On April 19, Miguel Díaz-Canel was sworn in as Cuba’s new president. This marks the first time since the 1959 Cuban revolution that a non-Castro is leading Cuba.
While there is much speculation around what this will mean for Cuba’s future, one thing is certain: Cubans are in the midst of a new political era, and a new generation of leaders must navigate serious economic and political challenges fueled by the Trump administration.
Travel to Cuba from the U.S. has dropped by more than 50 percent since the start of 2018. This is largely seen as a result of the Trump administration’s tightening of travel restrictions and the State Department’s travel warning, which was issued due to unexplained and unverified health incidents affecting U.S. diplomats. Many, including our partners at RESPECT and Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member, regard the travel warning to be unfounded
Given that Cuba remains one of the safer destinations for travelers in the world, the Trump administration’s rollback of the Obama-era travel opening can be seen as a return to a tried-and-failed U.S. strategy: strangle the Cuban economy to undermine Cubas’ leadership and facilitate regime change. This policy hasn’t worked over the last 60 years, and it won’t work moving forward. The loss of visitors has put a tremendous strain on economic growth and ultimately hurts the Cuban people. Tourism is Cuba’s third largest source of income and is considered central to Cuba’s economic development.
The administration will likely double-down on its punitive approach with Senator Marco Rubio at the helm of U.S.- Cuba policy, and now with hardliners John Bolton and Mike Pompeo in top national security and diplomatic positions.
In response, we are doubling-down on our solidarity with the Cuban people. Global Exchange has offered legal travel to Cuba for more than 25 years. We invite you to travel with us to take a stand against Trump’s rollback on U.S./Cuba relations and to demonstrate your solidarity with the Cuban people.
Check out four of our upcoming people-to-people Cuba trips below. You can find more on our website.