As you may have heard by now.. Fidel Castro the revolutionary leader of Cuba has died at the age of 90. It was under his leadership that Cuban and US relations disintegrated. For almost 50 years Fidel led the country under a US Embargo and maintained his strong Communist ideals while preserving Cuban customs.
In 2006 Fidel became extremely ill and passed along the role as the Cuban president to his younger brother Raul. Though Raul is also very patriotic and was a part of the Cuban revolution he has made some serious changes during his presidency.
In 2010 Raul announced drastic changes to the private sector by eliminating a vast number of previously government jobs and moving them into the private sector. Between 2010 - 2013 the number of self-employment grew by 145% from 157,371 in October 2010 to 385,775 in 2013. That number is now estimated to be over 1.5 Million which is nearly a third of Cuba’s total workforce. These jobs are mainly in small to medium sized businesses especially in service and hospitality. The food industry has seen a major change with an explosion of private restaurants and culinary tastes. The hospitality industry is also seeing a huge growth with an example of AirBnB offering services to Cuban homestays known as Casa Particulares.
Raul also made a radical change by allowing the first American President in over 50 years to visit the island in March of 2016. President Obama announced a move towards improving relations with Cuba with Raul as its leader.
In 2013 Raul began his second term as Cuban President and announced that he would not be running for a third term. There has been no announcement for who will be replacing Raul in 2018 but one thing is certain that it will be a significant change.
As far as US relations, It is unclear if President elect Donald Trump will continue to improve the US and Cuba relations. He has announced some criticism with the policies that President Obama began but nothing is defined.
What does this mean to you?
With such momentous changes in the leadership of the US and Cuba this is the ideal moment to travel. As Americans, travel to Cuba is available, in 2015, 147,401 Americans visited Cuba. There are still regulations in place and visits must fall under 12 categories. The most common is through People-to-people trips, which are educational ones that anybody can take so long as they include a full-time schedule of activities that produce “Meaningful interaction between the traveler and the individuals in Cuba”.
Hasta Cuba offers a curated experience highlighting the vivid transitional period in Cuban history, by connecting travelers with local experts and resources, and opening the doors for independent exploration.
Email Max@hastacuba.com for a travel consultation and to sign up for one of the first trips of 2017!