A guy by the name of Addison Chan did a write-up suggesting how the new US administration's 2017 revisions to Cuba travel might actually be a good thing. His take was that the new rules, in effect, encouraged more meaningful exchanges by tightening up the reasons for going and by restricting business with certain establishments that were military-owned.
It's tough to stomach a government
anywhere telling their people where or where not they may travel, or how they can contribute once there. In this case, it's also painfully ironic. But I think these new regs actually serve as a decent roadmap for how to go to Cuba (gasp) AND also help the people.
Many boats bring supplies. In our case, we solicited donations from friends and family
. While we were there we spent money
at private casa particulares, and ate at private paladars. We handed out eyeglasses to grandparents in Havana. We had boxes of basic children's medications. We gave masks and snorkels to fishermen; some of the fishermen would swim to outlying reefs
and spend an entire day spearfishing without mask or flippers, trailing a line of bloody fish
. We traded with other fishermen in remote
outposts for items that brought big smiles to their faces. We went to a small family
farm in the countryside for a few days to work
and talk organic farming with them. We bought food
from neighborhood farmers markets that are beginning to sprout up in the small towns around Marina Hemingway.
It was also a great way to break up an otherwise difficult passage
. We were leaving in Dec/Jan for the Western Caribbean
from FL, and the prospect of a 4 day passage
that time of year didnt' seem like much fun. This broke it up into two overnights.
So don't perish the thought of going to Cuba. Don't wait for governments to solve the problem. Go see it for yourself. With a boat
you've got an sure chance to help at least a handful of Cubans along the way. They need it. And you'll probably emerge with an increased willingness to continue propping up this wobbly horse we call western democracy.