An American In Cuba
by Melissa Palfreyman – Patagonia New Haven
Can an American even travel to Cuba?
When my husband, John, first suggested going to Cuba for summer break I was a little bit hesitant. I didn’t know much about the country and although John speaks fluent Spanish, I lack the necessary skills to communicate effectively. Besides, were we even allowed to travel there?
The United States’ relationship with Cuba has been complicated since 1898 when Spain ceded Cuba to the US during the Spanish American War. Fidel Castro’s nationalization of American businesses operating in Cuba without compensation in 1960 exacerbated already strained relations. This action prompted the United States to cut off diplomatic ties with Havana and impose a trade embargo on the country two years later.
The embargo fluctuated over the next fifty years and in 2014 President Obama pulled back regulations and made it legal for Americans to travel to Cuba independently. Since Trump’s presidency however, travel has tightened again; Americans are allowed to visit the country not as “tourists” but “for the support of the Cuban people.”