October 9, 2012

Pinar del Río, Cuba. February, 2012

When the Obama administration began to open up travel to Cuba again (after the doors had been slammed shut during the Bush years), I leapt at the chance to visit. I went legally with New York’s Center for Cuban Studies, a group that had received a “people-to-people” license from the US State Department. This license allows qualified groups to visit Cuba in order to exchange cultural information, learn about art, music, healthcare and other topics. It is renewed annually. Or not. This year, it seems, not. Reports abound that the State Department has been more than unusually sluggish and the many licensed groups (including National Geographic and many Ivy League alumni associations and other cultural travel organizations) have had to cancel planned trips because they no longer have these precious licenses. You can read more about this here. Meanwhile, I count my blessings that I was able to go when I did.

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