Young Cuban-Americans travellers are looking at Cuba with different eyes

Posted: 25-Jul-16 19:13

A huge interest in visiting the Caribbean island has been expressed by a new generation of Cuban-Americans after the reestablishment of diplomatic ties between Cuba and the United States in 2016. Youngsters are eager get to know their grandparents' land in depth, but instead of opting for the typical tourist holiday, they are trying to discover how Cubans live their everyday lives.

Young Cuban-Americans travellers are looking at Cuba with different eyes

Young Cuban-Americans in the United States are eyeing Cuba as one of the most desirable destinations for their holidays, now that a process of negotiations for the re-establishment of normal relations between the White House and the island´s government has shown incredible progress since it kicked off in 2015.

A considerable chunk of the migrant-descendant population in the northern neighbour has Cuban roots (3.7% of the 55 million of latinos living there), and this new climate of rapprochment is regarded as an opportunity for getting in touch with the island’s cultural, political and historic legacy.

A recent report by AP describes emotional scenes of young people meeting Cuban family members for the first time, a reason explaining why these kind of travellers prefer to live like them during their time in Cuba and do the things their Cuban family or friends normally do instead of staying at hotels and treading the typical tourist routes.

Many youngsters in the U.S. have grown up listening to stories of hatred and pain by family members who abandoned the island right after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, running away from the communist rule. But as they venture into the country on their own and experience it for themselves, they come to discover a more nuanced scenario. Miranda Hernández, 25,says in the article published by Associated Press:

“A lot of people perceive Cuba as a terrible place where people aren’t happy, but that’s not the case.”

Yet, there are many restrictions for Americans wanting to go to Cuba as tourists, and that´s why a myriad of cultural, educational, professional and religious projects have flourished in the U.S. in order to provide its citizens with alternatives for visiting the island.
Hernandez went to the island through CubaOne, an organisation that sends groups of young Cuban-Americans to the island with the contribution of hotel companies, airlines and other businesses. The programme has brought artists, writers, students and entrepreneurs to Cuba, all of whom are interested in engaging with the locals.

This alternative form of exchange and reconciliation provides, as Hernandez says in the article, a three-dimensional picture of the country she had only heard one side of.


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