In the five years since my first visit to Cuba with a People-to-People group, a lot has changed.
Five years ago, I was invited by a religious organization to experience a culture that was locked into time. I was only able to see certain things and visit certain places. Once home, I wrote a letter to the Sun Herald indicating that everyone interested in the Cuban spirit needed to visit Cuba. Now that is happening. This year, more than 3 million Americans have visited the main island.
This past month, I joined another People-to-People tour group to see and do things that were restricted during my prior visit. Not only are the Cubans now able to gain access to the internet, but they can also become entrepreneurs in their own businesses. Now Cubans enjoy sharing their own salsa music and dance.
Americans will be allowed to run in the Havana Marathon on Nov. 20. We can attend the Havana Jazz Festival on Dec. 15-18. And if you didn’t get your fix of American classic cars during Cruisin’ The Coast, note that there are more than 60,000 American classic cars still rolling the 780 miles of Cuban roads.
Starting Dec. 1, there will be 120 weekly flights to the island from various U.S. cities — thus more Americans will be able to enjoy exploring a new frontier of sorts. Or catch a cruise to the island from Florida. Things are changing in a good way for all involved to experience the Cuban spirit.