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Traveling to Cuba

By , Tuesday, Apr 18, 2006, 5:16 PM

Is there any way to travel legally to Cuba? Robert Griffle, Lee's Summit, Mo.

On trips to Cuba run by human rights organization Global Exchange, the only people accepted are full-time professionals with jobs that correlate to specific programs offered--nurses at the health-care conference, teachers at the educators' delegation (415/558-9486, globalexchange.org). Eight-day trips cost $2,350 and include lodging and two meals a day; airfare to Cuba, by way of Mexico, is extra and can be arranged through Global Exchange. If you don't qualify, or want to see Cuba on your own, you must apply for a special license through the Treasury Department. The chances of being accepted are slim: You basically have to prove that your visiting Cuba is somehow in the best interests of the U.S. If you go to Cuba without a license, the penalties range from a warning letter to as much as $65,000 in fines and the rare criminal prosecution. For more information, visit treas.gov/ofac.