Op-Ed

Don’t do a Kardashian in Cuba — it’s not about you

Kim Kardashian takes a selfie while riding with husband Kanye West in a classic car in Havana last year.
Kim Kardashian takes a selfie while riding with husband Kanye West in a classic car in Havana last year. Associated Press

When Donald Trump becomes president on Friday, what we’ll be asking in South Florida is: Will he cancel normalized relations with Cuba? And will he still let Americans travel there?

But here’s another question: If Trump does allow Americans to visit Cuba, will they reconsider how they visit the island? Will they think about something Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco told me a couple years ago: “Here’s one of the worst things that you could ever say to a Cuban American: ‘I want to go to Cuba before it changes.’ That’s like saying, ‘I want to go to North Korea before it changes.’ 

That can be a tactless thing to say to Cubans in Cuba, too. It suggests you prefer to see Cuba locked in poverty and communism — just so you can take a cool trip back to the tropical 1950s.

Almost 615,000 Americans visited Cuba last year — up 34 percent from the year before. By law they still have to register under one of a dozen non-tourist categories, like cultural exchange.

But increasingly, yanquis are going for rum, cigars and taking selfies in front of vintage Chevrolets.

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