CUBA

If I understand correctly, we Americans can no longer go on a self-guided 'person-to-person' trip, but have to go through a travel agency that does escorted tours. I looked at one, and the 7 day land package was $3500 per person double occupancy! My 10-15 day European trips have been about half that, even with airfair. Does anyone know of reasonable tours? How about if we start our own 'salsa tour' group? :)
 
I'm not sure how the whole group tours thing is supposed to work. If people are not supposed to stay in hotels owned by teh military but I dno't think that groups rent a bunch of rooms in casa particulares...
 
If I understand correctly, we Americans can no longer go on a self-guided 'person-to-person' trip, but have to go through a travel agency that does escorted tours. I looked at one, and the 7 day land package was $3500 per person double occupancy! My 10-15 day European trips have been about half that, even with airfair. Does anyone know of reasonable tours? How about if we start our own 'salsa tour' group? :)
Perhaps go on Boogaloo productions. com. They seem to offer dance packages and such. Or if Americans are still aloud to use air b n b for educational purposes, fly to Varadero or Santiago via your closest non American country and stay in a casa.
 
Or if Americans are still aloud to use air b n b for educational purposes, fly to Varadero or Santiago via your closest non American country and stay in a casa.
That's exactly it, Americans can't go on their own under the educational/people-to-people travel category anymore as of June 16, courtesy of the Trumpet. So AirBnb is thus illegal too since the only reason you'd use it to book a casa is if you go on your own.

A trip that costs about $50 per day if you go on your own ($25/day for a casa, $10-15 for food, $5-10 for dancing) now costs thousands of dollars for those who want to go "legally" (with a group). Otherwise, there's always the (illegal) Mexico route.
 
If I understand correctly, we Americans can no longer go on a self-guided 'person-to-person' trip, but have to go through a travel agency that does escorted tours. I looked at one, and the 7 day land package was $3500 per person double occupancy! My 10-15 day European trips have been about half that, even with airfair. Does anyone know of reasonable tours? How about if we start our own 'salsa tour' group? :)
A 7-day trip if you go on your own costs less than $400 (plus the flight). $3500 is just ridiculous.
 
That's exactly it, Americans can't go on their own under the educational/people-to-people travel category anymore as of June 16, courtesy of the Trumpet. So AirBnb is thus illegal too since the only reason you'd use it to book a casa is if you go on your own.

A trip that costs about $50 per day if you go on your own ($25/day for a casa, $10-15 for food, $5-10 for dancing) now costs thousands of dollars for those who want to go "legally" (with a group). Otherwise, there's always the (illegal) Mexico route.
I lucked out, because although I am legally able travel there (Candian), I booked a sweet spot in Vedado for relatively cheap through Airbnb. Since it is an American company I had to fill out an extra form. But now that I have stayed there I have her contact information and can book on my own.
 
That's exactly it, Americans can't go on their own under the educational/people-to-people travel category anymore as of June 16, courtesy of the Trumpet. So AirBnb is thus illegal too since the only reason you'd use it to book a casa is if you go on your own.

A trip that costs about $50 per day if you go on your own ($25/day for a casa, $10-15 for food, $5-10 for dancing) now costs thousands of dollars for those who want to go "legally" (with a group). Otherwise, there's always the (illegal) Mexico route.
My aunt approached me to go to Cuba a few weeks ago when Trump made the announcement telling me to book before the new policy took effect. It's so misguided, I have family within 3 generations (my grandmother, her mother, was born in Cuba), so in reality the way for me to do it legally would be to find these relatives I've never met and go meet them, but I would have to make sure I would protect myself and document everything which is what I think would be hard. I would want to have on hand my mother's birth certificate, my grandmother's birth certificate, and more birth certificates to create the chain of relation prior to going in case anyone from the US Government investigates my trip ( I would also make sure during said trip to take at least a dozen photos and 4 or 5 videos with the relatives in question). And without that being planned out prior to the trip I won't consider making it under the current policy.

It's rather crazy. I could easily go to Vietnam, where 10 of thousands of Americans died in a war, but not Cuba because they kicked out the US corporations.
 
Very concerned about my family in Cuba. Not sure igf they got hit by the floods in Havana or not. I know they are close to the flooded area but I don't know the exact streets that are flooded and haven't been able to reach anyone by phone yet

 
I watched the "Cuba and the Cameraman" documentary on Netflix. Quite good IMO. Interesting interview with the reporter Jon Alpert. Starts with a trailer from the documentary, so you can see if it might interest you.

 
From the President’s perspective, he isn’t keen to continue to allow for “better” relations between Cuba and the US because when Obama loosened the restrictions it benefitted the corrupt Cuban government but not the people. Trump said that when the government decides to extend that wealth from the influx of tourists to the Cuban people, he will consider lifting them again. I actually know many Cubans that left Cuba and the oppressive regime of Castro (Fidel and now Raul) who are fully in support of the President’s decision. Just as an FYI.
 
From the President’s perspective, he isn’t keen to continue to allow for “better” relations between Cuba and the US because when Obama loosened the restrictions it benefitted the corrupt Cuban government but not the people. Trump said that when the government decides to extend that wealth from the influx of tourists to the Cuban people, he will consider lifting them again. I actually know many Cubans that left Cuba and the oppressive regime of Castro (Fidel and now Raul) who are fully in support of the President’s decision. Just as an FYI.
This is of course a divisive topic. Yes some agree with the current administration, but most Cubans I know who left the oppressive regime, dislike the government but they are not in agreement with the embargo.

I also know a number of Cubans who have started bed and breakfasts and restaurants and are hurt by a reduction in tourists. Trying to block tourism is hurtful to all the new private businesses, which is really what the US should be encouraging not hampering.

As for "it benefited the corrupt government but not the people" that is flat out not true. I expect it benefited the government to some extent, as with any government they can collect taxes from the new businesses springing up. And some people stay in hotels that are joint ventures with Spanish companies and the Cuban government. But a lot of the money went to taxi drivers, dance instructors, tour guides, paladares, casa particulares, airbnb members, street vendors. These are private businesses that employ Cubans - not government-run businesses. I.e. this hurts the people who are providing jobs in the private sector and offering an alternative to government controlled jobs.

I have seen injustices by the government, but I have also seen how hard people in the private sector are working to create something they can live off of. The Cuban government makes it hard enough on the them. The US shouldn't also be a part of the problem. IMO
 
I agree with some of your points of course. I think it has definitely hurt some Cuban “cuentapropistas” that have been recently allowed to operate, but the government can change the laws that allow for private businesss to operate at any time. The government doesn’t want the Cuban population to become “macetas”. If you get to that level of wealth the government will shut your business down and take it from you. The government does not allow 95% of private businesses to operate, and if you operate one and are found out, you will lose everything. Additionally, I said Cubans who LEFT Cuba support the President’s new policies regarding Cuba. The ones that are still there are, of course, still brainwashed. The only people that were really benefiting from increased tourism to Cuba are the jineteros and the dance instructors and those who deal directly with tourists. Doctors, teachers, or any of those people in professions really adding value to Cuban society are not seeing any important gains on account of increased tourism. Not to mention the fact that simply lifting an embargo is not going to save Cuba from itself.

As for the US being part of the problem, Cuba sided with the Communist Bloc and had all intentions of destroying the US only 60 years ago. Additionally, there are plenty of high ranking officials still in the Cuban government that were directly involved in that plan. Most Cubans are still taught by the government to hate America and Americans and capitalism. So truly I don’t feel like it is the responsibility of the US to “save” anyone, particularly not a country that was never a strong ally, or even an ally at all. Yet, the US still DID save millions of Cubans from the oppressive regime of Fidel Castro. They were allowed to come to the US as refugees under the “wet foot/dry foot” policy that was only just dismantled by Obama in his last days in office.

I could go on with respect to this subject but I think I’ve made my point.
 
Cubans who LEFT Cuba support the President’s new policies regarding Cuba.
I know some who don't.

The ones that are still there are, of course, still brainwashed.
If they don't agree with you then they've been brainwashed so their opinions are of no value.

simply lifting an embargo is not going to save Cuba from itself.
The embargo has been more or less as harmful as the dictatorship has been.

As for the US being part of the problem, Cuba sided with the Communist Bloc and had all intentions of destroying the US only 60 years ago. Additionally, there are plenty of high ranking officials still in the Cuban government that were directly involved in that plan. Most Cubans are still taught by the government to hate America and Americans and capitalism. So truly I don’t feel like it is the responsibility of the US to “save” anyone, particularly not a country that was never a strong ally, or even an ally at all.
By 'save' you mean reduce the embargo - it's hardly the same as asking for aid. And why do you think Cuba turned to communism in the first place?
 
I never said ALL Cubans who left, however, most do. I believe you know some who don’t, but I would be curious to know why?

Just because someone disagrees with me doesn’t mean their opinions are of no value, nor did I ever say this. You’re putting words in my mouth. However, what do you think happens in societies when the government has complete power? Do you think that encourages free thinking? Do you think those people are encouraged to have opinions that aren’t favorable to the government and by extension, favorable towards anyone whom the government considers a threat or any enemy? Do you know anything about what happens to people who dare to exercise free speech in the least free countries in the world, among them North Korea, Cuba, Chad, China, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Syria...etc? People are jailed or even executed without even a trial. Internet sites that might have information the government does not want citizens to know are blocked. In Cuba most people can’t even afford basic internet access and its forbidden in private homes, anyway. You can forgive these people for being brainwashed but that doesn’t change the fact that almost all of them ARE. I wrote an entire dissertation on this topic for a Politics and World trade class in graduate school.

I’d like to see statistics that back up the claim that the embargo has hurt Cuba as much as Castro's Dictatorship.

And finally, why do YOU think Cuba turned to Communism? You seem to be suggesting that it is the US’s fault?

So far as aid...the United States carries the world already, in fact some allied countries barely employ an army because they rely on the US to come to their aid. And then the world criticizes how much the US spends on the military and laments how good people have it in those small countries that have “free” healthcare and all sorts of other benefits for their citizens that the US just can’t afford to give its citizens because we carry the world. And then you have countries like Germany, the wealthiest in the entire EU, not paying their fair share of their GDP towards NATO. Ironic, don’t you think? How can you expect a country to carry the world and then carry itself on top of all of that?
 
I never said ALL Cubans who left, however, most do. I believe you know some who don’t, but I would be curious to know why?
I go by what you write. That's the way forums work. You wrote 'Cubans who LEFT Cuba support the President’s new policies regarding Cuba.' That obviously reads as though you're saying all or at the least the vast majority of Cubans who left Cuba.

As re. why some would not agree with the present POTUS. I think you should realise that outside the USA, Mr Trump is almost universally regarded as an imbecile who is completely incapable of any sort of political role. Even the vast majority of right wingers are embarrassed by him. So in general his policies are badly regarded.

Re. the opinions of Cubans who have left Cuba: bear in mind that the vast majority of Cubans I know or have met have never been to the USA. Maybe that is why our experiences are so different. Of the Cubans I know, many are broadly supportive of the Cuban government, regard the economic problems in Cuba as stemming primarily from the embargo, and have a low opinion of the US (or at least of its foreign policy). Of course others have the opposite opinion and hate communism/Castro with a passion. Others have mixed feelings.

Just because someone disagrees with me doesn’t mean their opinions are of no value, nor did I ever say this. You’re putting words in my mouth.
Your sole comment on the opinions of Cubans in Cuba was to dismiss them: 'The ones that are still there are, of course, still brainwashed.' That blatantly suggests that you believe their opinions to be of no value. Again, I can only respond to what you write.

However, what do you think happens in societies when the government has complete power? Do you think that encourages free thinking? Do you think those people are encouraged to have opinions that aren’t favorable to the government and by extension, favorable towards anyone whom the government considers a threat or any enemy? Do you know anything about what happens to people who dare to exercise free speech in the least free countries in the world, among them North Korea, Cuba, Chad, China, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Syria...etc? People are jailed or even executed without even a trial. Internet sites that might have information the government does not want citizens to know are blocked. In Cuba most people can’t even afford basic internet access and its forbidden in private homes, anyway. You can forgive these people for being brainwashed but that doesn’t change the fact that almost all of them ARE.
I agree that human rights abuses are designed to deter criticism of the government, but on the other hand plenty of Cubans have contact with the outside world due to the large number of Cubans living around the world, plus some Cubans watch US TV etc. How do you think so many Cubans have been sufficiently motivated to risk the dangerous journey to the US? And what about all the Cubans who leave Cuba and stay broadly supportive of the Cuban government? How long do they have to be out of the country before they're no longer brainwashed?

Ultimately Cubans are human beings with valid opinions that cannot be dismissed because they do not coincide with yours.

I’d like to see statistics that back up the claim that the embargo has hurt Cuba as much as Castro's Dictatorship.
That would be very hard to quantify. My original statement would be better expressed as: both communism and the embargo have been highly damaging to Cuba and her people. The embargo also has a negative impact on the US economy, and gives the government and its supporters a valid excuse for the failure of communism. Essentially the embargo is a relic from the Cold War, which ended in 1991.

Incidentally you mention countries with human rights abuses. US foreign policy has supported innumerable human rights abuses, when there is an economic advantage for US corporations.

And finally, why do YOU think Cuba turned to Communism? You seem to be suggesting that it is the US’s fault?
As it happened over half a century ago it's nobody's fault now. But at the time their system was failing miserably in certain respects, and the US was a factor in that.

So far as aid...the United States carries the world already, in fact some allied countries barely employ an army because they rely on the US to come to their aid. And then the world criticizes how much the US spends on the military and laments how good people have it in those small countries that have “free” healthcare and all sorts of other benefits for their citizens that the US just can’t afford to give its citizens because we carry the world.
I specifically said we are NOT talking about aid, so the above is irrelevant. However, if you want to go there: the US carries the world? Are you aware that some believe that US intervention in other countries is purely for the benefit of US businesses? It's certainly strange that the US cannot afford to tackle internal problems e.g. poverty, crime, poor education for many, lack of universal healthcare etc, yet can afford to 'help' vulnerable countries around the world.
 

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