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Is America the land of the free or not? Cycling related.....(33 posts)

Is America the land of the free or not? Cycling related.....african
Feb 26, 2003 6:46 AM
US fines cyclist $5 000 for taking holiday in Cuba

26 February 2003 07:50

Joan Slote, who went on a cycling holiday to Cuba, was fined nearly $8 000 for breaking the US embargo of the island. Her case is one of a growing number in which the US treasury department is actively pursuing Americans who have visited the island or who are suspected of encouraging others to do so.

The numbers of American visitors sought for breaking the embargo has quadrupled since the Bush administration took office. The treasury department now warns that those who visit without permission may face fines of up to $55 000. The moves come despite a growing campaign in the US among farmers, entrepreneurs and politicians, many of them Republicans, to end the embargo. Currently, Americans are banned from visiting Cuba unless they have a licence to do so on religious, humanitarian, educational or journalistic grounds.

Mrs Slote (74) from San Diego, is a gold medal-winning cyclist at the senior olympics. She booked a cycling holiday three years ago through a Toronto-based company which told her she did not require a licence if she entered Cuba via Canada. Her holiday was a success but on her return to the US from Toronto, she was asked by US customs if she had visited any countries apart from Canada. She told them about Cuba and said she had bought token souvenirs, each worth about $1, as presents.

Months later, she received a letter from the treasury saying she had been fined $7 500 and an additional $130 for the souvenirs. As her monthly income is $1 200, she is unable to pay. The treasury demands are now increasing, adding 6% interest to every claim.

"The whole thing has been a nightmare," said Slote. The treasury has now indicated they may subtract the money from her social security.

It is not only people who travel to Cuba who are being investigated. Tom Warner of the Seattle/Cuba Friendship Committee was told by the treasury that he now faced thousands of dollars in fines because his website listed details of holidays in Cuba. They said he was seeking "to organise and promote" in breach of the embargo.

"They told me I had 20 days to respond or face a $20 000 fine," said Warner yesterday. He believed he had "the dubious honour" of being the first to face a penalty just for posting such information on a website.

Warner said he believed the treasury's action was unconstitutional. "I am concerned that this assault on the freedom of speech and expression -- especially through the internet -- be staunched before it chills people's free expression and their ability to respond to objectionable behaviour by the government," he said.

Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based organisation which organises educational trips to Cuba and other countries, said the harassment of American travellers to the island had increased significantly over the past year. Malia Everette of Global Exchange said that although the US allowed visits to China and Vietnam, "powerful lobby groups" opposed loosening restrictions to Cuba.

Around 19 000 travel licences were granted in 2001 but there is no record of how many Americans entered without notifying the government. The treasury is investigating 697 people for breaking the embargo in 2001, compared with 188 the previous year.

The main pressure for maintaining the embargo comes from the conservative wing of the Cuban American community in Florida which played a key part in the election of President Bush and his brother, Jeb, as the state's governor.

More than 160 countries have called, through the UN, for an end to the embargo, which was launched in 1962 and intensified by President Reagan in 1982. - Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003
re: Is America the land of the free or not? Cycling related.....TSuprano
Feb 26, 2003 6:51 AM
how you doin? Damn Feds. They are always getting in my business as well.
Get a Grip!theeatkins
Feb 26, 2003 7:24 AM
Although I don't agree with the this administration, what part of "it's the law" do people not understand? Way too many people complain
and do nothing about it. Write your congressman or senator. People bitch and nothing else. I have no sympathy for people
like that. If you don't like a law, talk to someone who can do something about it. If enough people speak up, something WILL be changed.
Get a Grip!TSuprano
Feb 26, 2003 7:27 AM
How you doin? It will only be a few more years until Castro dies, and policy will probably change.
If you don't like a law, just break it ??MR_GRUMPY
Feb 26, 2003 7:38 AM
Laws might be stupid, but you have to pay the price, if you break them.
If you don't like a law, just break it ??PaulCL
Feb 26, 2003 7:53 AM
Bingo. She broke the law, she got caught (her own damn fault), and now she pays the piper. No sympathy here.

By the did some poor ($1200/month income) little, old lady afford a trip to Cuba in the first place?? Something doesn't ring true here. At $1200/mo she is living day to day, so how does she put enough coin together to go on a +/- $5000 trip??? Someone is lying....
re: Is America the land of the free or not? Cycling related.....Spunout
Feb 26, 2003 7:41 AM
She shouldn't have told the US she was in Cuba. Canada is a favourite launch-pad to Cuba.

My Mother lives in Jamaica, and there are alot of US citizens who holiday in JA, leave their passports in their rooms, and take a day flight to Cuba. No problem mon!

The embargo is so funny, Huge USA scared of little Cuba.
Write your congressmanLeroy
Feb 26, 2003 7:50 AM
Li'l Abner said "he obeyed all laws, good and bad." I don't think there is an ignorance defense written into this one. It's just unlawful to go to Cuba; what's surprising about that?
Not allowed? I thought YOU were the land of the free! nmSpunout
Feb 26, 2003 8:16 AM
F##k the law and the feds too...eschelon
Feb 26, 2003 8:06 AM
Where the hell do the feds get off telling me or any other US citizen where they can and can't go? Where the hell in the constitution does it say who you can and can't associate with? Where does it say the feds can tell you what you can and can't say? It's turning into a f##kin police each day passes many of you don't even realize that your freedoms and rights are being taken away...and if you don't know, don't want to know it, don't want to acknowledge it...then good for you...better to live in blind ignorance for sake of your children, family, and your future loved ones. GOD BLESS AMERICA. AND AS MANY DIE-HARD PATRIOTS WOULD TELL ME AND OTHERS..."IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, THEN LEAVE AMERICA." AND MY RESPONSE TO THEM: "GO F##K YOURSELF."
You just made the list.ryder1
Feb 26, 2003 8:38 AM
Keep an eye out for suspicious vans parked just down the street from your house. I probably should'nt even reply to your post.........
Damn! Thanks for the warning...but now you have been listed too.eschelon
Feb 26, 2003 8:41 AM
What a fine mess that we would be in.MR_GRUMPY
Feb 26, 2003 8:25 AM
If everyone just followed the laws that they thought were "fair", we would be screwed up more than we are now...
No doubt...Slavery of blacks was a "fair" law back then too...eschelon
Feb 26, 2003 8:39 AM
I mean, if the majority of the American population back then thought and believed there was nothig wrong with slavery, then what was the big deal? I mean, time is not a barrier to what is right and wrong right?

Hell, Andrew Jackson (for the history-handicapped folks, was a president of the US) believed that it was the United States of America's destiny (US government official policy towards American Natives) to displace/remove/exterminate indians of their rightful land and keep it/distribute it among the American citizens and commercial interests...this "fair and ethical" doctrine was called Manifest Destiny.
"Separate, but equal" was a legally ratified law back then too..eschelon
Feb 26, 2003 8:49 AM
Blacks were not allowed to drink out of the same drinking fountain as whites...the blacks had their own drinking fountain with a big sign in front of it that said "for blacks." Ah, those were the days....the whites had their own whitey schools and the blacks had their own too.

The whites had their "own" colleges and so did the blacks...except that the difference in quality in all respects between the black and white facilities, services, etc. were not equal.

That's right...for those of you that keep on shoveling this crap about "they knew about the law and yet they broke it crap, 'I have no sympathy for them'", you can continue on being the "good little citizens/patriots that you's too bad the north back in the pre-civil war days didn't have enough of you to support the Confederates and their cause for slavery.
Civil Disobedience Isn't Consequence FreeGregory Taylor
Feb 26, 2003 9:25 AM
You are right that the racism institutionalized in various state (not federal) laws were wrong. You forget, however, that those brave (and they were brave, both morally and physically) men and women who intentionally challenged those laws by breaking them did so knowing and accepting the fact that they would in all likelihood suffer the legal penalties mandated by the legislature. Re-read "Civil Disobedience". Heck, even a dead white guy like Henry David Thoreau knew that he would spend the night in jail for his little protest.

Oh, about the trip to Cuba. The embargo and laws restricting travel to Cuba are over 40 years old. They were the work of a Democratic President, John Kennedy. If you find them offensive, go and test them.

As for shoveling crap, you'd better take a look at what's coming off of your own shovel there, pardner...
Your distinction between bad federal laws and state laws...eschelon
Feb 26, 2003 9:56 AM
makes no sense...or the fact that Kennnedy enacted the Cuba law...a bad law (in the present) is a bad law...times have changed. We are not at war with Cuba. No one is arguing about there being consequences to "civil disobedience," so I really don't see what the hell is your point. And so I really don't understand what you are complaining about here in your response except to imply that I am the one who is "shoveling crap to the masses here."

In summary of what I said in the previous posts: bad laws suck...especially if they run contrary to the Constitution. My interpretation of the Constitution is liberal...i.e. more protection for the sake of the individual's rights...where as you faviour no rights for the sake of the agenda of the few (in the guise of national security and policy) sorry, less rights.

You really are a true blue red blooded American. Who am I to argue with a true American.
No doubt...Slavery of blacks was a "fair" law back then too...Hardtail
Feb 26, 2003 9:48 AM
I could have sworn this was a BICYCLE message board!!!
Tu che'.....I totally know what you mean! nmeschelon
Feb 26, 2003 9:57 AM
Don't cry to me--I WARNED you about Bush (nm)Silverback
Feb 26, 2003 8:49 AM
I thought bush was good for you...if you're a guy! nmeschelon
Feb 26, 2003 10:00 AM
We embargo Cuba because it's ruled by a communist dictator...Lon Norder
Feb 26, 2003 10:04 AM
But China is ruled by a communist dictator who's far more repressive than Castro. So do we embargo China? No, we do the exact opposite: we give it Most Favored Nation trade status. How's that for a consistent foreign policy!
USA doesn't like Iraq or its oppressive terrorist regime...eschelon
Feb 26, 2003 10:25 AM
yet, just about most of the oil that comes out of that country gets sold where?.......the good 'ole US of A of course!

We don't want Iraq to have weapons of mass destruction...but guess where Iraq is getting most of its money to buy these weapons of mass destruction?.......the good 'ole US of A of course!

Saudi Arabia funds schools (Madrasas) that teach childreneschelon
Feb 26, 2003 10:33 AM
to hate the USA and its citizens...Can you just imagine those cute little arabs in those schools reciting in unison over and over about killing us? Hating us? Yet we keep on being close friends with them and sending them our money for their precious oil.

Then the Saudis send over a bunch of them to take out the World Trade Center and those dreadful Americans in them airplanes.


What has Cuba done to Americans lately? I can't think of anything right now...but I'm sure it's gotta be just as bad as those me, I just got a gut feelin'.
USA doesn't like Iraq or its oppressive terrorist regime...dotkaye
Feb 26, 2003 12:33 PM
we know they have weapons of mass destruction, because we still have the receipts..
actually nocyclopathic
Feb 26, 2003 10:27 AM
pre-castro Cuba was a favorite Carribian destination. Alot US mafiosi owned hotels, restaurants, casinos all they lost when Castro nationalized economy. 50 years later they're not loosing hope.

The law is still on books but it's being used as hammer, and its use is highly politically motivated. Esp around elections when all votes count. ;)

With respect to old laws on the book there's a law in Cleveland which prohibits women to wear patented leather shoes "because man can see in reflection what he doesn't ought to".
Let me teach you kids something53T
Feb 26, 2003 2:09 PM
Let's go back to 1955. Why would any Cuban leave is island paradise to come to the US? There is no reason, and they did not come to the US. When Castro took over and subsequently aligned himself with Moscow, he nationalized the means of production, like a good communist would be expected to do. He killed the farmers, but the city folks were forced to flee the island and live in Miami. Now they are American citzens and they vote early and often.

The US government does what the voters tell it to do. All the Cuban-Americans who had their assets taken by Castro have been very clear about what they want their government to do: embargo.
you know what Castro did with all those Cuban Prostitutes?cyclopathic
Feb 26, 2003 2:29 PM
he made them taxi cab drivers. I was told that in those days you could get a cab ride and if you tipped enough you could get extra services. ;)

Now with respect to paradise go back and read Hemingway carefully and if it isn't enough look for comparison on how current pradise in Jamaca or Dominican Rep looks like.

And don't fool yourself cubans were fleeing to US for the same reason as any refugee from communist countries did. Our smart government was given them asylum, welfare, foodstamps, subsidized housing, etc. Imagine what would happen if we'd be giving the same thing to mexicans.

now let's go back to cycling
China: ruled by communist dictator & we trade $13 Bil/monthteamsloppy
Feb 26, 2003 11:11 AM

China even has nuclear missles aimed at the United States now.

Cuba just tried.
Oh hell...its all bullship...what we believe, are taught,eschelon
Feb 26, 2003 11:49 AM
...makes me wonder if there is right and wrong anymore. The only thing left for us all for veritas in salvation is doubt...doubt is the souring agent in the milk of untruths!
Total Bullshit, our corrupt gov deals with many dictatorsaltidude
Feb 26, 2003 11:27 AM
If it's profitable to the US or the US consumer we deal with all sorts of dictators, tyrants and murderers. Anyone who thinks we have had a 40+ year embargo on Cuba simply because they are ruled by a dictator needs to wake up, have some coffee, perhaps with a chaser or two and get their friggin head out of their collective asses. We have committed economic terrorism on Cuba for 4 decades and it has nothing to do with dictatorship. It's all about corrupt politicians motivated by their own parties corrupt self interests. We do huge amounts of business with China and loads of other dictatorships and quasi dictatorships, many of whom have butchered tens of thousands if not millions of people. Just another example of our wonderful corrupt government acting with its head completely up its ass trying to prosecute a well intentioned citizen rather than tracking down real criminals. Where were all these wonderful federal agents when Reagan and Bush and Ollie were illegally dealing arms with Iran??
Not just arms my friend...they were selling/dealing drugs too.eschelon
Feb 26, 2003 11:51 AM
Where do you think those drugs ended up?
In your kitchen by the sound or your rant! nmgtscottie
Feb 26, 2003 2:36 PM