People to People to Cuba

Nacional

Most of my email after the radio interview Friday was about Cuba. I mentioned that in a couple of months we’ll visit Havana and stay at the venerable Hotel Nacional.

As I understand it, the Clinton administration instituted a “people to people” exchange program, which was suspended by the Bush administration and has now been reinstated.

Certain travel agencies have been approved to conduct these tours and trips resumed last August. In general, the idea is that each trip should include engagement with the Cuban people, so no just-lay-on-the-beach trips are allowed.

•••••

I think sometimes our American hubris leads us to think that because we embargo Cuba it must be neglected, an outcast and a wastrel.

Not so. Flights landed at Jose Marti airport last Saturday from Santiago, Caracas, Cancun, Mexico City, San Salvador, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid (3), Toronto and Panama City (2), among other places.

An American with family in Cuba wrote: “It is unfortunate Americans are the only ones who cannot freely travel to Cuba. We were in Old Havana for Christmas and I felt my cousins were the only Cubans walking around the city! Everyone else was either European or Chinese.

I have reservations about traveling with a group (could be up to 16). That's something we’ve never done. But we ultimately decided seeing Cuba while it’s still free of American cars and Chick-Fil-As has enough caché to try it.

We’ll see if we’re right.

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