Walkabout VII: Cuba Libre
December 23-31, 2017
So close, but yet so far. Despite some tiny warming of relations under President Obama, the Trump Administration again made it illegal for regular Americans to visit Cuba unless they are on an organized 'people to people' tour. Determined to cross this one off my bucket list, I went with Intrepid Travel's 9-day 'Hola Cuba' tour, specifically designed to cross the t's and dot the i's of America's legal requirements. Those requirements left precious little time for private exploration, but did allow for an in-depth look at this fascinating island nation that has dealt with its share of historical pain, from Western imperialism and slavery to a Communist dictatorship and extreme poverty. Despite all of this, I found the Cuban people to be warm and exuberant, from the Latin music echoing in the streets to the slap of dominos on public park benches. Propaganda, rum, cigars, and communism. You might leave wondering whether this nation's woes are the Castros' fault... or America's. The truth, as usual, probably lies somewhere in between.