Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Not so fast

The Herald reports that luxury travel company Abercrombie and Kent has suspended its “forbidden isle revealed” trips to Cuba. Judging from the recent Treasury Department statement, they are likely to remain that way.

Granma, on its high horse, blames OFAC for submitting to pressures from the “Mafia.”

Apart from the issues regarding the license discussed in the Herald article, it seems that a sorting out is under way where Treasury has amended its policy on people to people educational travel. Its statement makes clear that it will not permit travel agencies and tour operators to sell travel to Cuba, as Abercrombie and Kent was doing in collaboration with an organization holding a Treasury license.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe that Abercrombie and company was, indeed, nixed in their plans b/c of pressue by hardline lobby (who have their fingers in everything in DC).

Relatedly, according to recent stats., it should be noted that international tourism is way up in cuba this year, mainly from Europe and Canada.

I was recently in cuba for family visits and noticed seemingly more tourists on the streets. Havana is packed with Canadians and Europeans (and 99% of regular Cuban citizens - not just those in government- are very happy about this).

The fact that international tourism from Canada and Europe is way up in Cuba (and will only increase unless collaspe of world economy) is one reason why the hardliners' policy of limiting travel (family and cultural exchange) is so silly, unproductive, and, above all, immoral.

For example, from a strictly macroeconomic structural point of view, restricting cuban american family visits (or cultural exchange) when the rest of the world is touring cuba is completly futile in terms of its effects. That is to say, if hardliner restrictions were, indeed, put into place (god help us!), such restrictions would just hurt Cuba on the margins and make no substatnive difference to macro cuban economic health. Their inane policies would, however, hurt ordinary americans who want to visit their parents, etc.

Who side are they (hardliners) on? It does not seem like they are on the side of Cuban or Americans.