The Painted Trout is partnering with Avalon Outdoors for our much anticipated (and almost fully booked) trip to Cuba in November/December 2019. We know you have questions regarding the recent announcement impacting US/Cuba relations, and we reached out to Avalon to help us inform our customers. What follows is a compilation of information as it pertains to our trip.
The main substance of the speech on April 17th was to enact Title III of the Helms Burton Act, which has received waivers from every single president in the last couple of decades. The removal of this waiver has opened up the possibility of Cuban exiles to file suit against foreign companies profiting from land seized by the Cuban government after the revolution. None of the entities involved in our trip falls into this category, so it has no application to us.
Then, on June 4th the Office of Foreign Assets and Control (OFAC) released a revision to the general licenses allowed for travel under the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) from the US Department of Treasury. These amendments included the removal of the people-to-people educational exchange general license, which many of our guests have been using in previous years. HERE'S THE IMPORTANT PART: the updated regulations include a grandfathering clause permitting any travel that was confirmed with at least one travel related transaction prior to June 5, 2019.
What does all this mean and how does it affect our trip and our guests? Firstly, as mentioned above, we have confirmed and reserved our trip well prior to June 5, 2019, thus we will be able to travel LEGALLY under the people-to-people educational exchange category without any problems whatsoever. It is true that in the future, this general license will be unavailable for use in certifying legal travel to Cuba. However, Avalon has ALL of the other licenses that we can travel under, so, yes, Cuba is still open to US travelers!
For the past couple of years Avalon Outdoors has implemented a comprehensive program at all of their locations for fishing and diving in Cuba that falls under the "workshops, clinics and public performances" category 515.567(b). This program brings together Cuban guides, Cuban marine biologists, and travelers from all over the world including the USA, in an effort to further educate and build a participatory workshop program surrounding the sustainable management and conservation of the marine resources within Cuba. This program features a full week itinerary and schedule of activities that not only educates all of these travelers of this unique system, but also incorporates participation in the workshop in order to spread this experience and knowledge of marine park preservation and sustainable management worldwide.
Because of this collaboration, the Cuban people welcome and support all travelers who participate in the program.
At the end of the week, all of the workshop participants receive an official certificate of their participation in this program. This supporting document along with an included itinerary and travel affidavit certifies the US travelers' legal trip to Cuba. Rest assured, Avalon has taken all of the necessary steps during its long history in Cuba to ensure that the US travelers are participating in our programs legally. In addition, they guarantee that there will be no direct transactions made with any of the entities or sub-entities in the restricted list as issued by OFAC.
It's important to us here at The Painted Trout that our guests feel confident and happy about their upcoming trips that we host, and we make every effort to answer your questions and address your concerns as quickly as possible. Please don't hesitate to call us: 734-580-2102