Reject Trump’s Economic Strangulation of Cuba!

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.

Cuba: Revolution and Change

October 5 – 14, 2018

This unique people-to-people Reality Tour will highlight key cities and history behind the Cuban Revolution while celebrating a new era of leadership and exploring changes underway. We’ll move from Santiago de Cuba to the mountains of Sierra Maestra, the beautiful city of Camaguey, Santa Clara and then on to the sprawling city of Havana.

Cuba: Baseball and Culture

November 18 – 25, 2018

Play Ball! Join us for our Second Annual Baseball themed delegation to Cuba. We’ll meet with Cubans working in the baseball and softball sports sector, learn about Cuban baseball, culture, and history, and learn about the impacts of U.S. foreign policy on Cuban athletes and society at large. We’ll even have the chance to catch a few playoff games!

Cuba: Afro Cuban Culture

December 5 – 15, 2018

On this trip, we’ll examine the African roots of Cuba’s vibrant culture and history.  From Havana to Santiago de Cuba, the cradle of African culture and the Revolution, we’ll experience Afro Cuban religious music and performance while hearing from Cuban experts on race, gender, art and religion.

Cuba: New Year’s Celebration & Global Exchange 30th Anniversary Delegation!

December 28, 2018 – January 6, 2019

Join us on this special delegation celebrating our 30th year Anniversary, the 60 year anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution, and New Year’s! We’ll examine Cuba at a crossroads in the ​areas of arts, culture, community, sustainability and history. After ringing in the New Year in Havana, we’ll make our way to Cojimar, the setting for ​Hemingway’s Old Man and The Sea, the port city of ​Matanzas, and ​Varadero. We’ll stop in Cienfuegos, the birthplace of Cuban musical icon Benny Moré and the renowned ​film Fresa y Chocolate as well as Santa Clara, and finally enjoy our last few days of exploration inside the ​enchanting walled city of Camaguey.

Women face obstacles and oppression worldwide. And yet, the struggle continues. Resilient and resolute — women across the globe are working to create meaningful change. On International Women’s Day, we launched a series of blogs through to Mother’s Day highlighting Women’s Voices of Cuba – a series exploring courageous women impacting Cuba. The first two blogs featured Alicia Jrapko and Catherine Murphy. Today, we launch the third and final of the series…

Gloria Rolando’s celebrated career as film director spans over 35 years. The primary focus of her work is the African diaspora in the Caribbean. Originally trained in art history, she transitioned to filmmaking and has made documentaries and features. She has worked with the Cuban National Film Institute and is a founding member of the film collective Imagines del Caribe, based in Havana. Rolando is best known for films such as Oggun: An Eternal Presence, about Cuban Yoruba singer Lazaro Ros; My Footsteps in Baragua, a recounting of the history of a West Indian community in Cuba; and Eyes of the Rainbow, a documentary on Assata Shakur, the Black Panther and Black Liberation Army leader who took refuge in Cuba. Her current project traces the history of Africans in Cuba.

The following is a written response from Gloria to Global Exchange’s interview questions, translated from Spanish:

I have always worked in documentary filmmaking, since the time when I began working at the The Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC) in 1976. In 1995 I began working with the GRUPO DE VIDEO IMAGENES DEL CARIBE, an independent project without any kind of resources, but [they provided] a way to continue my work about the experience of the black population on the island of Cuba. It was also a way, during that time of scarcity…in Cuba, called the special period….that allowed me to survive and live, creating work about themes that still interest me today.  Spiritual life, social, political, and music of Afro-Cubans, the subject of migration, the presence of thousands of people from the English speaking Caribbean, and Haitians are my favorite topics.

[My work] is not just about the presence of black people in Cuba, it is much deeper than that because it has to do with the economic history of the country, the sugar industry, the history of the workers movement on the Cuban island. In these works, I give voice and presence to many people and of course to women because they are the protagonists of many chapters of the African diaspora. And it is right to tell these stories, and so I’ve dedicated myself to giving a space to women as well.

My work has taken much energy and dedication. [My latest project], MY GRANDMOTHER, is a look at a black woman. It is a homage to all those grandmothers who wash and iron so that today we can be professionals. They had many challenges and [by telling their story] we give them continuity.