FILE – December, 2002
1. Wide shot first boat arriving with U.S. food since embargo
FILE – September, 2002
2. Cuban president Fidel Castro signing agreement
3. Zoom out Castro and U.S. cattle ranchers at Havana Food Fair
FILE – April 2002
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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