Sat Jan 27 19:10:08 CST 2007
MONTREAL (CP) - A Quebec travel agency is offering clients a $300
discount on its travel packages to Cuba in exchange for taking a
suitcase full of personal items into the country.
The company says it is simply acting as a middleman for expatriate
Cubans wishing to send hard-to-find everyday items to Cuba.
Montreal-based Antillas Express offers clients a rebate if they take a
suitcase past Cuban customs.
A spokesperson who did not want to be identified said the practice is
legal and that the company assumes full responsibility for what's inside
"We check all the merchandise because it's in our interests that it
reaches its destination," the spokesperson told The Canadian Press.
"It's not in our interest that the merchandise be confiscated at the
She said relatives often use the service to send such items as Aspirin,
clothing and pens to family members back home.
Company representatives pick up the suitcase at the airport, and then
deliver the items to their intended recipients.
"This way, you can send more (goods to Cuba) and for cheaper prices than
(through) the mail," the spokesperson said.
A U.S. embargo against the Communist island country has long restricted
what can be sent there from the United States, and forbids exporting
products to Cuba through third countries.
The embargo, which has been in place since'63, was tightened again in
2004, forcing ex-pats to find new ways for sending gifts back home.