A brief visit to Cuba

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Uhhh, it was only illegal for you freedom-loving 'Mercans, eh.


Except, our freedoms-loving Congress voted to block the lifting of the travel restrictions. So, for now anyway, the ban isn’t quite yet slipping into history.

I reckon they could stay in the huff with Cuba til it’s sold back to United Fruit, complete with a written apology.


To be clear, Congress hasn’t voted to block the relaxation of the embargo. They literally haven’t voted at all, and the embargo can’t be lifted without their vote. It’s still in debate.

It’s not hard at all for Americans to visit Cuba, though. Many travel agencies go there, it’s just done through a loophole: you can visit Cuba as part of a cultural exchange program through charity organizations. So many travel agencies have separate ‘charity’ foundations that run their Cuba programs, such as this one.


It was NEVER illegal for Americans to go to Cuba!!! It is beyond ridiculous that this falsehood is being passed around.

Americans have ALWAYS been able to fly there from Canada, Mexico, Europe, etc. You pay for a visa, you enter the country, and they welcome you with a smile. I know, I did it.

What you weren’t allowed to do was buy goods there and bring them back to the USA.


It’s weird that people in the US think their money will have such a big impact. Cuba is a fairly popular destination for European tourists and life there is still pretty miserable. The critical issue isn’t US money, it’s the legality of private business within Cuba, which is still highly restricted. It’s starting to relax under Raul Castro, Fidel’s less fanatical brother, and things are starting to change.


You’re mistaken. It’s been illegal to spend any money at all there, or receive gifts. This has effectively made it impossible to visit even though it is technically legal to set foot there. For example, if you land at the airport you can’t legally get a taxi into town, buy yourself food, or get a hotel room, etc. Unless you already have friends or family there you’re immobilized.


Actually, historically Raul was the more fanatical brother – he was a dedicated Marxist who had visited the Soviet Union even before the Cuban revolution. It really wasn’t clear at first that Fidel was going to go for the whole Soviet model when he got in power – his early writings suggested he was just interested in breaking up large plantations to give peasants their own fields and such, until Raul radicalized him. But, yes, it looks like even Raul realizes that centralized economies don’t really work in practice these days.

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It’s not so unusual to think. It’s a popular destination, but the largest market for tourists – the people right next door – don’t have a convenient way to get there, and American companies can’t do business there.

For Europeans it’s a costly vacation. For Americans, it would be the sort of place people would go to a for a long weekend.

Last I saw – and this may have changed since Chinese firms started buying up the world – the largest foreign players in the Cuban tourism market were Canadian, and it’s open knowledge that they can’t compete with the raw capital of U.S. firms if it ever comes down to it. They’re just not in the same league.

You know the only bad thing about the thaw in US-Cuba relations? The rest of the world - those of us whose governments did not bar us from travelling to Cuba - now have to endure the onslaught of U.S. citizens who travel to Cuba and come home to write their stories about visiting the forbidden island, about ‘discovering’ Cuba, passing on their ‘insights’ and opinions on all things Cuba. Ugh. This USA as the centre of the universe thing is so passé…


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