Just days after inciting a deadly terrorist attack on America’s capitol, President Trump has put Cuba back on the “state sponsor of terrorism list”. This infuriating and hypocritical action against Cuba is their last attack on Obama era diplomatic progress and erects a new roadblock to plans by the incoming Biden Administration to restore diplomatic relations.

Cuba does not sponsor terrorism. That is a straight up lie. Cuba is known around the world for its humanitarian internationalism. It exports doctors, musicians, teachers, artists, and dancers that reflect the country’s people centered values. In response to the global pandemic Cuba has sent doctors to countries most impacted by COVID-19.

We invite you to read a recent article by Global Exchange Co-Founder, Medea Benjamin and New Good Neighbor ally, Leonardo Flores.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez is right to condemn, “the hypocritical and cynical designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The Trump Administration has spent four years unraveling the historic diplomatic advances of the Obama years and cynically promoting a new campaign of scare tactics and misinformation.

The Trump Administration is reviving America’s long-failing regime change strategy that aims to strangle Cuba’s economy and weaken its leaders. This 60 year old tactic of impoverishing Cuba’s people to inspire them to rise up is immoral and discredited.


It is already way past time to end the economic blockade of Cuba and restore full diplomatic relations.


The Trump Administration is dragging us into the past with the imposition of new restrictions on Americans who want to travel to Cuba.

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that the “people-to-people” category of legal travel to Cuba will be eliminated starting today, June 5, 2019.

These new policies are dead wrong.

We are working with our allies and legal advisors to overcome these policies, and the good news is that you can still travel to Cuba — legally — with Global Exchange. 

There are still several categories of legal travel to Cuba including university-sponsored study abroad trips, journalistic activity, professional research and meetings, support for the Cuban people, and others.

Please contact us if you have question about these categories and ways that you can continue to legally travel to Cuba with Global Exchange. Contact Drea Hightower, at 415-575-5527 or email drea@globalexchange.org.

Global Exchange has worked to end the travel ban and embargo since 1990. We have organized legal travel and exchanges for tens of thousands of people over the last two decades and will continue to do so.

Join us now to travel to Cuba. Cuba is a fascinating and complex country with a unique history, rich culture, and beautiful people that you deserve to meet and interact with — in spite of Trump’s restrictions.

Please continue to check our website for the latest and most up-to-date information.

P.S. Tune in to KPFA tomorrow, June 6th at 7am Pacific Time to learn more about the travel restrictions released by the Trump Administration.


Happy New Year!  We’re ready to build a powerful movement for change in 2018!

We are already hard at work confronting Trump’s attacks on our communities, our rights, and our future. And thanks to all of you who made a special year-end gift in 2017, we are ready to rise and resist his disastrous agenda in the year ahead, and to work with you to reclaim the future we know is possible.

Here is what we’re working right now and how you can take action:


A Clean Dream Act: The first order of business in 2018, demand Congress pass a Clean Dream Act. Democrats will once again have the opportunity tomake this a requirement before signing onto the next spending bill. Let’s make sure they stand with Dreamers and give security to almost 800,000 deserving young people who came to the U.S. as children. Call Congresss now!


Replace NAFTA: We are demanding a new NAFTA that will benefit workers in all three countries, that ensures environmental and labor protections, and that does away with investor-state dispute settlement. Follow us on Facebook for the latest developments.


Bridges Not Borders: Reality Tours continue to build people-to-people ties, understanding and unity around the world. Travel with us in 2018!


Promise to Protect: Keystone XL is a violation of Indigenous rights and it will be stopped (again). We’re standing with Indigenous leaders in the #PromisetoProtect. Join a wave of #NoKXL resistance. Have you taken the Pledge? Sign up now.


End the Blockade Against Cuba: Global Exchange will continue to play a central role in building understanding between the people of the U.S. and Cuba by expanding our program of educational travel tothe island. We oppose attempts by Trump to roll back progress made toward normal relations and an end the blockade. Come with us to Cuba in 2018!


Town Hall Summer: In the spirit of Freedom Summer and so many summers since, we want to air the critical issues of the day in town squares and public halls across the U.S. We will bring people together tomobilize around core issues and build a broad civic groundswell ahead of the critical mid-term elections.

Thank you for joining us! We’re proud to have you by our side as we continue our work for peace, justice, and human rights.

Cuban Rap Artist Kokino. Photo by Yordis Villalon.

Cuban Rap Artist Kokino. Photo by Yordis Villalon.

While the media storm in response to Beyonce and Jay-Z’s recent trip to Cuba has begun to settle down, those who are most directly affected by U.S. foreign policy in Cuba- Cubans living on the island- continue to feel the repercussions of a conversation, that at least in the U.S. media, excludes their voices.

Kokino, a Havana born rapper, spoke with us recently to share his perspective on legal travel to Cuba and the motivation behind the freestyle rap he released in response to both Jay-Z and Pitbull’s versions of “Open Letter,” the raps that addressed criticisms of the trip shortly afterwards.

Kokino, part of the Cuban rap duo Anonimo Consejo, has been an integral part of the underground rap scene in Havana and is a founding member of the Cuban Rap Agency. The duo is widely respected for their explosive power and socially minded lyrics. Kokino now lives in the United States and recently released a solo album, “El Akokan.” In a recent stop in Oakland, CA, Kokino explained the intent behind his rap and his take on the politics between the two countries.

(This interview was conducted in Spanish and translated into English by the author.)

R: What inspired you to write the response to Jay-Z and Pitbull’s version of “Open Letter?”

Kokino: Well first of all I’m a big fan of Jay-Z. I didn’t write the song to defend him though, he’s so big he doesn’t need anyone to defend him. (I’m responding to) The politics, they’re s**t. Politicians on both sides are making a lot of money, they live well, but everyone else… This is a game between two countries.

R: Why did you target Pitbull?

K: I don’t have anything against Pitbull personally. But I wanted to ask him, if you identify as a Cuban, why haven’t you done anything for Cubans? “Cuba” is a word that sells, internationally. But if Pitbull wanted to help Cuba, why doesn’t he give ten thousand dollars to the Cuban rap agency to support us, for instance? So to Pitbull I say, really help me if you’re my brother. But what rappers do is they talk about an issue that sells, and Cuba sells. That’s what bothered me about what Pitbull said.

R: Can you tell me more about these different versions of Cuba?

Cuban Rap Duo Anonimo Consejo. Photo credit Havana Cultura.

Cuban Rap Duo Anonimo Consejo. Photo credit Havana Cultura.

K: When I first came to the United States I met an aunt in Miami who had left Cuba in the Mariel times. I had never met her before, and she came to get me at the airport. It was a very nice experience, that’s when I learned that blood is thicker than water. But you know, she had this idea of what Cuba was like that she got from Miami and mainstream media. I had to be like, “Tia, you can’t listen to this stuff anymore, nobody is dying of hunger (in Cuba).” Things are hard but you can hustle, you can do what it takes to survive. There’s really good things and really bad things in both countries. I want my song to reach people because I want them to see this reality. Those who talk about Cuba should be those who live there. It’s like I say in my song, “one has to be present/live where we live/be in the heat/with the electricity blackouts, with the pain.” Talking about bad stuff sells, but there’s good stuff too. For instance community. Here, why don’t neighbors know each other?

R: What is your stance on the embargo and the travel ban?

K: It’s a pile of crap. I have to be honest I’ve never really understood the travel ban well. And there’s even a limit on the amount of money (legal travelers) can spend everyday? Doesn’t make sense to me. People should be able to travel where they want. Nobody else cares about traveling to Cuba except for them (Miami legislators.) Like I said it’s like a game between these two countries, and it’s the people who end up paying.

R: What is the ultimate message you are trying to get across with your song?

K: Again, it’s that I want people to talk about reality, what people really live through. As a rapper I choose to speak to my personal experiences, not just sell an image. And the U.S. government- that is what they have done, they have sold an image of Cuba.

Thanks to Kokino for sharing your thoughts with us!

Take Action!

Take-ActionHelp us tell Beyonce, Jay-Z, and others with influence to join us, the people, in asking President Obama to end the embargo, lift the travel ban, and get Cuba off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Share this post widely in your community by email, Facebook, and Twitter.

Photo shared under Creative Commons license.

Photo shared under Creative Commons license.

If you have been following the news lately you’ve seen that musicians Beyonce and Jay-Z created a media storm by recently participating in a People-to-People cultural exchange in Cuba. The couple has faced criticism from Miami lawmakers who first questioned the legality of the trip, and then after confirming the legal status of the exchange have continued to criticize the nature and “validity” of People-to-People programs in general.

It’s time for us, the people, to say “No More!” to media distortion and lies about Cuba, and to continue demanding saner U.S. policy towards the island. We can’t allow a vocal minority of congress people to continue to sway the national dialogue about Cuba–they harbor hardline views that are not shared by the majority of their fellow Cuban Americans or Americans of any background.

So join us in first thanking Beyonce and Jay-Z for engaging with Cuba and its peoples, and help us urge them to tell President Obama to:

Together we can work to end outdated tactics to create more sane and just policy.

Take Action!Take-Action