclusively. He also thinks customs agents are watching for Americans arriving on flights from
Cuba. "The strategy they have is they stay at the arrival gate for Havana and they spot the travellers who walk to the counter of U.S. connecting airlines."

Nancy Chang, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City, says there are reports of surveillance in Canadian airports. Ms. Chang is challenging the constitutionality of the fines on behalf of 400 travellers.

The U.S. customs service denies it uses surveillance operations in Canadian airports, but won't say how it determines which travellers visited Cuba. The procedures are "enforcement sensitive" and not discussed, said customs spokesman Jim Michie.

Mr. Coulome says Americans can protect themselves by asking Cuban customs officers not to stamp their passports. Cuba allows visitors to enter with a tourist card and does not require a visa in a passport. He also recommends travellers not carry cigars or other obviously Cuban souvenirs in their luggage.

Susan Ross, a California lawyer specializing in customs law, says although she suspects Canadian and U.S. authorities are informally sharing information at border points, she says most U.S. travellers are caught when they admit they've been holidaying in
Cuba. "People aren't good liars," she says. "When the agents start asking questions, people start getting nervous."

Canadian officials deny Canadian immigration or customs officials are giving their American counterparts any information about Americans returning from Cuba to international airports with U.S. pre-clearance customs services.

Pre-clearance facilities are in place at airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The interrogation at Canadian airports is part of a broader crackdown on Americans who ignore the U.S. government's Trading with the Enemy Act, which has been in effect since 1962. President George W. Bush has provided the catalyst for the re-energized customs efforts, saying the White House was going to get tough again after the Clinton administration took a more relaxed approach to
Americans visiting Cuba. Between May 4 and July 30, the Treasury Department sent out 443 letters seeking fines from Americans suspected of travelling to Cuba compared to only 74 letters during the first four months of the year.

Opponents of the crackdown say the U.S. laws smack of the same sort of totalitarianism that is being fought in Cuba. "It's repugnant to everything that we as Americans
think," says Democratic congressman Charles Rangel. "This type of behaviour is the behaviour that you would expect from a communist dictatorship that wants to keep its people at home."

Ironically, the crackdown comes at the same time the U.S. Congress is mobilizing a campaign to lift the travel ban. Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan, who heads to Senate
appropriations sub-committee in charge of Treasury Department funding, says he will seek measures that would lift the ban when Congress returns to work later this month. Dorgan is confident a bill lifting the ban will pass the Senate and believes it has a good chance of getting through the House of Representatives. The Republican-dominated House voted in July to deny money to the Treasury Department to enforce the ban.

About 200,000 Americans legally travelled to Cuba last year, with about 60% of them being Cuban-Americans who are permitted to make annual humanitarian trips to
visit relatives. The others are from various other categories, such as journalists on assignment and researchers, who can receive clearance from Washington.

Copyright © 2001 National Post Online"

Heritage Tours

[Thu 6 Sep, 17:43]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
1. Thanks

for the good info.

Simple solution is to mail passport back to yourself and use a BC with photo ID. US Immigtration can then go fly a kite because no matter what they "know" they have NO PROOF! Stick to your guns and turn the tables at them. Let them lose their composure and get frustrated.

Using Toronto airport makes it VERY hard for them to spy on you because the terminal are far apart and there is too much traffic. Staying an overnight in Toronto and departing in the morning when there are no arrival flights from Cuba will also throw US Immigration off.

Preparation is KEY, ladies and gents. NEVER use your passport if you have a BC! It is (and always has been) the BEST method.


[Fri 7 Sep, 07:50]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
2. 2nd I.D. documents

To clarify, a US passport is needed to enter Cuba and (re-enter) Canadian Immigration/Customs.

A second set of I.D. is used at US Customs in Canadian airports. Please note that not surrendering a passport to US Customs, on demand, constitutes MISUSE(Felony). LYING to a US Customs agent is also a felony. Be careful.

This was found on a US govt website:

“However, to assist officers in expediting border-crossing, and particularly re-entry into the United States, native-born U.S. citizens should carry some identification papers showing their citizenship, such as a birth, baptismal, or voter's certificate. A driver's license is not acceptable. Proof of residency may also be required.”


[Fri 7 Sep, 11:49]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
3. what ?

Please clarify - can you or can you not enter the US on
a birth certificate coming from Cuba ? This last post implies that if you are in possession of a passport that it is some kind of felony not to show it ? Then states that a birth certificate is correct. Who knows the law on traveling with a passport on you but using birth certificate for entry into Canada or Mexico thanks


[Fri 7 Sep, 12:45]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
4. Passport Laws - part of the picture


Sec. 215. [8 U.S.C. 1185] (a) Unless otherwise ordered by the President, it shall be unlawful- […]

(b) Except as otherwise provided by the President and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may authorize and prescribe, it shall be unlawful for any citizen of the United States to depart from or enter, or attempt to depart from or enter, the United States unless he bears a valid United States passport.­­eading_room/usam/title9/crm01900.htm


Sec. 53.1 Passport requirement.
Under section 215(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1185(b), it is unlawful except as otherwise provided for any citizen of the United States to depart from or enter, or attempt to depart from or enter, the United States without a valid passport.

Sec. 53.2 Exceptions.
A U.S. citizen is not required to bear a valid passport to enter or depart the United States:
(b) When traveling between the United States and any country, territory, or island adjacent thereto in North, South or Central America excluding Cuba; provided, that this exception is not applicable to any such person when proceeding to or arriving from a place outside the United States for which a valid passport is required under this part if such travel is accomplished within 60 days of departure from the United States via any country or territory in North, South or Central America or any island adjacent thereto;

"Section 1543 of Title 18 proscribes the […] the use of […] a forged, altered, void, etc., passport or purported passport."

Any US citizen traveling to Cuba is normally required by US law to carry a valid US passport. (“Section 215(b) of the INA [8 USC § 1185(b)] requires, in general, that any US citizen who is either leaving or entering the US must be in possession of a valid US passport. Certain exceptions to the US passport requirement are spelled out in Section 53 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations [22 CFR § 53]. Note that, even though the title of this section suggests that it is applicable only in time of war or national emergency, in fact it applies at all times. A US passport is not required, for example, when travelling between the US and adjacent countries in the Western Hemisphere, such as Canada or Mexico (but not Cuba).”)

Heritage Tours

[Fri 7 Sep, 17:40]
PST (Gumly Gumly -17)
5. !

In simple terms, you need a passport to enter Cuba from ANY country because the Cuban government requires it. If you are a tourist travelling for less than 60 days you also need a tourist card (automatic visa) which will be given to you by the travel agency.

You CAN travel to Canada and Mexico from the USA on a BIRTH CERTIFICATE with 1 piece of photo ID. That is the Law! It is best to keep your original BC at home and travel with a certified/notarized copy.

Therefore you bring both sets of documents when going to Cuba. You use your BC to enter Canada, your passport to enter Cuba from Canada, your passport to enter Canada from Cuba. Then you hide or better yet SEND the passport back to yourself by courrier, and use your BC to re-enter the USA.

US Immigration will have NO PROOF that you went to Cuban and you are completely legal. Having a passport hidden on you and failing to present it is technically illegal but if you mail it back to yourself you will be both legally and morally zen.

Remember, that men (governments) hide behind the shadow of their laws -Khalil Gibran- and the laws pertaining to Cuban travel are unjust and designed to limit your freedom. Using the laws to YOUR advantage is a good thing and don't let the Treasury Department try to tell you otherwise. Travelling to Cuba is "illegal" but you can go about it in a LEGAL and undetectable way. That is where your freedom lies...