The dissing of Cuba and America’s changing policy

Cuba sits about 90 miles off the coast of Florida. With such close proximity, the island would be a great place to go for a holiday, if it was not for the lack of diplomacy of the US Government.

A holiday in Cuba, for most Americans, is difficult. The US Government’s Treasury Department has laws that make it illegal to spend money in Cuba. So, per say, one can visit Cuba, but cannot spend money there.

This policy is in place for Cuba, yet comparable travel to the largest communist country in the world, China, is relatively easy.

Why the difference in policy between the two countries?

Both are dictatorships, both violate human rights and both are communist regimes.

Here’s the difference that many people do not know – in China, foreign companies pay their workers directly. The government does not play a “middle man” role.

In Cuba, foreign companies rent workers through Fidel Castro. He’s paid 100% of the agreed upon rent of the worker.

He, in turn, pays 5% of that rent to the workers. So, as a dictator, he benefits greatly when foreign firms invest in the country. The average worker still lives under his harsh rule and Castro limits the benefits of foreign investment.

Though the island has great music, great beaches and a population that would love to enjoy some of the freedoms that come with a “semi-open” market, it will not happen until Fidel Castro, or his brother Rafael, change their dictatorial policies.

In spite of these arcane rules by the Cuban Government, the US is changing it’s policies towards travel in Cuba.

President Obama’s recent directives about Cuba include:

1) Lift all restrictions on transactions between Cuban families in the US and Cuba.

2) Allow telecommunication companies to enter into agreements with the Cuban Government.

3) Add certain items for export to Cuba considered to be humanitarian .

Though most countries of the world have better diplomatic relations in Cuba, the US is slowly turning the corner on changing its policies about investments and travel to the island.

For the traveler from the US that had a burning desire to see Cuba, there are ways to get around the US restrictions on traveling to the island.

One can go to Canada, Britain or many of the Caribbean Islands and get a direct flight to the country of Cuba.

Make sure you bring enough cash for your stay  Cuba. You would not want to raise red flags in the US by having to get money while in Cuba.

Is Cuba worth a visit?

They have unique music that is world-renowned.

Serene and tranquil beaches have not been invaded by large hotels and restaurants – they are still unspoiled.

Cuba has UNESCO World Heritage sites with stunning colonial architecture located throughout the country.

El Nicho Park, in the province of Cienfuegos, offers abundant fauna and many waterfalls

As an adventurer, getting to see the unspoiled sites of Cuba before “westernization”, the enticing allure of a Cuban vacation can be had despite the US restrictions.

Enter Cuba through Canada, many of the Caribbean Islands or through Great Britain and you may never hear a “discouraging word” from the US Government.

About John Wilson

Traveler, writer and photographer. No home now, just traveling the world in search of the lost chord.
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9 Responses to The dissing of Cuba and America’s changing policy

  1. The US – Cuba travel dilemma is of great debate. Once I was in Germany and a tour guide was gushing about her upcoming vacation. We asked where she was going and she said Cuba which seemed so strange to us.

    I think the reason US citizens can visit China is because our gov’t thinks China has something we need and, therefore, we have to play a little nicer with them.

  2. John Wilson says:

    Hi Debbie,
    Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read the post and leave a comment.
    You are probably right in your reasons – another one of the many “logical” decisions of the government that does not make any sense.
    Play nice and travel safely.
    I appreciate your comment.
    John D. Wilson

  3. Laurel says:

    I’ve never been to Cuba, but it’s a popular vacation spot for many Canadians. I had no idea that workers were rented and only received 5% of the pay. That’s terrible.

  4. John Wilson says:

    Governments can and usually are terrible entities.
    Interesting what one learns when searching for information.
    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Laurel, greatly appreciated.
    John D. Wilson

  5. I’ve heard a lot of conflicting things from people who have traveled to Cuba, but I’d love the chance to check it out myself one day. Hopefully U.S.-Cuban relations improve soon….

  6. John Wilson says:

    Hi Christy,
    Same here – conflicting reports.
    Always like seeing things first hand to believe or not believe.
    Music I would love to hear/see.
    The old cars that are roaming the streets have to be a trip.
    Food, I’ve heard some great things.
    Maybe one day…..
    Travel safe, play nice.
    John D. Wilson

  7. stevie says:

    Hey John,

    Tree and I went to Cuba via Mexico a couple years ago, and we both absolutely LOVED the country. We stayed in a Casa Particular, a small apartment sectioned off of a family’s larger apartment, in Havana. We fell in love with the family that we stayed with and are still friend with them today. Interestingly, there are more and more opportunities of small free enterprise being allowed in Cuba- the casa particulars being one of them, paladores are another (restaurants in home kitchens), along with taxi drivers, barbershops, and a few others.

    I’m happy to hear that the U.S. is lightening its stance against Cuba, and I hope that Cuba continues to invent a sui-generis economy that blends the best of what they have now (great free healthcare, free education, very few homeless/starving) and what they need (like social mobility and free speech).

    Great post!

  8. John Wilson says:

    That must have been an interesting trip, Stevie.
    Amazing how things change but remain the same on certain things, despite all the evidence that says,”Changer your approach!”
    Glad you were able to visit while it is still somewhat unspoiled by a bunch of western tourist hotels.
    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and read the post.
    Enjoy the waves in Peru!
    John D. Wilson

  9. Rich says:

    I live in the UK, and have been on holiday to Cuba. As you say it is a beautiful, wonderful country, its a shame that travellers from the US find it so difficult to travel there. I think as the first poster pointed out, China has a lot more to offer in terms of trade (and therefore money) than Cuba. Also there is a lot of recent bad blood between your two countries which will make it hard for any US adminstration to be seen to soften their stance toward the Cubans until the Castro regime has been changed.

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