With over five years of travel to Cuba and a book about my travels under my belt, I call myself a Cuba expert. After Friday's announcement (6/16/17), I felt compelled to share my feelings about the policy changes toward travel to Cuba. Although I could have only shared it on my blog and social media, I wrote the Sun-Sentinel.
Enjoy my take on the travel changes featured on 6/19/17 in the Sun-Sentinel.
End political bullying and help the people of Cuba featured in the Sun-Sentinel
Last week, I was in Havana, Cuba completing my fifth year of leading people-to-people tours for Americans. Over my trips, I have had many insightful conversations about politics with professors and taxi drivers to students and business owners to research for my book, Cubicle to Cuba. On this trip, the hot question was about Trump and changes in our relations. I’m deeply saddened with the announcement to tighten the travel restrictions to Cuba, which directly affects the Cuban people, their pocketbooks, and more.
Travel to Cuba by Americans has provided countless benefits to the Cuban people: financial support to private businesses, both paladares (private restaurants) and casa particulares (BnBs), needed materials that are not available because of the U.S. Embargo or not affordable such as school and medical supplies, as well as the ability to exchange ideas with their neighbors to the North. It is beyond ridiculous that our cultures have remained isolated from each other for nearly sixty years because of a political rivalry like that of the Hatfields and the McCoys. If the U.S., its citizens, and elected officials sincerely want to help the Cuban people and provide the hope that our flag symbolizes, get rid of the U.S. Embargo. Cuban people deserve a chance to pursue the Cuban dream and succeed. This political bullying and Cold War saga needs to end.