Members of League of Women Voters visit Cuba through people to people programme

Posted: 05-Jan-16 17:07

Two members of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri have recently visited Cuba on a "Sisters Across the Straits" tour. The trip was sponsored by League of Women Voters of Florida and enabled the women to meet local Cubans, learn about the country's culture and learn about the Cubans' views of the United States following the recent changes to the decades-long travel and trade embargo.

Members of League of Women Voters visit Cuba through people to people programme

Two members of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri recently took advantage of the new relations between Cuba and the United States, by visiting the Caribbean island.

Ann Elwell and Kay Murnan travelled to Cuba on the "Sisters Across the Straits" tour, which was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Florida.

Using a people-to-people license with the U.S State Department, the League of Women Voters of Florida took delegations of members to Cuba to meet with local citizens, speak to local people, and better understand the lives of Cubans.

The people to people programme enabled the two women to enjoy cultural experiences, explore the country, and meet directly with the Cuban people during their visit.

Speaking on a U.S radio show, they talked about their experience.

"Both of us were looking for a trip that wasn't a typical tourist trip, said Ann. "We went to some places that the ordinary tourists wouldn't go to. We were lucky enough to visit a United Nations affiliate that was focused on women and women's issues. We went to an art collective that was actually founded years ago by Che Guevara. We also went to the Bay of Pigs and the Bay of Pigs Museum, and we had a government travel guide who gave us a lot of background information."

When asked what they thought the Cuban's view of the Americans was, Ann replied:

"What I felt was that they are very excited by the changes, and for the most part it seems as though the Cuban people are ready for a change and are thinking that the revolution is way in the past and now it's time to move on.

"I detected a lot of caution as well and they're not ready to jump into another world. They're very proud of their Cuban culture and they want to proceed cautiously moving forward."

U.S President Barack Obama made an announcement in December 2015 that the two countries would begin resuming relations, following a decades-long travel and trade embargo.

In 1961, the United States cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba following Fidel Castro's revolution. The years that followed saw an economic embargo imposed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Embassies opened in Washington and Havana in July last year, following more than five decades of hostilities between the two countries.

U.S travellers can visit the Caribbean island through people to people programmes and tours within 12 categories, such as education, culture, and religion that have been organised by licensed U.S tour operators.

Last month, the United States and Cuba reached a decisions to reinstate scheduled commercial flights between the two countries, which could see U.S airlines flying to the island within the next few months.

Cuba is a tropical island nation situated in the Caribbean Sea, south of the United States. The country is home to popular tourist destinations such as the historic capital city, Havana; the breathtaking Jardines del Rey archipelago which boasts virgin cays, azure ocean waters and thriving coral reefs; the Spanish Colonial city of Trinidad; and the beach resort of Varadero with 21 kilometres of coastline and white sandy beaches.


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