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Vamos a Cuba?

I’d like to write a short front of the book piece about the pros and cons of an American visiting Cuba. Since this would be a speculative story, it would not entail actually traveling to the country but rather just exploring the possible decision to embark on such a trip. I would first begin with a brisk history of the bilateral relationship between the two countries to provide context and then dive into a back-and-forth on the arguments for and against.

Proponents assert that the tourism boosts the local economy, encourages meaningful cultural exchange, and bolsters a weak relationship between the two countries, all the while increasing the chances that the Cuban government pivots from an authoritarian communist one to a more open and democratic alternative. Opponents cite the Cuban regime as one of many reasons that such a trip would be misguided.  In addition, they say that the oh’ing and ah’ing of foreigners at the gentrified areas of Havana does nothing to help the plight of many throughout the country.

In addition to these arguments, I would include statistics and figures about the Cuban economy, standard of living, and American tourism to provide an authoritative and neutral overview of the country’s economic situation, in addition to the previously mentioned political and historical section.

I know a student that studied at the University of Havana, so she could be the perfect target for this exercise because she has experienced both sides of the coin; she is an American, but she was living in Cuba long enough (a full semester) to see all aspects of life there. Thus, I think she would be able to provide an informed and well-meditated perspective on both sides of the debate.

This is a lively, passionate, and relevant debate in the U.S., especially as we transition from the Obama administration – which presided over the warming of relations with Cuba – to Trump – who has said he would roll back contact with the Caribbean country. The story could run in March or April, when people would be considering a vacation to the Caribbean, or sooner, if Trump announced any actions or policies relevant to Cuba. The ideal magazine for this piece would be Afar, Travel + Leisure, or National Geographic.

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