Ivette Leyva Martínez (Café Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — As part of a new round of measures aimed at combatting the trafficking of different products through messengers or travelers known as “mules”, Cuban authorities will begin applying drastic restrictions on the import of items for personal use, household appliances and computer equipment as of September of this year.
Resolution 206 of 2014, issued by Cuban Customs on June 30th, sets down strict limits on the number of items that can be declared for personal use for as many as 381 different products.
According to the 36-page document obtained by CafeFuerte, the resolution will come into effect on September 1 this year. The Cuban government has not yet officially announced the new measures that will apply to all travellers.
Custom authorities will be entitled to confiscate all items in excess of the established limit. When a customs official considers that a traveler is guilty of “repeated imports of a particular product,” they will be authorized to confiscate the luggage in its entirety.
The new regulations imply a drastic reduction in the number of products that may be imported into the country under Resolution 320 of 2011.
Electronic and computer devices are among the most severely affected by the new regulations. In addition to the fact that the number of such products that may be brought into the country has been reduced by half in nearly all cases, travelers will require special permits issued by the Cuban Ministry of Communications (under the supervision of State Security) to bring any of the following into the country:
– Wireless fax (only one allowed)
– Phone switchboards (1)
– Wireless microphones and their accessories (1)
– Routers and switchers (1)
– Walkie-talkies (1)
The number of food, personal hygiene, clothing and footwear products allowed into the country will also be reduced significantly. Below are some examples illustrating the new restrictions that will come into effect in September:
|Preserves of any kind||50||20|
|Dairy products of any kind||30||10|
|Hair styling equipment||100||24|
|Panties||4 docenas||2 docenas|
|Women’s shoes||30||15 (5 de vestir, 5 sandalias o chancletas, 5 deportivo)|
|Men’s shoes||30||15 (5 de vestir, 5 sandalias o chancletas, 5 deportivo)|
A second resolution issued by Cuban Customs (Resolution 207 of 2014) complements these restrictions and establishes new duties (without specifying whether these are in Cuban pesos or Cuban Convertible Pesos) applicable to personal items brought by travelers.
According to Resolutions 222 and 223 of 2012, promulgated by the Ministry of Finance and Prices, all passengers who carry items for a value above $ 50.99 pesos will have to pay a duty of 10 Cuban pesos (CUP) or Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) for every kilogram in excess of the established limit. The 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of personal luggage allotted will remain tax-free.
Since May of this year, Cuban Customs has issued several warnings to passengers who travel to Cuba carrying packages for third parties, pointing out this could lead not only to the confiscation of the items transported but to criminal proceedings as well.
Custom authorities are focusing their efforts on detecting drugs concealed in luggage and electronic devices that could be used to skirt restrictions on Internet use on the island.