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Author Topic: Cuba visas in 1963  (Read 1378 times)

Offline John Anderson

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Cuba visas in 1963
« on: January 24, 2018, 12:57:27 PM »
Something I'm curious about and can't find the answer anywhere online. Were American citizens able to get a visa to Cuba in 1963?
I don't mean maybe an International business man, just a dude wanting a visa for a holiday or even a residents visa. 

Offline Walt Cakebread

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Re: Cuba visas in 1963
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 01:27:56 PM »
Something I'm curious about and can't find the answer anywhere online. Were American citizens able to get a visa to Cuba in 1963?
I don't mean maybe an International business man, just a dude wanting a visa for a holiday or even a residents visa.


There were American students who traveled to Cuba in 1963......  I believe they traveled as a group and were escorted...

Offline John Anderson

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Re: Cuba visas in 1963
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 04:24:01 PM »
So other than an escorted group anyone know of Policies toward Americans wishing to travel to Cuba?

Offline Steve M. Galbraith

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Re: Cuba visas in 1963
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 05:01:23 PM »
Something I'm curious about and can't find the answer anywhere online. Were American citizens able to get a visa to Cuba in 1963?
I don't mean maybe an International business man, just a dude wanting a visa for a holiday or even a residents visa.

As I understand it, no, not without State Department approval. Oswald reportedly requested an "in transit" or "transit" visa from the Cubans telling them that he was on his way back to the USSR but that he wanted to visit the island on his way there. I'll guess that that too was illegal but that's just a hunch.

In 1963 it was - and still is - illegal to go to Cuba without first getting US government approval. There were and are multiple exceptions to the law. I'm not sure how many of these below were in effect in 1963 (e.g., "support for the Cuban people" is a pretty big exemption). Certainly some were as some Americans including youth groups traveled there.

From the US Embassy in Cuba's website:
Travel to Cuba for tourist activities remains prohibited by statute. However, the Department of Treasury?s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued general licenses for 12 categories of travel. Individuals who meet the regulatory conditions of the general license they seek to travel under do not need to apply for an additional license from OFAC to travel to Cuba. The 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba are: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials; and certain authorized export transactions.

https://cu.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/traveling-to-cuba/
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 06:06:57 PM by Steve M. Galbraith »

Offline John Anderson

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Re: Cuba visas in 1963
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 10:49:59 PM »
Ok thanks for that.

Offline Steve M. Galbraith

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Re: Cuba visas in 1963
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 11:06:34 PM »
Ok thanks for that.
It's interesting that Silvia Duran Tirado, the Cuban Embassy staffer that Oswald met at the Cuban consulate in Mexico City, said she asked him that if he was a member of the CPUSA (as he falsely told her) why didn't he have them and the Cuban government arrange the visa.

From her HSCA testimony:
TIRADO - ....What I said is that when he said he was a member of the Party, of the Communist Party, the American, I said why don't they arrange, the Party, your Party with the Cuban Party, and he said that he didn't have time to do it.
CORNWELL - Did you ask him why hw didn't just have the Communist Party arrange his trip to Cuba?
TIRADO - Yes.
CORNWELL - the Cuban Communist Party? He just said he didn't have time?
TIRADO - Yes. Because there was a manner to do it. I mean, we get, for instance, the visa directly from Cuba and saying give the visa to this people that's coming and somebody say oh, yes, you have you visa here.

So apparently if you were a member of the CPUSA the travel restrictions didn't apply? Or they could just get around them by having the Cuban government prepare the visa in advance? That's pretty odd.

Full testimony here: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/russ/m_j_russ/hscadurn.htm

« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 12:04:10 AM by Steve M. Galbraith »

Offline Jerry Organ

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Re: Cuba visas in 1963
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 11:34:30 PM »
Mexico didn't care if Americans went to Cuba, as long as they had some sort of visa to get there.

Mexico wasn't part of the embargo, and even if they were, it still wouldn't oblige them to enforce American travel restrictions.

Offline Steve M. Galbraith

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Re: Cuba visas in 1963
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2018, 11:55:09 PM »
Mexico didn't care if Americans went to Cuba, as long as they had some sort of visa to get there.

Mexico wasn't part of the embargo, and even if they were, it still wouldn't oblige them to enforce American travel restrictions.

True, but Cuba didn't care for the restrictions either since they would grant visitation rights/visas to Americans who requested them.

Although Castro - as communists always do - would ban Cubans from not only visiting other countries without permission from the state but emigrating too.  In fact, he would shoot them if they tried.

RFK wrote a memo in 1963 (December 12) to Rusk where he called for the removal of the travel restrictions. He said they really weren't working anyway - groups were organizing to go there just to defy the ban or they could get to Cuba from third countries like Canada or Mexico, et cetera - and besides, it made the US look bad.

RFK memo here: https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB158/19631212.pdf
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 12:02:58 AM by Steve M. Galbraith »

 

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