Cuba Travel on the Horizon?

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Nicholas Maliska is a research intern with the New America Foundation/U.S.-Cuba Policy Initiative.
Rumors that the Obama Administration is preparing to announce measures that will ease travel restrictions to Cuba have been circulating for several weeks, but the news now seems to be official with multiple knowledgeable sources indicating that the announcement will come within the next week or two.
The scope of the changes is still unknown and could range from a limited loosening of restrictions on specific licenses back to where it was during the Clinton years to permitting general licenses in all twelve categories of travel, which would facilitate the greatest amount of non-tourist visits to Cuba. The changes will certainly be the biggest development in U.S. policy towards Cuba since President Obama announced the easing of restrictions on Cuban American travel and remittances to the island in April 2009 and will send a long overdue signal that the Obama Administration takes Cuba policy seriously.
In the context of U.S.-Cuban relations more broadly, some analysts have been framing this development in the context of a tit-for-tat diplomatic maneuvering with the Cuban government. Earlier this summer after negotiations with the Catholic Church in Cuba, Raul Castro announced that 52 political prisoners would be released (26 of which have been freed and sent to Spain thus far). The easing of travel restrictions, they say, is Washington’s response to the release of the political prisoners.
However, these changes have likely been in the works for some time as Julia Sweig, director of the Latin America program at the Council on Foreign Relations indicated in a recent Washington Post article: “It’s a little easier to do it, given the political prisoners’ release. But I think they were going to do it anyway.”
Those looking at the Obama Administration’s announcement as a move in a tit-for-tat framework will expect another gesture from the Cuban government in turn (such as the release of Alan Gross, the USAID contractor imprisoned since last December) before the U.S. makes any further changes. Yet, prompt actions and reform have not been characteristic of the Castros, who have already outlasted ten American Presidents.
The U.S. should not wait on the Cuban government to make further changes that benefit the Cuban people and are in our national interest. The U.S. should continue to readjust its policies to utilize our best asset, the American people, to engage with the Cubans and help in turn to develop a more open Cuban society.
— Nicholas Maliska

Comments

29 comments on “Cuba Travel on the Horizon?

  1. Sergej says:

    I agree with Mr Obama!

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Why government shills & INTELLECTUAL COWARDS, (wishy washy mealy mouthed gumbis), love the term “conspiracy theory”
    An excerpt……
    The fact that the term “conspiracy theory” has no literal meaning is one of the many things that was firmly established by the events of 9/11. The official explanation of events of that day is unequivocably a theory of conspiracy. It’s the ultimate conspiracy theory for the world’s most spectacular crime, but it’s not called a conspiracy theory. That term is reserved for any ideas that contradict the official story. This is a very important point. Conspiracy theories are not about conspiracies, they are about forbidden thought. The label “conspiracy theory” is a stop sign on the avenues of rational thought and inquiry. It says, “Stop here. Entrance forbidden.”
    http://globalgulag.freesmfhosting.com/index.php?topic=373

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    POA, from your MoJo link above, the last paragraph:
    “A number of independent scientific studies since then have raised questions about the government’s report. My main criticism, however, is not necessarily that the report is “wrong,” but that it’s impossible to check the math without access to the data, methodology, assumptions, and literature that went into drawing the conclusions released earlier this month. The government released conclusions about the fate of the oil, without the substantiating information. NOAA’s Lehr says they’re not releasing that information for another two months, possibly longer.”
    You do realize that this paragraph suggests the distinct possibility that the report the NOAA put our might be at least vaguely accurate, but not yet checkable without a release of all the data.
    So, like I said somewhere around here, there is an actual debate about the numbers, not a fuckin’ conspiracy.
    Things are going to be very unclear about the oil leak for quite some time. Complex events all share this one funny characteristic. It takes a lot of events to make them happen and it takes a lot of analysis to understand them.
    Going full-conspiracy and cursing out the admin doesn’t really move the debate along.

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  4. questions says:

    Oh, 11:57pm on the 20th. So sorry I didn’t scroll back up to find your original source for your proof of everything. Oops. Oh dear. So much for anything I’ll ever have to say again. Damn, I hate when I disprove everything I’ve ever suggested merely by not scrolling back up to a post from a couple of days ago after reading something…..
    You’ve definitely outed me this time!
    I guess I’m no “reader” after all. In fact, I’m probably functionally illiterate! Those darned bus schedules really throw me off. And then remembering that “come under fire” means that there’s a conspiracy afoot! So much to know, so little time to know it.

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Regardless of who decided to release it, administration officials repeatedly gave the impression that the report had been thoroughly vetted before it was released. Lubchenco told reporters there was a “high degree of confidence” in the numbers. “The likelihood of large-scale changes is very, very small because we have so much certainty in some of the numbers,” she told reporters at a press conference the day the report was released. White House climate and energy adviser Carol Browner echoed that the report had “been subjected to a scientific protocol, which means you peer review, peer review and peer review.””
    “A number of independent scientific studies since then have raised questions about the government’s report. My main criticism, however, is not necessarily that the report is “wrong,” but that it’s impossible to check the math without access to the data, methodology, assumptions, and literature that went into drawing the conclusions released earlier this month. The government released conclusions about the fate of the oil, without the substantiating information. NOAA’s Lehr says they’re not releasing that information for another two months, possibly longer”

    Reply

  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “An entire quotation without a source!”
    Interesting that the self professed “reader” doesn’t seem to have read the thread.

    Reply

  7. questions says:

    Wow, you really did go the full non-rectal!
    An entire quotation without a source! Without much in the way of back-and-forth, without supporting evidence, without what usually passes for argument or dispute in the sciences. Geeze! You’re good.
    Try reading Merchants of Doubt for something that actually ties together some interesting strings instead of just putting in an unsourced quotation.
    Then see if you can trace through something more significant than “under fire for….”
    “Under fire” doesn’t prove much, now does it?
    And note that I am not arguing that we got good information about the amount of oil hanging out around the Gulf.
    I am arguing that for now there seem to be multiple arguments about what counts as a good model, what counts as an accurate measure. The Gulf is a dynamic system and measuring the oil is a leetle beet more complicated than, say, using a tape measure to see how tall you are.
    But, as always, you are unable to conceive of complex systems, of events that arise without an intelligent designer, of the possibility that individuals who act in their own self-interest might end up with a result that looks a whole lot like a conspiracy, but actually is not in the least the result of conspiring.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    (Enjoy your conspiracy theories since you so love them)
    “The NOAA has been under fire from independent scientists and Congress for its conclusions and for failing to explain how it arrived at its calculations. The agency has failed to respond to repeated requests from Congress to reveal its raw data and methodology”
    Gee, thats OK. After all, its “complicated”.
    Like I said, questions, you are an insipidly wishy washy little pseudo-intellectual institutionalized wuss.
    Get off the campus once in a while.

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    “The University of Georgia researchers

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Go to hell, Questions. Listen to, or read, the Congressional testimony of this piece of shit Lehr.
    Short that, just shut the fuck up, you institutionalized rubber spined academic geek.
    Theres a real world beyond your blackboard, Gumbi.
    Its comical, reading the convoluted pseudo informed assholishness you use to rebut, when in fact it is Lehr that formulated a report based on fantasy. HIS was the true “conspiracy theory”.
    You are by far the most wishy-washy mealy mouthed and insipid little puke I have ever communicated with. To be frank, I pity you.

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    The real problem with the Gulf is that there is a nightmarishly complex engineering problem the likes of which no one has ever dealt with, and so the engineering people are rigging ad hoc stuff together, the gov’t is working under a stringent reading of the precautionary principle, and they are slowly but surely working to find out the condition of the well before they seal it via the relief bore.
    Currently, they are fishing out pieces of the original drilling equipment in preparation for putting a new blow out preventer on top of the well. Once the blow out preventer is in place, it’s my understanding that they will finish drilling the relief well and will plug the thing up.
    The current “date” is somewhere after Labor Day, so a couple more weeks give or take whatever is necessary.
    Thad Allen is trying to avoid giving dates for events because they are generally wrong as things come up and delay the progress.
    There have been concerns off and on about whether or not there are hydrocarbons coming up from the annulus, whether or not when they start pumping mud in through the relief bore they might damage a seal or get a “kick” (massive gas bubble that expands suddenly) and that kick might damage the already damaged blow out preventer or might damage a seal in the annulus.
    The biggest concern at this point is avoiding the well’s becoming active again with no quick way to stop the flow. There are also some weak points here and there that might also cause some problems.
    Stop looking for conspiracies and try to grasp the engineering side of things. It’s actually pretty amazing what they’re wrestling with.
    And check your sources. It’s always worth the effort.

    Reply

  12. questions says:

    Given how carefully you vet your sources, I’m pretty dubious about much of this.
    Yes, there are environmental problems, and it looks like Lubchenko jumped the gun, but there are several uncertain points regarding the data, AND indeed there just isn’t much anyone can do regarding the oil in the ocean at this point except to monitor it and hope that dispersion might be of help.
    You want things to be simple, but they aren’t.
    There are endless CTs floating around like so much oil. There are “geologists” who contradict what other “geologists” say.
    This is a technical field, the data require more than YouTube links or journalists….
    Read The Oil Drum for a while and see if you can tell the loony voices from the more sane ones….
    Then read some links and let it take you all over the place.
    You might find some inner peace….
    Nah, you’ll just find another conspiracy!

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    So, Obama has chosen to protect BP over and above protecting the health and the resources of the American public. In collusion with BP, he is reneging on his Oath of Office, and is openly exposing himself to being nothing more than a lyin’ scheming piece of shit politician, no better than the last sack of shit that squatted in the people’s White House.
    How much longer will we tolerate this? And is it too late to do anything about it? We didn’t hold Bush accountable, and we aren’t going to hold this fuckin’ empty suit accountable. What will the NEXT criminal in the Oval office figure he can get away with?

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Fisherman Forced To Release BP From Liability For Contaminated Seafood
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIF57Fphj2E

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Engineer who worked for BP: Geology around blow-out is

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Feds say FORMATION may have COLLAPSED around outside of wellbore
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU6QvMy7R3w&feature=player_embedded

    Reply

  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    WARNING: Feds admit NO testing for MORE TOXIC bioaccumulating metabolites of PAHs
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPWwbIJPOJA&feature=player_embedded

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    FDA admits NOT testing for MERCURY, ARSENIC, or other TOXIC HEAVY METALS in crude oil
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGckevATNPY&feature=player_embedded

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    NOAA says amount of METHANE not made public… because it can’t be skimmed
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IhxYCfmzHA&feature=player_embedded

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    EXPOSED: Feds admit NOT using BP’s thick, black crude for testing
    Feds admit NOT using BP’s thick, black crude for testing — Irrelevant light, sweet crude used instead
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxRh_4EOo3k&feature=player_embedded

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BP oil spill: US scientist retracts assurances over success of cleanup
    NOAA

    Reply

  22. jonst says:

    POA,
    As Matti Taibbi was quoted as saying this morning on C-Span…”we are a gangster nation run by gangsters”.
    It is as if many of the wildest most unbelievable conspiracies theories have burst forth from hell, and manifest themselves as all too true. And what the fuck are people to do (people like me)who once laugh at and dismissed this theories? It is, to me, akin to finding out there are indeed little green men from Mars, coming at us on flying saucers.
    And to the upper class in this nation, the ‘better educated’, this is a disturbing new finding. Not only spiritually undesirable….but damn impractical from a professional perspective. One has to be very careful whom one discusses the wardrobe of the King with.
    As McCarthy proved, in a very interesting discovery, the more highly Americans specialize in a field….the easier it is to blackball them in that field. There never was a big market for Chineese Scholars, screenwriters, and such. So one is prone to keep one’s mouth shut. The A Party invitations, and think tank grants, just might depended on it. And indeed, not only keep one’s mouth shut. But propel one to utter falsehoods that the speaker knows is false.
    A gangster nation run by gangsters.

    Reply

  23. samuelburke says:

    the u.s should just allow any and all of it’s citizens to travel to cuba
    as they see fit and let cuba set the limitations that they invariably
    will set.
    the u.s and cuba would both benefit from open travel and open
    trade.

    Reply

  24. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “This proposed change, if it is indeed “proposed change” can be seen as a near perfect metaphor for the Obama Admin. Kind of a half ass change, passed of as meaningful change”
    As this BP thing unfolds, it becomes increasingly obvious that the Obama Administration is not only a bunch of lying self-serving elitist assholes, just like the last batch of lying self-serving elitist assholes, but they are actually even LESS competent liars than GWB’s administration was. Is there ANY American citizen that actually believed the recent rosy picture this Administration tried to con us with in regards to this catastrophe in the gulf? And look how quick their bullshit is becoming exposed as bullshit. Are they so fuckin’ megalomaniacal and out of touch that they think no scientific body or organization was going to come forward with peer reviewed studies that were polar to the shit Obama and his minions were trying to peddle?
    And now we have this crap abnout “all combat troops have left Iraq”, (but we are doubling down with sleezy fuckin’ murderous mercenaries who operate outside the realm of accountability).
    And what are these assholes in Congress doing??? Going after baseball players, whose alleged “perjuries” pale when compared to the daily litany of lies and perjuries committed by these criminals steering the ship of state. Gonzales gets a walk for his known perjuries, but we are gonna send a baseball player to jail for lying about steroid use? The Obama Administration conspires with BP to put lipstick on an epic environmental pig, and Congress is jacking themselves off over steroid use in baseball? There isn’t something horribly wrong with this picture??? Give me a fuckin’ break, will ya? How long are we going to stand for this shit? Or are we past the point that we can do anything about it??? If so, we ain’t what we claim to be.

    Reply

  25. jonst says:

    This proposed change, if it is indeed “proposed change” can be seen as a near perfect metaphor for the Obama Admin. Kind of a half ass change, passed of as meaningful change. The Dems have become a mealy mouth collection of Empire apologists. It is like that old Woody Allen joke:
    Character A: ‘Guilt? God? You mean you still believe in God?
    Woody: ‘No, but I’m guilty about not believing in him’
    The Dems are support the maintenance of the Empire….but they are guilty about it.

    Reply

  26. Celia Harrison says:

    I would love to see their urban farming program and their healthcare system.

    Reply

  27. rabicamail says:

    Cuba has responded to the chatter by, according to reports, adding 50,000 rooms and 9 new hotels to accommodate for the possible influx of tourists. More than 200,000 rooms could be added after that if tourism continues to grow in the island nation. Cuban officials estimate that up to 1.7 million US citizens would visit

    Reply

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