What Americans Get Wrong About Cuba

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You may think you know Cuba, but that knowledge is probably outdated or wrong. Since the collapse of the soviet union and Fidel Castro’s transfer of power to Raul, things have changed.


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What is Life Really Like In Cuba


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Fidel Castro Documentary | Great Cuban Leader | Cuba-US Relations | english subtitles

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Fidel Castro Documentary | Great Cuban Leader | Cuba-US Relations | english subtitles

In 1959, Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba. He has been one of the most controversial figures in the world ever since. The Fidel Castro Tapes chronicles the Cuban leader’s ability to maintain control through ongoing tumult in his country, and in his dealings with the United States and the rest of the world. The Fidel Castro Tapes is a story told without interviews. Instead the program relies on media reports, rare images and recordings to document Castro’s turbulent leadership. In addition to material obtained through traditional media sources, this program includes footage obtained from the Cuban Archives, which helps glimpse the life and times of Castro from inside his country. By using an “in the moment” style of storytelling, The Fidel Castro Tapes gives viewers a sense of being there during the most important times in Castro’s career.
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Cuban Americans

He’s a Scottish-born British chef and restaurateur.

His restaurants have been awarded 16 Michelin stars in total and currently hold 14.

He’s known for presenting TV programmes about competitive cookery and food.

He’s Gordon Ramsay and here are his Top 10 Rules for Success.

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1. Go and get knowledge
Ramsay has described his early life as “hopelessly itinerant”; his family moved constantly due to the aspirations and failures of his father.

2. Delegate
At the age of 16, Ramsay moved out of the family house into a flat in Banbury.

3. The customer is king
Ramsay played football and was first chosen to play under-14 football at age 12. His football career was marked by injuries.

4. Establish confidence in yourself
Rather than be known as the football player with the gammy knee, at age 19, he paid more serious attention to his culinary education.

5. Engage with your customers
He worked as a commis chef at the Wroxton House Hotel then ran the kitchen and 60-seat dining room at the Wickham Arms.

6. Never give up
He was later inspired to work for the temperamental Marco Pierre White at Harvey’s.

7. Follow your ambitions
After working at Harveys for two years and ten months, he decided that the way to further advance his career was to study French cuisine.

8. Have passion
Upon his return to London in 1993, Ramsay was offered the position of head chef at the Three Michelin starred La Tante Claire in Chelsea.

9. Don’t shoot too high
In 1998, Ramsay opened his own restaurant in Chelsea, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

10. Have some funIn January 2013, Ramsay was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame.


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Prospect of more Americans travelling to Cuba

Havana, Cuba – 16 January 2015
1. Vintage cars lined up on street
2. Mid of driver cleaning vintage car used as a taxi and parked outside Capitol building in Havana
3. Cuban flag on car antenna, traffic and people on streets
4. Pull focus from ornament on vintage car to Cuban flag
5. New York tourist Roy Smith talking to taxi drivers
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Roy Smith, tourist from New York:
“December 17 (referring to the date when the US/Cuba deal was announced) was very sudden, unexpected (referring to the announcement of the improved diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US) now we are here, so it’s moving and it’s moving fast, so (is Cuba) prepared? Yes. Prepared? No. Somewhere in the middle.”
7. Street seen from side of moving vintage car
8. Tourist seen reflected in mirror of vintage car
9. Tourists riding back of vintage car during tour of Havana
10. Driver seen reflected in mirror while driving
Havana, Cuba – 15 January 2015
11. Customers and waiters inside cafe in Havana
12. Customers sitting at table
13. Customers sitting outside cafe
14. Close of sign reading: (Spanish) “Old Square Bohemia Cafe”
15. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Annalisa Gallina, Cafe owner:
“Cuba is ready for the change, that is true, but Cuba is not ready for tourism. Many times customer services is still lacking. Work is still done, even in private business, in a bureaucratic style, and that is terrible.”
16. Workers inside cafe
17. Wide view of Havana
Miami, Florida, USA – 16 January 2015
18. Wide exteriors of Miami International Airport
19. Various of travellers inside Miami International airport waiting in line to check for Cuba flight
20. Close of sign that reads (English) “Let’s travel to Cuba.”
21. Travellers with luggage waiting in line near a sign that reads (English) “Havana Air. Licence Cuba Charter Services. Check In.”
22. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) William Cedeno, traveller:
“I believe that the measures are extremely good for people who have family (in Cuba) like me. Anything that can be done to achieve approaches between the two peoples, that will be crucial. The most important (thing) is that people who live there (in Cuba) are doing better and that we can help them more with trips (to the island), more money and with all the good things that will now emerge (from the US/Cuba deal).”
23. Traveller to Cuba moving toward airline counter for check-in
24. Traveller being checked in at airline counter
25. Airline employee processing passenger information
26. Various of travelers going to Cuba waiting in line for flight check-in
27. Various of airport employee securing luggage with plastic wrapping
The Obama administration, following through on its declaration of warming ties with Cuba, eased travel restrictions and opened a wide range of new export opportunities with the communist island on Friday.
Less than a month after the Cold War foes agreed to end their enmity, the US Commerce and Treasury departments unveiled new rules Thursday permitting US citizens to visit Cuba without special permits.
While most people welcome the new regulations, some worry the small island is ill-prepared to handle the new influx of American visitors.
New York tourist Roy Smith says Cuba is neither ready nor ill prepared, “but somewhere in the middle.”
“December 17 was very sudden, unexpected, now we are here, so it’s moving and it’s moving fast,” said Smith referring to the date that Obama and Cuba President Raul Castro announced plans to re-establish diplomatic relations.
Visits from US tourists are expected to surge this year from about 90-thousand annually.
So the tourism surge could be challenging.
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New ties allow Cuban Americans to more easily send funds to relatives

President Obama’s move to restore relations with Cuba would allow Cubans living in the U.S. to more easily send money to relatives and friends on the island. CCTV America’s Nitza Soledad Perez reported this story from Miami.
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Are Americans Ready to Cruise to Cuba?

Carnival cruise line announces that next May, their Fathom line will begin cruising to Cuba. The Fathom line is based on the idea of “traveling with purpose.” Fathom passengers are taken on a seven-day impact journey, where they’ll “be focused on building a community with fellow travelers, as they participate in on-board activities designed specifically to prepare them for their on-ground impact experience.”

Fathom Website:

Find out if you can travel to Cuba:

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Cuba Trade and Travel Rules Relax To Americans | NBC Nightly News

The Obama administration announced new travel and trade rules between the U.S. and Cuba, the first major step toward normalizing relations.
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Cuba Trade and Travel Rules Relax To Americans | NBC Nightly News
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Cuba for Americans Documentary – USA next travel destination – Movie of a Cuban holiday

Cuba for Americans Documentary – USA next travel destination – Movie of a Cuban holiday

Times are changing fast and an ease in the tension between USA and Cuba means Cuba is more and more a tourism destination for Americans. This movies shows glimpses of Cuba you don’t see in the fancy enclave resorts shielded from the rest of the Cuban society.
Besides Havana and other tourist attractions scuba diving in Cuba is something special. You can see in the film why.
Cuba is an island country in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba comprises the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud and several archipelagos. Havana is the capital of Cuba and its largest city. The second-largest city is Santiago de Cuba.To the north of Cuba lies the United States (150 km or 93 mi away), the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are to the northeast, Mexico is to the west (210 km or 130 mi away), the Cayman Islands and Jamaica are to the south and Haiti and the Dominican Republic are to the southeast.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean, and with over 11 million inhabitants, is the second-most populous after Hispaniola, albeit with a much lower population density than most nations in the region. It is a multiethnic country whose people, culture and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves, a close relationship with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and proximity to the United States.

Tourism in Cuba was initially restricted to enclave resorts where tourists would be segregated from Cuban society, referred to as “enclave tourism” and “tourism apartheid”. Contacts between foreign visitors and ordinary Cubans were de facto illegal between 1992 and 1997. The rapid growth of tourism during the Special Period had widespread social and economic repercussions in Cuba, and led to speculation about the emergence of a two-tier economy.

Cuba has tripled its market share of Caribbean tourism in the last decade;as a result of significant investment in tourism infrastructure, this growth rate is predicted to continue.1.9 million tourists visited Cuba in 2003, predominantly from Canada and the European Union, generating revenue of .1 billion. Cuba recorded 2,688,000 international tourists in 2011, the third-highest figure in the Caribbean (behind the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico).

The Medical tourism sector caters to thousands of European, Latin American, Canadian, and American consumers every year.

Allegations of widespread sex tourism are downplayed by the Cuban Justice minister. According to a Government of Canada travel advice website, “Cuba is actively working to prevent child sex tourism, and a number of tourists, including Canadians, have been convicted of offences related to the corruption of minors aged 16 and under. Prison sentences range from 7 to 25 years.”

The once tense relations between the USA and Cuba shows rapid signs of improvement.
As of December, 2014, talks with Cuban officials and American officials including President Barack Obama have resulted in the exchange of releasing Alan Gross, fifty two political prisoners, and an unnamed non-citizen agent of the United States in return for the release of three Cuban agents currently imprisoned in the United States. Additionally while the embargo between the United States and Cuba will not be lifted it will be relaxed to allow import, export, and certain commerce within a limit between the two.

In 2008, the EU and Cuba agreed to resume full relations and cooperation activities. United States President Barack Obama stated on April 17, 2009, in Trinidad and Tobago that “the United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba”, and reversed the Bush Administration’s prohibition on travel and remittances by Cuban-Americans from the United States to Cuba.

On December 17, 2014, an agreement between the United States and Cuba, brokered in part by Pope Francis, began the process of restoring international relations between Cuba and the United States. Cuba agreed to release political prisoners and the United States began the process of creating an embassy in Havana

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Major media attention has been given to Cuba’s version of Hip Hop culture-a culture originally developed in the Bronx, New York in the late 1970’s as a vehicle of expression for disenfranchised youth. Serving the same purpose within the socialist Cuban society, Cuban Hip Hop is both defying numerous misconceptions anti-Castro propaganda has lead foreigners to believe about censorship in Cuba (via its highly critical lyrics), and also reaffirming certain limitations the Cuban society faces under Castro’s regime (i.e. the lack of commercial success for artists). International attention to Cuban Hip Hop grew after the first annual Cuban Rap Festival, held in 1995, however this film indicates that the foundation for the growth of Hip Hop in Cuba was set in the 1970’s, contemporaneously with the US. Based on first-hand investigation carried out over the course of four years, including observation of and participation in Cuban Hip Hop concerts and colloquiums at the eighth annual Cuban Hip Hop Festival in Havana, and interviewing the most influential Cuban Hip Hop artists and producers, this documentary traces Cuban Hip Hop step by step in a way that has yet to be formally recorded or published.
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Less Americans can travel to Cuba as US restricts travel permits

Less Americans can travel to Cuba as US restricts travel permits

FILE – December, 2002
Havana, Cuba
1. Wide shot first boat arriving with U.S. food since embargo

FILE – September, 2002
Havana, Cuba
2. Cuban president Fidel Castro signing agreement
3. Zoom out Castro and U.S. cattle ranchers at Havana Food Fair

FILE – April 2002
Havana, Cuba
4. Close up U.S. students arriving on “Semester at Sea”
5. Medium same

Havana, Cuba – 6 July 2003
6. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Javier Dominguez, Cuban Institute of Friendship:
“It’s the effort of many friends in the United States that observe that the future is not punishment. The future is not war. The future is one of contacts, of exchange because that is what makes our people understand each other much better and guarantee peace among our nations.”
7. Pan left inside moving tour bus with U.S. people-to-people license holders
8. Mid shot people-to-people tourists coming off bus
9. Pan left tourists walking in Old Havana
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Robert Crozier, Licensee tourist, Flagstaff, AZ:
“I think that it would be a shame for it to end and I also think that it probably won’t stay that way indefinitely. I feel that the United States and Cuba are going to one of these days get over their problem and start having much greater exchange.”
11. Mid shot U.S. tourists in Old Havana
12. Wide shot same
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Karla Dick, Licensee tourist, Ft. Worth, TX:
“I think it’s going to be horrible if we can’t come down here and visit. I mean, later on it’s only going to breed more ignorance and conflict and problems. People can come and visit and see the culture and see the people and I think it’s going to promote better relations down the road. Hopefully.”
14. Afro-Cuban band playing in street
15. Tourists watching
16. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Amada Izquierdo, Cuban singer:
“Politics is one thing and cultural interests are another. For me they are mixing too many things and getting deep into things they shouldn’t. That’s how I see it.”
17. Afro-Cuban band playing


Americans wishing to travel to Cuba are finding it more difficult to gain U.S. government permits to legally travel to the communist-run country.

The U.S. government is now only issuing Cuba travel permits to American citizens traveling there for academic course work and educational reasons.

The new tighter regulations took effect March 24. They still allow legal travel to Cuba by Americans who visit as scholars, religious or humanitarian workers, or full-time journalists on assignment.

Midwestern twangs, southern drawls and other American accents have increasingly stood out in recent years amid the throbbing salsa music on the cobblestone streets of Old Havana.

But the sound of American English in Cuba is expected to fade later this year as the previously issued U.S. permits – that once let tens of thousands of ordinary U.S. citizens into the country – begin drying up.

Those old permits – known as people-to-people educational exchanges – were granted to trips that were ostensibly sponsored by U.S.-based alumni groups, bird-watching clubs, museums and other organisations.

They allowed tens of thousands of Americans to visit the Caribbean nation – which lies just 90 miles (140 kilometres)south of U.S. shores – without fear of being fined by their government.

When then-U.S. President Bill Clinton announced the expanded people-to-people exchanges in January 1999, he said he hoped increased contacts between ordinary Americans and Cubans would “demonstrate the United States’ compassion for the Cuban people.”

But Treasury enforcement officials say the policy was abused by groups and individuals who organised tourism packages masquerading as study tours.

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Look: Cuba on the horizon! Just 90 miles away, but so far away for last 50 years. Several small sailboats raced from Key West, Florida early Saturday (May 16) for Havana in the first government sanctioned United States to Cuba boat race in more than 50 years.

George Bellenger, race organizer and racer told reporters before leaving:

“The special part about our event today is that we have all the permits that make it legal for us to go so we’re going to be setting a precedent today for others to follow”.

“Key West is unique in it’s location to Havana, we’re closer to Havana than Miami and living and growing up in Key West you just looked in that direction and it was a challenge that I couldn’t resist so put the sails up and sail down to Havana,” Bellenger added.

Relations between the U.S. and Cuba have thawed since the Dec 17. announcement of efforts by the two countries’ presidents to restore diplomatic ties after more than 50 years of hostility.

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Survey: Few Americans booking new Cuba cruises

Survey: Few Americans booking new Cuba cruises
The survey of 1,034 travel agents who book cruises by Travel Leaders Group found that just 2.9% have taken a booking for one of the recently announced Cuba voyages. Still, nearly 42% of travel agents queried said they've had a customer express interest …
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Miami archbishop says pope's visit will help bring Cubans together
Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who will be leading his third pilgrimage to Cuba for a papal visit this month, says it's no accident that Pope Francis chose to go to Cuba before a three-city visit to the United States. With the reestablishment of …
Read more on Miami Herald

What Americans should expect when traveling to Cuba
Independent travel is tough. While airlines and cruise lines have recently announced new service to Cuba, you still need to prove that you're going for a reason that falls under 12 categories; if you say, for instance, you're going for educational …
Read more on Fortune

Americans travel to Cuba to experience frozen-in-time culture

Travel agents and airlines, mostly based in Miami, are static with the announcements made by the Obama Administration allowing more Americans to travel to Cuba without a specific license from the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, a process that previously took months and a lot of paperwork. They expect to send many more US citizens to visit Cuba in the next few months.

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