is a pseudonym for a friend and business associate who is a former
U.S. citizen. This is his story of how he reached the breaking point
of giving up U.S. citizenship.
Have you ever
been to Key West, Florida?
in Key West is a marker at the corner of Whitehead and South Streets
that says in big letters: "Southernmost Point Continental United
States." Above it reads in smaller letters: "90 miles
to Cuba." Visiting this concrete marker recently made me pause
and reflect upon a major decision that I made a few years earlier:
the choice to give up my U.S. citizenship.
started when I found that there were many restrictions on my ability
to travel or do business outside the United States because of my
U.S. citizenship. For instance, I had long desired to visit the
Republic of Cuba, but because of my U.S. citizenship, I could not
do so. Canadians, Mexicans, Europeans and every other nationality
may travel and do business there, but with limited exceptions, U.S.
citizens have not been excluded from Cuba for nearly 50 years.
As I thought
about this prohibition and the many others established by statute
or executive order, I became outraged. Finally, in 1994, I read
a story that galvanized me to take action. The story was about a
group called the "Freedom to Travel Campaign" that sought
to end these travel restrictions. This group had challenged Treasury
Department regulations prohibiting such travel. However, the Clinton
Justice Department, perhaps fearing that juries would side with
these "tourist lawbreakers," declined to prosecute the
to the failure of the Justice Department to prosecute these tourists,
the Treasury Department amended the regulations to make it possible
to fine persons violating travel restrictions administratively,
without going to court. The U.S. Treasury Department administers
these and other sanctions programs through the Office
of Foreign Assets Control.
risks, I decided to secretly visited Cuba. I flew to Nassau, the
Bahamas, and embarked upon the daily direct flight to Havana on
Cubana de Aviacion, Cuba’s national air carrier.