"Next Year in Cuba" has finally come true

Posted: 29-Dec-15 12:48

For many years Cuban Americans have been saying, "Next Year in Cuba" at their family gatherings. Now the wistful toast will finally become reality thanks to an easing of travel restrictions between the USA and Cuba under president Obama.

"Next Year in Cuba" has finally come true

For the last 55 years, when Cuban-American exiles have gathered together for celebrations such as New Year and Christmas they have made a toast: "El ano que viene estamos en Cuba." It translates to "Next Year in Cuba" and it is a testament to the optimism that the trade and travel restrictions between the USA and Cuba would eventually be eased.

This annual toast used to have a wistful meaning, somewhat like a prayer, and after a few decades it became clear that the wish wasn't coming true any time soon. However, 55 years later, the wish expressed in the toast is finally coming true.

There have been a lot of changes in the relationship between the two nations of the USA and Cuba in the last few months. The USA has removed Cuba from a list of states that sponsor terrorism, and the USA and Cuba have exchanged several high profile prisoners – including the Cuban Five, US Citizen Alan Gross and double agent Rolando Sarraff Trujillo.

There has been a US embassy opened in Havana and a Cuban embassy opened in Washington. Also, US Secretary of State John Kerry has visited Cuba and President Obama has said that he would be interested in landing on the island, too.

Finally, over the past year, Cuban immigration has doubled and Cubans fleeing the island have started to arrive over the Mexican border – rather than braving the dangerous Florida Straits.

Along with this long list of developments, another one is going to be added soon – the USA and Cuba have agreed that they will be restoring commercial air service. This change will take at least 60 days to implement and airlines will have to ensure that their proposed routes are approved, so it will not happen immediately. However, this is a monumental change that will make a big difference in general tourism.

Now many original Cuban exiles and their family and children and even their grandchildren will be able to make the toast "Next Year in Cuba" and, for the first time in many decades, and actually mean it!


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