Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
When the Absurd Prevails
Categories: XYZ

When I visited Cuba last summer I bought a gift for a relative who lives in the Middle East: a box with 10 Cuban cigars. Since I do not see this relative frequently I was waiting for a chance to send him the cigars with anyone on their way there. The opportunity came when his son visited Toronto and gladly took the box with him.

The interesting part of this story came when the son was about to leave the Toronto airport. He had scheduled a connecting flight through USA so he had to go through the US officers here in Canada. Although he was only passing through the neighbour country he was put aside and got heavily questioned about travelling with Cuban cigars. He explained that he was bringing the present for his father and politely answered all the officer queries. However, the cigars were removed from his luggage and placed in the trash as if they were drugs. He was retained for a while but luckily he could make it to his flight on time.

When is this nonsense going to stop? I felt sorry for the guy who had to go through this uncomfortable moment for no reason and I bet the immigration officer, if somewhat smart, also agrees that these rules are ridiculous and obsolete. I hear that a lot of Cuban-Americans arriving at Miami airport get checked for Cuban products and that due to the embargo one is not allowed to enter Cuban goodies to the US. In this particular case, the person’s destination was not the United States, the cigars were going to be smoked very far from their national territory and still he got in trouble for passing through with 10 cigars.

I wonder if the American government realizes the amount of energy that gets wasted on verifying if a traveller has a bottle of rhum from Cuba. I hope that examples like this one become history soon.


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