Cuba cracks down on goods in travelers' luggage

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Associated Press

Posted on September 1, 2014 at 3:00 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 1 at 4:01 AM

HAVANA (AP) — Things are about to change for hundreds of thousands of ordinary Cubans as well as Cuban-Americans who fly to and from the island each year.

The government is tightening control of the massive flow of goods incoming travelers bring to the island where consumer goods are frequently shoddy, scarce and expensive.

Thanks to the easing of travel restrictions by the U.S. and Cuban governments, Cuba-bound checked baggage has become a continuous airlift that moves nearly $2 billion of products ranging from razor blades to flat screen TVs.

The Cuban government says abuses have turned air travel in particular into a way for professional "mules" to illegally import items for both black-market businesses and legal private enterprises.

Ordinary Cubans reacted with worry and outrage that their primary, and for many only, source of high-quality consumer goods may be throttled.

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