In the last few years it has not been uncommon to find your security close protection VIP client visiting Cuba for business meetings. Now while this is no so much of a problem for British VIP citizens, it is very difficult for citizens of the USA. My last work in Cuba was in 2008 and I have to say my close protection clients made my security operation run without a hitch.
Some years earlier when I was contracted to provide security and close protection training to governments in the former Soviet Union I was privileged to work with two KGB Colonels who were both former intelligence security advisors to Fidel Castro, President of Cuba. They had spent a lot of time in Cuba and we became good friends after I taught at the KGB training academy in Kiev. Contacts like these can often come in useful for British close protection officers travelling into Cuba. However for our USA security and close protection counterparts it is a completely different ball game.
My very good friend former Police Commissioner Norman E. Jennings a USA close protection specialist has this to say about a Close Protection Client Travelling to Cuba.
Have you ever wondered what would happen to you, if you had a close protection client travelling to Cuba to visit or checking into a business project acting as a tourist, and your client is an “American”?
It is illegal for Americans to visit or travel to CUBA as a tourist. President Clinton signed the Helms-Burton Act, which raised the potential penalties on Americans, who go to Cuba as tourists to $250.000 in criminal fines and $55.000 in civil fines. There have been 10 criminal indictments for violations related to travel to Cuba, and 44 civil cases in the last two years, these charges were brought against the individuals by the US Treasury Department.
In response to; close protection client travelling to Cuba. How do you (Executive Security Close Protection Officer), explain to your client how you can legally go to Cuba? Your answer is: as a Student, Academic studies, Missionaries and/or as a Traveller whose expenses are paid by a person not subject to United States jurisdiction, are among those who can seek special Treasury Department approval for entering Cuba.
For those who cannot be placed into such a category, or if you do not qualify, but decide to buck the sanctions, and we are not telling you to buck the sanctions. However, to have a better than fifty percent chance of successfully making your trip. Travel agencies in Toronto, Canada Cancun, Mexico and Nassau, Bahamas can book you on a tour. Most of these travel agencies in these cities practice a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding a customer’s citizenship. The book “Lonely Planet, written in 1997 priced at $17.95 US dollars. List these agents and has wise advice on travelling in Cuba.
Expect problems along the way, and try to prepare for them as any close protection officer would, and hopefully your security close protection client and you will have a safe trip. Remember the value of “Networking”. Utilising the professional close protection and security services of your allies in offshore countries is always one tactic to overcoming obstacles placed in the way of your close protection operations.