This measure, of a temporary nature, allows those who travel to Cuba to non-commercially import “products classified as food, medicine and toiletries” in accompanied luggage, without limits on their value and free of payment of tariffs, in accordance with Resolution 213/2021 of the General Customs of the Republic, published in the extraordinary Gaceta Oficial No. 62.
Minister of Finance and Prices Meisi Bolaños recently clarified that this flexibility does not apply to unaccompanied luggage, that is, to suitcases or packages sent before or after the passenger’s trip, the official Cubadebate website recalled.
According to the publication, the minister added that the measure applies to both Cubans and foreigners, residents or not on the island, and will be in effect until December 31.
However, for travelers arriving through the airports of the tourist destinations of Varadero and Cayo Coco, the benefit is limited to a single luggage transported in the hold of the plane, due to the regulations already in place for these sites due to COVID-19.
Given the shortage of medicines and food that Cuba is currently suffering, as a consequence of the current economic crisis in the country, accentuated by the U.S. embargo/blockade and the pandemic, the highest Cuban authorities announced last Wednesday the relaxation of non-commercial imports of those products, along with other measures.
The announcement took place after the massive protests of previous days in different locations on the island, which led to clashes between the protesters and pro-government groups together with law enforcement forces. These events, which the government classifies as “riots” and maintains that they were boosted from the United States, triggered claims over the current shortages of food and medicine, and long power outages.
Cubadebate specifies that travelers can bring diagnostic medical supplies and biosensors, disposable sanitary masks, masks to administer oxygen, scalpel blades and handles, gloves, syringes and disposable adult diapers.
It specifies that non-alcoholic beverages will be considered as food, and therefore they are within the measure, which offers facilities for the import of canned meat of recognized trademarks and from countries that due to their current animal health situation and agreements established between Official Veterinary Services are eligible for Cuba.
The same applies to sausages, canned seafood, milk in its different variants and pasteurized mature cheeses.
In accordance with the sanitary regulations for the import of foods of animal origin established in Cuba, the ban on bringing fresh, frozen, dehydrated or salted meats, as well as fluid milk and unpasteurized dairy products, remains in force.
These regulations may undergo modifications related to changes in the animal health situation of the countries of origin of the products that can be imported, says the publication, which also clarifies that the products must arrive fully packaged, labeled and with undamaged packaging.
Those products whose packaging suffers any damage or deterioration that could become a vehicle for etiological agents that cause diseases will be confiscated and incinerated, it added.