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Steep new customs taxes surprise travelers to Cuba

HAVANA -- A steep hike in customs duties has taken effect in Cuba, catching some air travelers unaware and leaving others irate at the new fees.

Nelida Diaz is a Cuban-American who often travels back to the island to see family. She says she was shocked when officials charged her US$588 at customs.

Diaz says “they had never charged us like that” before.

Travelers are allowed to bring in 66 pounds (30 kilograms) of miscellaneous goods without being charged. Everything after that gets taxed at US$4.55 a pound (US$10 per kilogram).

The new import taxes were announced two months ago. But many passengers at Havana's international airport Monday said they were taken by surprise.

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