I understand that the term “people-to-people contacts” used to describe American tourists vacationing in Cuba is a catchy and feel-good phrase, but it really is a misnomer. For the American tourists visiting Cuba under the Obama administration’s newly relaxed restrictions on Cuba travel it is really “people-to-dictatorship contacts.” Every single American tourist arriving in Cuba begins and ends their vacation escorted by and under the watchful eye of the Castro dictatorship. The only “people-to-people” contact they have is with agents of the regime and Cubans carefully chosen by the Castro government. Some may want to label my characterization as cynical, but facts are facts, especially when they come from the proverbial horse’s mouth.
From the Des Moines Register, Carol Brannon gushing about her “people-to-dictatorship” contact during her recent vacation in Cuba:
Our dream to travel in Cuba came true in November. An adult Road Scholar People to People Program, “Cuba Today: People and Society,” made it possible.
We spent four days in Havana after an hour’s chartered flight from the Miami Airport. We stayed at the historical Hotel Nacional. We spent another four days in Cienfuegos on the southern coast. The weather was always sunny and about 85 degrees.
Our trip consisted of coach excursions, speakers and cultural performances, assisted by the Cuban government Tourism Bureau.