EMORY, Va. — After spending two life-changing weeks in Cuba, Emory & Henry students traveled back to the United States at the end of May. Just two weeks after their return, the Trump administration further restricted travel to Cuba. According to the Public Broadcasting Service, the move will make it harder for tourists in the U.S. to travel to Cuba, with restrictions affecting cruises and airlines.
Those who were planning to visit Cuba via cruise have already had to halt their plans. According to the Cruise Line International Association, “the move would immediately affect 800,000 passenger bookings that are scheduled or already underway.”
Americans can still fly to Cuba, as long as it fits under the categories of “family visits, official government business or journalistic activity.”
Emory & Henry students traveled to Cuba in May 2019 for a two-week study abroad program. Read all the stories here.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez stated that tourism has played an important role for the island’s economy, according to granma.cu, the official newspaper for the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party.
According to granma.cu, President Díaz-Canel has also stated that not only has tourism played an important role, but the government hoped that it was going to eventually become the driving force behind the Cuban economy.
“I think that it’s ridiculous, and it makes me angry,” said Sydney Breiner. “The Cuban people are going to suffer because of this ban.”
The students’ tour guides on the trip emphasized how important tourism is for the Cuban economy.
After building relationships with the students of Cienfuegos University, students at E&H are worried for their new friends.
“I don’t agree with President Trump’s decision,” said rising sophomore Jack Bellimam. “My heart feels for the Cuban citizens that will have to suffer for the political ploys of our president.”
Rising junior Dixie Holliday agreed with both Breiner and Bellimam.
“The Cuban people are the nicest people I’ve ever met overall and deserve to have a successful economy,” she said.
“I know this will affect Cuba in a negative way,” said rising senior Emily Bishop. “I know how hard it is for them now, and President Trump is only making it harder on the people of Cuba.”