Sailing and travel tales

Cuba – One half Guards the other half

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There are so many strange things, contradictions.

Nice people controlled by hordes of security systems which come

in a confusing array of forms.

As a sailor, I have not yet worked out which form over rules which.

Around the marinas are security men – the normal kind – but oversupplied.

Four men guard a line of about 20- 30 boats. We are guarded 24 hrs a day.

It’s difficult to know who is being guarded, us or Cuba – no Cuban

is allowed to board the overseas boats.

Of course it means that crime is not a problem on a marina

and you can safely leave the boat for days if need be.

There is The Homeland Security. The men in green that pop out

from just about every sea corner one pulls over into.

They always come in twos – usually one older one younger.

They come on board check the passports and the cruising permit,

fill in a form or two, sometimes check the boat for hiding Cubans

then ask where we have come from and where we are going.

They look satisfied/relieved when we say we are going to a designated Clearing In marina.

Designated In Marinas are often sited on isolated penninsulars or islands and there are only about 7 or 8 of them around the huge perimeter of Cuba.

We can,t do the distance between the tourist clearing in ports in a day

and an early start is almost impossible because first the green guards

have to clear us out –  more paper work.

We just go as far as we can then pull over and anchor in a sheltered spot overnight

because we are not ready to do overnight travel along the coast, nor wish to, because we are here to see the country.


We pulled overnight into a little fishing village called Les Esperanza; put the anchor down

and slept overnight unmolested by any form of security. Got up, had breakfast and decided to put the dingy in the water and go ashore.

The dingy touching the water alerted a local guard twosome and in no time at all they came rowing in the usual delapidated Cuban fibre glassed over wood dinghy (nowhere do you see outboards).This time it was a woman with a young male assistant.

He rowed, she filled in the forms.

We indicated we would like to see the beautiful countryside

– and it was amazing to look at from the sea.

Strange, steep sided, high mounded mountains, maybe volcanic cones.

There were limestone caves in the area, it was a rich farming area and it was a tourist area –

She smiled when we called her countryside beautiful but when

I pointed out our tourist visas she looked steadily at them then still said no.

I have been told since that if we had pushed it the local guards could not have

actually stopped us from coming ashore because the tourist visa must override their authority.

We just haven’t felt like pushing it yet!

There is also a Cuban Coast Guard, which we have yet to come across and

there were police cars and police on motorbikes around Havanna

or maybe they were just traffic police.

Then there were people in different uniforms at stop points along the motorways

One half of the population is guarding the other half in Cuba.

Written by teoranga

January 10, 2012 at 2:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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