No, you shouldn’t, if you’re a U.S. citizen. The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba and has imposed economic sanctions on the country that make it illegal for U.S. citizens to spend money in Cuba. It is possible to get a “license” for a limited number of people to travel there for people-to-people programs, however the books say they are hard to come by. The one couple we ran across that was traveling on such a license had been required to make what they called a ”large donation” to a U.S. based artistic group to get their license, and their “mission” was to drop off some artist aprons at some kind of a co-op, which took all of one hour. So if you’re willing to pay the price, you can go legally.
As a result of these sanctions, we did not go to Cuba. Anything in this blog about time spent in Cuba is a fictitious account, and all of the people mentioned are figments of our imagination. All of the photos are the product of a search on the internet for the appropriate pictures and Bob’s talents with Adobe Photoshop, which allows people to be inserted into the original photo.
We came to the conclusion that Cuba is fairly challenging for any visitor, but particularly for one from the U.S., so we decided we would tell folks that if they think of themselves as ” intrepid travelers”, they might enjoy such a trip; if not, they should not go. On the other hand, because of its’ history as a 1960’s style revolutionary state, and due to the U.S. policy of economic sanctions and isolation, Cuba has been almost frozen in time. The revolutionary billboards, the streets named after national and international socialist heroes (Che, Salvador Allende of Chile, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, for example) and posters regarding “evil U.S. presidents” (all Republican, by the way) seem almost more out of a commie version of the book “1984” than they do real. This unique island nation will clearly be hugely different when the current regime changes, and/or the U.S. takes steps to remove the economic sanctions that have contributed to this unique culture.
We are so glad we imagine that we went, it is perhaps one of the more fascinating destinations we’ve not visited.