As always, there’s a lot happening in Cuba and with Cuba. Incredible culture, the talented and innovative Cuban people, and the complicated history and politics keep the beautiful country in the hearts and minds of many and front and center of the news. Cuba Educational Travel has the privilege of remaining at the forefront of the push for better relations between the US and Cuba and empowering the Cuban people and those that love Cuba. We’re grateful for your support and friendship and that have and will continue to create a better future for Cubans on and off the island, along with the overwhelming majority of Americans that benefit from a normal relationship with our neighbor.

An update on what we're up to below:

Cimafunk Makes Waves in the US

Cimafunk is wrapping up a month-long US tour and cultural exchange program organized by CET. The group has blessed the US with sold out shows across the country, panel discussions at universities including Howard, Morgan State, Brown and Tulane, showcases at Netflix, Google and the Standard Hotel, visits and performances at public schools and community service. This week, Cimafunk threw a historic “Havana in the Hills of Hollywood” party, where Sylvester Stallone, Warren Beatty, Leonardo DiCaprio and other movers and shakers enjoyed Cuban culture, cigars, food, cocktails and hits like “Me Voy” under the stars. The next day the band joined forces with Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez in Skid Row to serve food, donate clothes and make music with those in need.

CImafunk band members after a concert in Hollywood Hills

CImafunk band members after a concert in Hollywood Hills

Since the tour began, Cimafunk has been featured in The New YorkerUnivisionThe Miami HeraldThe New Orleans Advocate, and more.

The tour has been an extremely impactful exchange -- and it closes out this week with aMay 2 show in Oakland and a final Miami show on May 5. We look forward to seeing our friends and neighbors there.

Cuban Creatives to Present in Miami May 5

CET continues to provide a platform for Cuban voices in the States and proudly partner with organizations like CubaOne that work on reconciliation between Cubans on and off the island.

We are excited to host four female Cuban creatives to present and exchange with the Miami creative community at the Miami Light Project on Sunday, May 5th. The panel will feature Dador’s Lauren Fajardo, Negolution’s Marta Deus, art curator Cristina Figueroa, and Cuba’s rising star photographer May Reguera. The event will be an exchange between Miami's creative class and the general public, with opportunities for Q&A, networking, Cuban cafecitos, and more. Following the event is Cimafunk's final show on his US tour at 1-800-Lucky. 
The event is open to the public and many CET members will be present. Tickets can be reserved in advance here – with an option for a discounted Cimafunk ticket for the concert that night.

An Update on Policy

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has prioritized the 2020 election cycle and Cold War politics in a recent announcement on US policy towards Cuba. It’s still unclear what official changes will be made regarding travel, as details were not given and modifications were not released. For the time being, travel remains completely legal, normal and easy and we’ll be continuing business as usual. CET President Collin Laverty shared his thoughts on the changes with several different news organizations:

The New York Times:
“I have spent the day on the telephone with current and former State and executive branch officials and industry and policy experts, and nobody knows what the actual restrictions are.”
CondeNast Traveler
"For now, travelers should stay calm and keep an eye out for more news about what the actual changes will be," said Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel.Seatrade Cruise News:
Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, strongly decried the Trump administration's actions as an 'effort to reinforce a policy that has failed miserably for 60 years to accomplish anything positive in Cuba.' 
Travel Weekly:
The Trump administration caused confusion among travelers and travel suppliers yesterday by saying it would restrict non-family travel to Cuba but giving no further details on what that would entail. "I've been talking to a lot of members of congress and they're not sure either," said Collin Laverty.

Cubans On the Power of Engagement

CET believes that the Cuban people should be front and center to the debate on what’s best for them and their future. We partnered with Engage Cuba to produce a video giving voice to three young Cuban entrepreneurs to tell their story, how US travel affects their business, and their hopes for the future. It made rounds on the internet and it was retweeted by Secretary John Kerry and Senator Patrick Leahy. We’re grateful that Secretary Kerry and Senator Leahy shared the video and endorsed a more sound policy option. The video's success proved to the cuentapropistas, and to us, that stories, voices, and engagement have power – and that every grain of sand in the movement for the opening makes a difference.

Filmed by Claudio Palaez Sordo and produced by Isabel Albee

For now, we'll keep pushing engagement and we hope you'll do the same. 

Until next time,

The CET Team