Community Conversations

Is a trip to Cuba in your future?

By Stefania Ferro

sferro@miamiherald.com

While the U.S. works to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, Americans are still not allowed to travel to the island for tourism.
While the U.S. works to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, Americans are still not allowed to travel to the island for tourism. MCT

We asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: Is a trip to Cuba in your future? Thanks for all of your responses. Below are a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network at MiamiHerald.com/insight, and check back next week for another conversation.

“I was born in Cuba and arrived in the United States in 1966. This country welcomed us with open arms and I have achieved the American dream. Why would I want to visit a country that has no human rights, stole billions of dollars from American investors and continues to abuse its citizens who do not even have the right to vote? Cuban people cannot even visit the beaches that tourists can go to.”

Teresita Verdaguer, Miami

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“I want to see what the island is really like before all the large American companies invade and take over. I want to see it before all the older cars are replaced and before there is a McDonald’s and Starbucks on every corner. I am planning on going there in November to run the Marathon in Havana. We will probably stay for about a week to be able to take in Havana & the rest of the country.”

Micah Gill, Miami

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“I have been to almost all of Cuba many times but I have not been back since 2001. I would not go right away, because there have not been many changes yet. I have been punished by the U.S. government, in the form of not giving me a global entry, which I feel is petty and ridiculous. The politics in Miami are outdated.”

Brian Gerber, Miami

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“I would love to see Cuba which, politics aside, is a beautiful country and well worth seeing. I wish travel between our two countries could be totally normalized with no restrictions and with the cost to travel to Cuba not priced way above normal travel prices as it is now.”

Steven Redlich, Miami

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“Ideally, my trip to Cuba would be to celebrate the inauguration of a democratically elected president. For anyone to travel to Cuba under the current dictatorship is to spit on the graves of the many who have perished on the island and in the ocean seeking their basic human rights, as well as the 250,000 men and women who have been unjustly jailed for fighting for a democratic ideology.”

Elizabeth Gonzalez, Miami

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“Been there. It’s depressing to see how a couple of generations have been destroyed, abused, enslaved and controlled. I never feel truly safe and constantly spied on and questioned. Military people everywhere now dressed in blue police uniforms, or undercover, to ease tensions with tourists who don’t appreciate seeing military with machine guns. There is no freedom to speak your mind and the fact is, nothing has changed since January. It’s all a big lie.”

Fred Kohly, Miami

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“I have family on the island that I’ve never met. I have stories from my mother about beauty I thought I’d never live to see. I want to see the streets my abuelo played in, and the land my abuela spoke so fondly of. I am no fan of the Castro regime, but he obviously wasn’t suffering from the years of isolation. Maybe we can help the people suffer a little less with more tourism, money, influence.”

Noah Waller, Miami

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“I study rum. I write about rum. I research how rum is made. In the past, I have not been able to easily visit Cuba, an important region for the study of rum. I look forward to visiting the distilleries and learning all I can about Cuban rum in the near future.”

Robert Burr, Homestead

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“I have been blogging and commenting about Cuba for more than 10 years now. My parents are both from Cuba and have never been back. I’m 45 years old and my fondest wish is to visit Cuba, but not under present circumstances. It just doesn’t make sense to aid the regime by providing it with cash. The morbid curiosity of many would-be tourists disgusts me.”

Henry Gomez, Miami

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“Traveling to Cuba is a way of helping Cuban Government with the money we will spend there.”

Jose Acosta, Homestead

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