People-to-People charade very quietly smothered by Washington bureaucracy
Whoa. %$#@!^! Great news! It seems that the People-to-People tourist junkets to Castrolandia are in deep trouble. The application process has suddenly become much more complex, and the licensing of these shameful tours seems to be in limbo. Read all about it here. But why hasn't this story received more attention?
As you read, you will notice that the author of this piece, Ellen Craeger, thinks that this turn of events is awful, and that she really believes that tourists were having "meaningful" exchanges with the slaves on the Castro plantation. She also tries to pin the blame for this refreshing turn of events on " undue influence from the small but mighty faction of anti-Cuba types in congress." Yes, brothers and sisters, those of us who long for a free Cuba are referred to as "anti-Cuba." This racist neocolonialist oaf who bemoans the closing of the gates to Dr. Castro's human zoo obviously needs to hear from someone other than the Castroite tourist agents that she has been dealing with. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-222-6498.
Is the door slamming shut for travel from U.S. to Cuba?
by Ellen Creager, Detroit Free Press Travel Editor
Why it is happening, nobody is sure. But the Cuba "People to People" travel program touted so highly by President Obama in 2011 is coming to a screeching halt, drowning in paperwork and non-renewed licenses for travel organizations.
Almost no organizations that got licenses from the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) last year to sponsor trips to Cuba have received renewals. Trips that were advertised have been scrapped. Organizations are left to wait without any updates or information.
“We work with about 30 different non-profit organizations that have programs to Cuba in next 12 months, and 100% of them have not received renewals of licenses,” said Jim Friedlander, president of Academic Arrangements Abroad in New York, a travel service provider, late Tuesday.
He said that the practical effect of OFAC’s lack of activity is that it disrupts the entire People to People program.
To me, this is contrary to the whole purpose of the president's 2011 loosening of travel for Americans to Cuba.
Because of the outdated U.S. embargo against Cuba that makes it illegal for Americans to travel there, most Americans have never been to Cuba unless on a family or religious visa. The People to People cultural travel program finally allowed thousands of regular travelers to visit last year and early this year, interacting with Cubans in a meaningful way.
But in May, the OFAC application for a license to operate trips to Cuba under People to People grew from 6 pages to essentially hundreds of pages. Organizations seeking renewal had to document every minute of every day for every single trip they had done in the past year to prove that they were doing “People to People” activities and not tourism.
Continue reading here. There are plenty of Castroite nuggets to find in the rest of this piece.