The heralded tabloid sized pamphlet “Customs norms that all travelers should know” went on sale a few days ago at Cuban newsstands and post offices.
These tabloids have become the preferred form of communication between the Cuban government and its citizens: they are used to disseminate information on topics ranging from the political guidelines of the Cuban Communist Party to courses offered by the televised University for All, or such contents as the Cuban Constitution and the Transit laws.
The customs tabloid “flew out the door” in a few days. Today many newstands have posted signs: “Out of Customs Tabloids.”
This is a rare phenomenon, since the majority of the tabloids remain available for weeks or months.
Obviously, people went out en masse to buy them, to foresee what they or their family members should do “at the border”, when it’s time to travel.
Today much criticism is heard – at times publicly – of the Customs regulations (and those of its twin brother, immigration services) since these frequently turn out to be very restrictive. In this vein, the tabloid itself informs us on page eight that bringing in “electric water heaters” for non-commercial use, or “electrical resistance coils of any type” is prohibited.
The import of “wireless microphones and their accessories” (among other things) requires a permit from the Ministry of Information and Communication. As far as exports go, there are strict limitations on taking out rolled tobacco or animal and plant specimens.
It should be added that the General Customs Department of the Republic has been characterized by its ever more transparent and visible commitment to confront corruption.
The last page of the “Customs Norms” tabloid contains several suggestions regarding how to avoid being “charged with the crime of bribery” and offers a series of contacts for obtaining further information and clarifications or for making complaints. Several television spots have recently been transmitted on this theme.
This tabloid costs 1 Cuban peso ($0.04 USD).
See the Cuban Customs Website