End the Travel Ban on Cuba

Cuba Summer Reading: Cuba 54, Everything About Cuba and More

Did you know...


1. "When Cubans are waiting to enter a public facility and you arrive, you must determine who the last person is before you to arrive was and then you are now the last one – they do not form lines?"

2. "Cuba has good drinking water, and daily fresh baked bread in every corner of the street?"

3. "Pedestrians do NOT have the right-of-way in Cuba. Cars, trucks, and buses will bear down on you with the horn blaring?"

Through these and other insights, author Paul LeBon aims to give the readers of his newly published book "Cuba 54" a background on Cuba useful for any visit to the island. While the book would be a valuable addition to any traveler to Cuba's reading list with these tidbits alone, what makes "Cuba 54" great is its desire to dig deeper. In fact, LeBon taps into his real life experiences and interaction with individuals across Cuba to find out "...why the whole Cuba debacle manifested itself, why things are the way they are, and how much better things could be." This mini-encyclopedia on modern Cuba covers three main topics critical to understanding the country today: a general introduction to Cuban culture, the "Miami Cartel" and their operations in the United States, and what lies ahead for Cuba's future.

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Defend Travel Today: Don't Let Beyonce and Jay-Z's Trip to Cuba Be the Last!

jay_z_beyonce_cubaThe House Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Governmental passed the Fiscal Year 2014 Financial Services bill this past Wednesday. This bill often contains Cuba policy language, so it is one that we monitor quite closely.  Again, some members of the subcommittee have decided to use this bill to attempt to change current foreign policy towards Cuba. How? The legislation aims to eliminate educational exchanges that are not “for-credit” or pursuant of a degree.  This basically means the elimination of people-to-people travel, recently made famous by Beyonce and Jay-Z’s trip to Cuba last April.

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Contact Info for Senate Appropriations Committee

In your call to your Representative you can say: "I'd like to leave a message for [Name of Senator] regarding an upcoming Appropriations bill for 2014. A House Appropriations subcommittee passed a draft of the bill that includes language that would restrict travel to Cuba and eliminate people-to-people travel. I want to urge the Senator to make sure similar language does not appear in the Senate version of the Financial Services Appropriations bill."

Senate Appropriations Committee Members

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Contact Info for House Appropriations Committee

In your call to your Representative you can say: "I'd like to leave a message for [Name of your Representative] regarding the House Financial Services Appropriations bill for 2014. I do not support the language in the bill that would further restrict travel to Cuba and eliminate people-to-people travel. I would like the Representative to oppose this language when it comes to the full committee."

House Appropriations Committee Members

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Cuba: You Can't Take Someone Else's Word for It

Whenever I tell people I studied abroad in Cuba, I feel like the reactions can be categorized by two familiar emotions: curiosity and confusion. There are usually a lot of questions…How did I travel to a country that has been “off-limits” to U.S. citizens since 1961? What is it REALLY like? Did you see old American cars, smoke a cigar, and/or drink rum? From first glance, I also do not have any obvious connections to the island: I am a blonde haired, blue eyed girl from Wisconsin who did not meet anyone from Cuba until college and whose initial exposure to Latin America was through cheesy videos in middle school Spanish class...

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United States Efforts to Undermine Cuban Medical Aid Programs

When John Kirk and I were researching a book on Cuba's medical aid programs (Cuban Medical Internationalism:  Origins, Evolution. And Goals (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), a U.S. government operation called the Cuban Medical Professional Parole (CMPP) program was mentioned in several sources. We did not delve into this topic in any detail since it fell outside the scope of our main interest. Later, however, I decided to do so, gathering tidbits of information from widely scattered sources since no one in the academic world or in the mainstream media seemed to have paid much attention to it. I also interviewed congressional and State Department people. The result was a journal article, "Brain Drain Politics: The Cuban Medical Professional Parole Programme."

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Cuban-American Call to Action: Take Cuba off Terrorist List

Cuban_American_On June 12, sixty Cuban Americans delivered a letter to Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama denouncing the views of three Cuban-American members of Congress who encouraged Secretary Kerry, in a letter dated April 29th, to keep Cuba on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. The dissenting Cuban Americans maintain that the members of Congress wanting to continue punishing Cuba for something it is not, do not represent the majority view of Cuban Americans.

LAWGEF assisted in delivering the letter, and we have received requests from many Cuban Americans who did not have the opportunity to sign the original letter of protest, asking to add their name to the letter. We have now opened the letter to the public for additional signatures.

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