MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Travel to Cuba has been a hot topic in South Florida – especially when local travelers heard about a peculiar post on the U.S. Embassy’s website.
“The Government of Cuba does not recognize the U.S. nationality of U.S. citizens who are Cuban-born or are the children of Cuban parents. These individuals will be treated solely as Cuban citizens and may be subject to a range of restrictions and obligations, including military service. The Cuban government may require U.S. citizens, whom the Government of Cuba considers to be Cuban, to enter and depart Cuba using a Cuban passport.”
Yes, you read that right. The post stated that Cuba’s government would label you a full-blown Cuban even if you were born on U.S. soil.
But Pedro A. Freyre, the Chairman of International Practice at Akerman LLP, says you can rest easy because it was totally false.
“I am not sure why such a misleading statement was on the U.S. Embassy site,” he said.
Local Immigration Lawyer Willy Allen added, “Last year the American Embassy put out an advisory as to travel to Cuba. In it, erroneously, they said children born of Cuban parents in the United States would be considered Cubans.”
The post was still up through the first week of May – sending shivers through the Miami-Cuban community just recovering from the, now deleted, ban on Cuban-Americans cruising to Cuba.
“What I look at is what has been happening, what is happening on the ground. Never mind there is an obscure statement in a sub file of a U.S. Embassy in obscure location,” Freyre said.
But the website posting was there, in black and white – it just wasn’t factual.
Yes, Cuban-born parents would need Cuban passports, but not their American-born children.
“Any child born of Cuban parents, born in the United States is an American. If they go to Cuba, they are considered to be American and go with American passports,” Allen said.
On Monday, the verbiage on the U.S. embassy’s website was revamped. It read, in part:
“The Government of Cuba does not recognize the U.S. nationality of U.S. citizens who are Cuban-born. These individuals will be treated solely as Cuban citizens and may be subject to a range of restrictions and obligations.”
But nowhere did it mention American-born children or military service.
“We have been traveling to Cuba for decades, decades, Cuban-born and Cuban-Americans, and this issue has not come up,” Freyre said.
The website information changed but no comment why from the U.S. Department of State.