What can I say about Cuba? I think the only way one can visit (as an American) is to join a ”cultural” tour. Applying to a university trip is the way to go. One really doesn’t have to be an alumni but can pay to join temporarily. On the trip I took, out of eleven people, only four were actually alumni of that University (UCB). The company is AHI who runs many trips around the world for universities and other groups.
Our eleven folks were a very strange and interesting mix. Two cis men traveling together…one of whose wife had recently passed away. They ended up drinking A LOT and looked a little under the weather at the morning lectures. There were also two cis women traveling together who were old-time friends and one of which was definitely a leader/mother…rounding us all up and making sure we knew when and where to be. Another couple, much more put-together than the rest of us ragtag folks. Two sisters who seemed very quiet and took quite good care of each other. Than there was another single woman from California and the two of us…sisters-in-law. All different backgrounds and interesting.
Our guide was excellent and passionate even though buying into Putin’s denazification propaganda. Cuba has officially “sided” with Putin on Ukraine. Along with North Korea, Venezuela, Belarus, etc.
Cuba is pretty cheap and going with the university group gave us some perks: visit to a contemporary dance group, an arts school, afro-cuban performance and excellent lectures on the social issues, the economic picture, how the embargo has affected them and the politics and opening up a little to private business.
And of course, getting to drive in an old American car. Parts are now 3D printed as they are no longer officially made. Castro and Che Guevara posters are everywhere. My dodge driver said that Raoul is still running the show even thought he is no longer president. My driver’s view was that he did not expect things to get much better in the short term. There is hope that Biden will be able to loosen the embargo.
All in all, a good trip. Buildings are in disrepair and people appear to be quite poor and a bit desperate. Unfortunately the pandemic did not help. This tour was canceled initially but rescheduled. Tourism has bumped up a bit and the hope is that it will continue.