Cuba one of fourth most dangerous countries in the world?

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
a lonely worker
Cuba one of fourth most dangerous countries in the world?

This defies all common sense:


"Direct Travel
Insurance Services has recently deemed four nations to be so dangerous that "we
made a corporate underwriting decision to exclude coverage for travel in,
to, or through such countries".

 So, who are the forbidden four? Three of them have reputations as hotspots,
with widespread lawlessness and violence prevailing: Afghanistan, Liberia
and Sudan. And the fourth: my old favourite, Cuba.

 Why should an island that welcomes hundreds of thousands of British
holidaymakers every year suddenly find itself consigned to the danger zone?
For the answer, Direct Travel referred me to its parent company, AIG, which
recently took over the insurer. The company told me it decided earlier this
year "that the risks arising from the continued provision of cover
under our travel policies in respect of destinations such as Afghanistan,
Cuba, Liberia and Sudan were unacceptably high at the present time".

 So why the sudden decision to downgrade it? One former Direct
Travel policyholder, Alasdair Gibson, believes the move was triggered by the
takeover: "As an American company, AIG is in effect seeking to extend
to its British customers the legal ban on travel to Cuba that applies to all
American citizens, and is acting as an agent of the US administration."
He calls this "a monstrous interference in the workings of the UK-based
travel insurance industry – and an affront to all like me who have been
clients of Direct Travel since long before its takeover by AIG."

"We are sorry that your reader is dissatisfied with the situation,"
says AIG. I was keen to find out what the company knows about Cuba that the
rest of the insurance industry, not to mention leading international
agencies, do not. I also wanted to know if AIG was lobbying the Foreign
Office and bodies such as Abta to make them aware of the risks, pointing out
that a holiday in Havana was as fraught with danger as a city break in
Kabul. This is the company's response, in its entirety:

"If travellers have questions about holiday destinations, there are a
variety of sources available for consultation, such as the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office and the internet. We evaluate risks using different
criteria and parameters and this information is proprietary to AIG." In
other words: we're not saying.



Meanwhile the "Canadian" owned President's Choice Financial Insurance Company will gladly sell travel to any country in the world except Cuba. When questioned the response was they didn't want to offend their "foreign partners".

Just once it would be great if there was a list of "Canadian" companies that placed American imperial interests ahead of ours so that effective action could be taken against them.

Until then, I guess the old saying about a capitalist selling you the rope isn't true after all. 



Well, that ends my Cuba trips! What a dupe I was to have not known how dangerous it really was in Cuba. Those beautiful beaches, the great food, and the amazing hospitality must have gotten to me. I'll be sure to check in with the White House and their whore agencies (like AIG) before I go travelling again. You know, I wouldn't want to end up in Virginia bent over a fallen log getting pummeled by yodelling drooling inbred men while listening to dueling banjos in the background.

Remind me never to travel with "President's Choice Asskissers Insurance Comapny". Again. Ever. 


a lonely worker

On the PC Insurance website at the very bottom in grey print is the following:

"Please note, Cuba is currently not a covered destination with all Single Trip or Annual Plans."

A great thing to do would be to send them a quick e-mail and ask why you can't buy insurance to Cuba or demand they put the interests of Canadians ahead of the White House. It only takes a second and it definitely gets noticed. Here's their contact details (use the details for "travel insurance"):


Le T Le T's picture

I tried to send an email with their 'email form'. After I pressed 'send' it told me that there was a problem sending the email and that I would have to try again. I was returned to a blank email form.




To Le T: I just sent them an email of protest re this ridiculous
policy. Told them I want to hear back with an explanation.
The link worked just fine - no problem.


There really should be a campaign against this - a lot of travellers who never bothered to read the fine print for a holiday destination as safe as Cuba could really get screwed.

Is PC insurance acually US-owned?

And Fidel, that sounds like a great deal.


I also couldn't submit my question. This is such utter bullshit.


"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
Noam Chomsky


AIG is just towing the party line after it's bailout by the United States government.Something Cuba does not have to rely on!

Naci_Sey Naci_Sey's picture

Tried submitting a complaint using their online form. Didn't work in either browser.

Am going to write a blog post about this. Perhaps the blogosphere could get this issue noticed.


ETA: Blog post done.

a lonely worker

Thanks Naci. Please let us know the reaction in the blogosphere.


I sent an e-mail to PC Financial a few months ago when we were rejected for insurance to Cuba. The link worked and I got two responses where the only justification they could give was to appease "foreign partners".They tried to defend themselves as a `proud Canadian`company but when challenged over their caving in to US interests they could only say they hoped I would still use their services for other matters (as if).

Thanks everyone for trying to send e-mails and spreading the word. The quickest way to stop Canadian apeasement is by exposing them before it spreads.

Please keep trying and post any responses or developments.



M. Spector M. Spector's picture

This is all part of the Cuba embargo.

We discussed this before in relation to credit card companies that don't honour purchases made in Cuba (e.g. any MBNA-backed Master Card.

The world financial system has been dominated by US companies (which is why the financial crisis in the US has had such global repercussions). That means that any credit-granting company or insurance company or bank that is US-owned will enforce the embargo against Cuba in any country where they do business. They are compelled by US law, on pain of severe fines, to enforce the embargo worldwide.


I'll never forget President's Choice "hot ginger ale." It made me wretch. blecch!

George Victor

From a Nov. 25, G&M  letter to the editor from John Kirk, professor, Latin American Studies, Dalhousie University:

"Barack Obama has offered to talk to'rogue regimes' such as Iran , Cuba and Syria (Obama's Risk Is Clinton's Reward - Nov. 22). A little context: Cuba is the elected leader of the 118-onation Non-Aligned Movement. It was elected to the UN Human Rights Council with the support of 135 nations (five more than Canada).

A month ago, 185 nations at the General Assembly condemned U.S. policy towards Cuba, with three ( the U.S., Israel and Palau, population 21,000) voting against.

Cuba also has 40,000 medical stff working in 73 countries - more than all the G8 countries together.

Some rogue state."


Yes, Cuba exports socialized medicine and literacy to the underdeveloped capitalist thirdworld. Cuba also provides six years of free medical training to medical students from around the developing world - including a small but significant number of Hispanic and African-American students who cannot access the handful of mainly white medical colleges in the not-so United States of America. Good one, George.

George Victor

Can't wait to see Star Spangled Canadian's take on this display of success for medicine in a country and education system of such limited choice.


It's very dangerous. I wouldn't go without taking dancing lessons. All those beautiful girls and tourists all looking for a good time. Hundreds of thousands of people each year are put in peril. A twisted ankle and everyone is aware.....of.............


a dip to far........

Yes, women not accustomed to these interogation techniques, and the use of acohol as a truth serum, often believe they too are on Dancing with the Stars.

And then there is the music. You could wander into a small village, and music starts playing. It is horrific.  The HORROR THE HORROR. Then back to the safety of the resorts. But again, dance music, partying, and again, more friendly happy people.

I know people are going to Cuba, unprepared, and their safety at risk. Sometimes twice a year.  I can't wait to get there myself, to help out. I am willing to do that, even if I have to go without insurance from this company.








George Victor

Yes, but let's hope we're not on the U.S. no-fly list which is soon to affect people flying over to places in the Carribean and not touching down in the land of the free.

People on the list can't board the plane to Cuba (unless, perhaps, a flight to Gander, first?? Would a plane from there have to pass over Florida?}

Do you think Doris (Stockwell) Day or some other freedom fighter from Steve's place might raise the issue with the new pres. on his taking office?

God what an obsequious cast of characters we manage to elect.



If you're an American, travelling to Cuba can be very dangerous.

 I read about a schoolteacher that went.  The US government confiscated her bank account when she got back.

I admire the Cubans, very much.

Good food & good medical care. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ Health Warning about LASIK Eye Surgery


I have never felt safer in any country, than when I was in Cuba.

Only in Cuba, can you meet complete strangers and be invited into their home with no fear. You can walk the streets alone at night, in even the darkest areas. 

Cubans are a very friendly people, but the other reason is that the government has severe punishments for anyone harming tourists, given that they recognize how important it is to the economy. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't try to steal the occasional thing from you.

But, when you make $30 a month, who can blame them? They know it's going to mean about 1000 times more to them than it is to you.


I thought it was just the lousy food and aggressive hookers that made Cuba dangerous!?


old_bolshie wrote:
I thought it was just the lousy food and aggressive hookers that made Cuba dangerous!?

There are prostitutes in every major city in the world, especially capitalist ones. 

There are no graduates of the notorious Skool of the Americas in Cuba. Kidnappings and right-wing death squads would be a going concern for Canadians visiting US client states like Colombia, however.

Viva La Revolución


Just re-checked the PC Insurance website.  In the FAQ it says,

" PC Travel Insurance is provided by AIG Travel Insurance"

wrote them a few days ago - no answer back.  I'm writing again, a
formal letter this time, not through their crappy email link.  I
think this should be publicized as well!  Tell your travel agents,
friends, etc.   


This is madness. I just checked the Canadian government's web site on travel warnings. The report for Cuba ( says "exercise normal precautions" which is the safest level for travellers. Much safer than anywhere I've been recently, according to the current travel advisories, and just as safe as the USA. 

 I'd love to visit Cuba some day, people all over the world talk about their doctors so admiringly, and it seems like Cuba's human rights record is much improved too.