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Old January 3rd, 2004, 03:47 AM   #1
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Video in Cuba

A friend of mine is going to get married in Cuba in a few months. He told me that they do not allow video cameras to be brought into Cuba (he's going there from Canada).
Can anyone tell me if this is the case, and why?
I could have a job for any Cuban wedding videographers working out of Havana (I think). Any ideas what the price range for a wedding video is there?
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 04:44 AM   #2
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Check with any of these official sources. If they say it's OK your fine, if not don't in think about taking one.

Embassy
Tel: 613-563-0141 338, Main StOttawa, Ontario K1S 1E3


Consulate General
Tel:416-234-8181, 5353 Dundas St W, Suite 401 Etobicoke, Ontario M9B 6H8


Consulate General and Trade Commission
Tel:514-843-8897, 1415 Av des Pins Quest, Montreal, Quebeck H3B 1B2
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 01:13 PM   #3
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video cameras in cuba

Dylan:

I have some friends who have been their twice this year and took pd150's both times. They didnt have any problems getting in with the cameras.

M
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Old January 4th, 2004, 02:52 PM   #4
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A co-worker of mine married in Cuba in 2003. I think they brought
a camera with them as well, without any problems.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 10:47 PM   #5
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Sooo, chu wan to choot in Cuba?

Gorgeous country trapped in time. I spent two weeks there in 1990 on a doc for Turner Broadcast called, "A Portrait of Castro's Cuba", hosted and narrated by James Earl Jones. We went from one end of the country to the other and were based at the Marina Hemmingway.

The people were great; friendly, helpful and very willing to talk to those from "El Norte", or The North.

Getting in with a camera should not be a great ordeal. Getting out with a camera may be something else altoghther! Be very careful of what or whom you shoot while there.

The authorities frown upon shooting things like Cuban patrol boats, police or military, government installations, etc. Also, any ad-hoc interviews with the regular people on the street can also draw negative attention.

Remember that this is practically the last bastion of Communism in the world and as such, they don't take too kindly to anything that may present them in a negative light.

Anyway, enjoy the trip, the waters are pristine, the food, (if you are a tourist and paying in $$$), is amazing!

Make sure, if you go to Havana, to visit "La Bodeguita del Medio". It is a small restaurant in Old Havana that has been there for ages. The food is great and the house drink, the "Mojito" is outstanding. Careful though, it's kinda like a ninja lemonade, silently sneaks up behind you and cuts your head clean off!

Good luck and good shooting, RB
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Old January 5th, 2004, 12:52 AM   #6
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THanks Rick, et all. I won't be going myself, unless they want to pay for my expenses to fly me down there with them. :)
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Old January 5th, 2004, 08:28 PM   #7
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i went to Cuba in Nov 03.
had no problem with Video camera.
police saw me using it - never a 2nd thought.

even used it around the US information center ( the place that does everything a embassy does but it is not a embassy) which is surrounded by cuban military police. they only asked that i stay on other side of street.

at the tropicanna show i was asked to stop ( reasonable request).

i did not have tripod or shotgun type mic.
no problem talking to person on the street.
many on street will ask you for a $.

and as suggested already stop by "La Bodeguita del Medio".
usually very good live music in the place and 1/2 bloack away on square is very good music.

but seeing how Bush just cut back ( effective jan1,04) on most group travel permits to cuba how do you plan to go ? under which existing catagory ?

NOTE: i believe you cannot pay a cuban or even send $$ to cuba (unless you have relatives/family) as under some US law that would be trading with the enemy ...

if you do go remember it's CASH ( US $) only visa/master/american express is no good there if you hold USA passport- cubans would love to take it but the US gov't forbids american company's to do business there.
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Old January 5th, 2004, 11:20 PM   #8
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Hey Don. My friend that is going down there is Canadian. I am too. :)

Kind of scary your government tells you where you can and cannot travel.
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Old January 5th, 2004, 11:43 PM   #9
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Lucy, choo hav son splainin to do!

Don,

Although you experienced no problems, this is the point I would like to reinforce. I would still caution all US Citizens against raising any type of undo negative attention in Cuba.

It still retains a militaristic nature when it comes to the authorities, we are the Yankees and they are very aware of it (not the baseball team)...end of story.

Be careful of what you say, where you say it, and especially to whom you say it to. This is a population that is infiltrated by "chivas" or "chibatos" which means snitch in Spanish. As a matter of fact, if you notice anyone in a conversation inconspicuously tap their lapel or collarbone with a couple of fingers while covertly gesturing to anyone in the group, that is a signal that a chibato is in the group and cannot be trusted.

I was born and raised in NYC, I look and sound completely American, green eyes, blonde (with lots of gray nowadays) hair, but, speak fluent Spanish, especially Cuban Spanish. Our escorts had no idea of my hidden talent. I would listen to the director's question to the interview subject, then to the translation from our Government appointed guide/translator, the subject's response to the translator and then the translator's rendition of the subject's answer to the initial question.

Beleive me when I tell you that if the question was "Is the sky blue?" It would have gone something like this:

Director to subject: "Is the sky blue?"

Translator to subject: "The gentleman would like to know about how you love working for the revolution under such a beautiful blue sky?"

Subject to translator: "Yes, the sky is blue, although very hot to work under these conditions and we have no water."

Translator to Director: "YES! Comapnero (comrade) Pepe says it is blue and what a wonderful sky to work under for the good of the revolution!"

Although I made the previous dialog up, there were many, many exhanges that went exactly that way.

While on my doc, the director decided to go freelancing after hours in one of our vehicles, without our two state escorts. He decided that he would go out and interview the "gineteras" or local girls that would do practically anything for US $$$, or just about anyone that would speak to him. I warned him at that time that he ran the risk of all of our footage and equipment being confiscated if anyone found out about it, and the possibility of us getting a personalized tour of the interior of a Cuban jail, pretty much torpedoing the whole project and ruining the rest of our evening as they do not serve beer or wine and especially not Mojitos in stir.

I have spent time in-country on various levels and trust me when I tell you that they (the Interior Ministers, etc.) DO NOT have much of a sense of humor about certain things. That includes (obvious) shooting any video of military type subjects and especially of military and or police types specifically and they especially hate it when you talk to the general populace about the state of the country without a chaperone. If you are shooting wide and from far away it is one thing...if you go and get a close-up of a gunboat, a police officer or a soldier, I can guarantee you something totaly different.

Another thing that we, as Americans going to Cuba need to understand, is that while they love our dollars, there is still alot of resentment from different factions within the country as many of the populace still remain loyal to Fidel and his revolution.

Again, Cuba is a wonderful place to visit, if you go in legally. I went in with Turner Broadcast as a journalist and Cuban Immigration would not stamp my passport as it could be used as evidence against me if I got caught by the U.S. authorities. Since I was there with a U.S. issued journalistic VISA issued by the U.S. State Department, I insisted that they do and now I have a nice souvenir. I also had alot of family still in-country at the time and could have gone, legally, on my own and at my own expense, so my visit was very convenient for various reasons.

Just be careful if you are going, use common sense and always remember that you are playing on someone else's turf, under someone elses rules, (which are sometimes written as the game progresses), and don't expect your one phone call right off the bat if things go south on you.

You're not in Kansas anymore, TOTO!

Dylan,

Happy traveling to all and to all a MOJITO!

RB
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Old January 6th, 2004, 12:49 AM   #10
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Canadians have a good working relationship with Cuba, so we Canadians have no problems while in Cuba, unless we do something stupid. A friend of mine goes to Cuba twice a year, and he takes his video cam each time. If you're an American going to Cuba, just wear a little Canadian flag on your shirt or jacket. That's what a lot of Americans do when they go abroad, especially in Europe. :-))
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