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It appears an Angling Report subscriber has decided to defy the US Treasury Department and check out my May, 1997 report on the bonefishing available in Cuba’s Bay of Pigs. The subscriber, who identifies himself as "Izaak Walton," had every bit as much success as I did and gives the whole experience a rousing thumbs up. He used the same agent who helped set up my trip – namely, Jonathan Watts of Canada Cuba Sports and Cultural Festivals (*). His report makes for very interesting reading if you are thinking of joining him in an act of defiance against this country’s ban on spending money in Cuba. See the Trip-Planning Database Service Box elsewhere in this issue for details on ordering his report.
Apropos of that ban, incidentally, we finally got the US Treasury Department to level with us on just how many enforcement actions have been taken against US citizens for unauthorized travel to Cuba. Seems the total, since 1983, is 10 criminal indictments and one so-called "plea to criminal information." Additionally, there have been 159 civil penalty actions against US citizens since 1994. A total of $192,198 in monetary penalties have been levied. That is not counting the $400,000 in "illegal currency" that has been seized from US citizens departing for Cuba from Miami International Airport.
Whether this is a lot or a little depends on your point of view – and, of course, whether you have been the subject yourself of a Treasury Department action. Personally, I think those are enough actions to make one think twice about travelling illegally to Cuba, no matter how you feel about the ban. For certain, I think it’s foolish for someone to do what California angler Steve Bake did this past June – namely, allow his name to be used in a San Francisco Examiner column about a trip to Cuba. Bake admits to Examiner columnist Tom Stienstra that he "sneaked into" Cuba and even "smuggled" 50 cigars on his way out.
"What I did was pull out a 25-pack of golf balls and put the cigars in there, then seal the pack back up and put it in my golf bag," Bake told Stienstra.
Yiiiikes! Listen up, dear readers of The Angling Report. Do not send me by-lined accounts of your visits to Cuba. Do not identify yourself by name if you call me. It is i-l-l-e-g-a-l to fish in Cuba and this newsletter company has had Treasury Department gumshoes at its doors in the past. We’ve never cooperated with the Treasury Department in an investigation of anyone and we never will. But hey – make it easy on us: Don’t send us your name. Okay? – Don Causey.