Sunday, November 21, 2021

Webinar: Perspectives from Cuba of November 15 Protests and Consequences

Eyewitness accounts from Cuba of November 15th and beyond

Webinar  Friday, November 26, 4 p.m.  ET

The video of the webinar is available here

Watch it at your convenience and please share it as widely as you can.

The chat and Q&A are posted at the bottom of this  page with bios and resources.  

Going to Cuba to independently observe what took place on the 15th put us $2,000 in the hole.  Tax deductible contributions are greatly appreciated, click here  or mail a check to Fund for Reconciliation and Development, 64 Jean Court, Riverhead, NY  11901


Ed Augustin, resident journalist, NY Times, The Nation, The Guardian

Rafael Hernandez, editor, Temas magazine

Rita McNiff, travel provider, Like a Cuban

William LeoGrande, American University

John McAuliff, Fund for Reconciliation and Development

Ed Augustin is a British journalist who has been based in Havana for 9 years. He writes for the Guardian,  The New York Times and The Nation magazine. He broadcasts for NBC News.

Rafael M. Hernandez (Havana,1948) is a political scientist, professor, researcher and Chief editor of Temas,a Cuban quarterly in the field of social sciences and the humanities; he is also a published poet, essayist and playwright.  He has authored books and essays on US-Cuba relations, Cuban civil society, migrations, international security, culture and history.  He has served as co-chair of the Cuba Section of the Latin American Studies Association and been a visiting professor at Harvard and Columbia Universities.

A New York native and first generation Irish American, Rita McNiff is the founder of Like A Cuban, a boutique agency that curates custom “like a local” experiences for visitors to Cuba. An avid traveler herself, Rita visited Cuba for the first time in 2015. During her stay, she drove the island with a friend, picking up hitchhikers along the way, sharing rum and coffee with locals and, as the days went by, completely falling in love with the island and its people. Six years later, Rita’s journey of exploring Cuba continues and her mission to share the stories of the real Cuba, the people’s Cuba, with visitors to the island gets stronger day by day.   Rita lives in Havana, with her daughter Tessa.     <>

William LeoGrande Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, American UniversityProfessor of Government and a specialist in Latin American politics and U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America, Professor LeoGrande has been a frequent adviser to government and private sector agencies. He has written five books, including Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977 – 1992. Most recently, he is coauthor of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana. Previously, he served on the staffs of the Democratic Policy Committee of the United States Senate, and the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Central America of the United States House of Representatives. Professor LeoGrande has been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, and a Pew Faculty Fellow in International Affairs. His articles have appeared in various international and national journals, magazines and newspapers.  PhD, Syracuse University     

John McAuliff is the founder and director of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development.  He is committed to contribute to the full normalization of US relations with Cuba as he did with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  John has visited Cuba sixty-one times since 1971, all but the first visit from 1997.   His program focuses are expanding travel as well as educational and cultural exchange.  He collaborated with the Canadian-Greek Cuba Cruise and partners with Opera de la Calle and the magazine Temas.  A special interest is the role of Irish and Irish Americans in Cuban history and the Celtic links between the traditional music of Ireland and Cubans who immigrated from Asturia and Galicia.  <>


Personal reflections on being in Cuba for November 15th

   by John McAuliff, 11/30/31

"The Latest Round of Protests in Cuba Are a Bust—for Now"
But US sanctions and Covid have kept the island in a vise only made worse by a dysfunctional economy and long overdue reforms.      by Ed Augustin, The Nation, November 18, 2021


 by Stephen Kimber & John Kirk COUNTERPUNCH, November 22, 2021

Opposition Perspective after November 15th (14ymedio)

Rafael Hernandez:  Essays Post November 15th

"Five years after his death, is Castro's revolution floundering?"

Friday, November 26, 2021

HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) — Five years after Fidel Castro's death the revolution he started in 1959 appears to be at an impasse, with Cuba's economy battered and an ever-larger part of its population clamoring for change.

"Tourists trickle in to Cuba following pandemic slumber"

By Gustavo Palencia   November 25, 2021  Reuters

Dear Colleague Letter initiated by Representative Jim McGovern to "Address Humanitarian Crisis, Restore Engagement with Cuba" will remain open until December 3d.

Jill Biden in Cuba (Camaguey and Havana)


15:16:36 From  John McAuliff  to  Everyone:


16:07:56 From  Sheyla Paz  to  Hosts and panelists:

Hello everyone from Nashville. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving day!

16:11:03 From  Sheyla Paz  to  Hosts and panelists:

How is the food situation?

16:11:40 From  Thomas Hansen  to  Hosts and panelists:

How do you deal with currency exchanges?

16:12:54 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

I've heard from AA that this is because Cuban authorities have not given authorization beyond Jan 3rd.

16:13:54 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

How are the hotels?  I've been wondering because of being totally excluded from US travelers.

16:14:44 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

Of course, due to the pandemic, hotels worldwide have been very impacted by Covid, but perhaps in Cuba the situation is extreme.  [The problem is that Trump/Biden licensing restrictions block Americans from use of all hotels. JMcA]

16:14:58 From  Marcel Kunzmann  to  Hosts and panelists:

Question: How did you get the Abdala jabs as a foreigner? Cool! :)

16:15:00 From  sarah arizaga  to  Hosts and panelists:

What is the money situation? Do USD still work "unofficially"?

16:15:06 From  Thomas Hansen  to  Hosts and panelists:

currency exchange from dollars?

16:15:16 From  Michael J. Good  to  Hosts and panelists:

how is covid in the real communities?  Michael Good Birding guide  [Every community is being vaccinated nationwide.  J McA]

16:17:13 From  Elena Espinosa  to  Hosts and panelists:

I left Havana November 1st and I was exchanging my USD for 1:62CUP

16:17:31 From  Talek Nantes  to  Hosts and panelists:

How do the casas expect to be paid?

16:17:48 From  Gonzalo Lopez  to  Hosts and panelists:

Is the Mexican peso a good currency to take to Cuba now?

16:17:54 From  sarah arizaga  to  Hosts and panelists:

Cuba is saying they have approved all the US flights, and were waiting on US approval.

16:18:56 From  Talek Nantes  to  Hosts and panelists:

Is it safe to change US$ on the street to get a better rate?

16:25:59 From  John McAuliff  to  Everyone:

       Contributions to support our work for normalization, including a very expensive trip

16:28:28 From  Gonzalo Lopez  to  Hosts and panelists:

Could we get a copy of Rafael's presentation via email?   [The substance of it will probably be in his third essay which will be added to the blog post here.]

16:32:56 From  Ramon Bueno  to  Hosts and panelists:

Where is the mentioned blog found?

16:35:02 From  Rita McNiff  to  Sheyla Paz and all panelists:

Regarding the food situation, Sheyla, the paladars, many casas and hotels are well stocked. There are also food delivery options from restaurants, private grocery stores and farms with the apps Mandao, Pamicasa and direct sales

16:36:20 From  Merriam Ansara  to  Hosts and panelists:

thank you, John, and presenters. this very useful presentations and perspectives

16:36:57 From  Rita McNiff  to  Thomas Hansen and all panelists:

Thomas, any currency can be exchanged officially apart from the USD. That said there is a lot of exchange happening unofficially and that also makes exchanging USD an option.

16:37:21 From  Sheyla Paz  to  Hosts and panelists:

That’s fantastic to hear Rita. Thanks for the update and for being here!

16:41:55 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

Ed, do you believe that if tourism is coming back to better levels, the conditions of discontent will be quelled?

16:43:20 From  Circles Robinson  to  Hosts and panelists:

Ed don't forget to mention what led to the protest a year ago at the Ministry of Culture.

16:43:26 From  Rita McNiff  to  Andrea Holbrook and all panelists:

Andrea, The hotels that I have gone through in the last couple weeks are looking good, but I have only been in Havana. Some remain closed. The Kempinski, Parque Central actually only ever closed briefly and their conditions are very good right now. The Aston Archipelago, which will be the most luxurious hotel in Havana is set to open on schedule in March

16:45:07 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

Thanks Rita

16:46:02 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

God help Cuba

16:46:18 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

Sorry I am responding to what Ed is saying.  But that is quite a cocktail.

16:46:47 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

Thanks for inviting Ed.  Very important to hear his voice.

16:47:20 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

Another good question.....why didn't it happen?

16:47:25 From  Thomas Hansen  to  Hosts and panelists:

Thanks Rita.

16:49:03 From  Elena Espinosa  to  Hosts and panelists:

November 15 is the day schools opened again, tourism opened again. I don't think this was a coincidence.  The Cuban government crafted a great pro Cuba campaign to squelch the protestors.  [The date of tourism opening was chosen by the protestors.  Not sure whether school opening was also chosen first.  J McA]

16:52:22 From  Barbara Larcom  to  Hosts and panelists:

You mention Nicaragua as having heavy protests, but don't mention Honduras?

16:59:45 From  Michael J. Good  to  Hosts and panelists:

Caribbean Conservation Trust is planning a field trip for February... should we be good to travel in February? How is Havanatur doing?

17:02:20 From  William LeoGrande  to  Barbara Larcom and all panelists:

Not intentional.

17:02:46 From  Merriam Ansara  to  Hosts and panelists:

Dear Colleague letter

17:05:56 From  Merriam Ansara  to  Hosts and panelists:

current deadline is Friday December 3rd though it could be extended again

17:06:21 From  Christopher Baker  to  Hosts and panelists:

Good moment for a segue on the contribution that U.S. tourism can make to helping Cuba recover

17:07:20 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

Are you talking about the S. African variant?

17:13:10 From  Barbara Larcom  to  Hosts and panelists:

What do you think of Medea Benjamin's explanation, that people began to realize (between July and November) that while they may have some issues with the government, they also realized that a huge protest would only be damaging to their long-term prospects, because the government was their best option (compared to the opposition alternatives)?

17:16:31 From  Rita McNiff  to  Michael J. Good and all panelists:

Michael, I, myself am receiving groups from mid-January on and mainly due to the prohibitive flight pricing beforehand. February I feel will be good …bar anything happening with COVID worldwide. Havanatur is anxious and ready to receive clients now.

17:17:06 From  Michael J. Good  to  Everyone:

thank you rita

17:19:45 From  Tomas Moran  to  Everyone:

As a Cuban American who — for 60 years — has watched our inability to send money to our relatives like people here do to most other countries in the world, Biden’s position in going back on his promise is particularly grating.  You seem to accept that nothing is possible to change this.  Is there in fact any organized group trying to get more co-signers to the “Dear Colleague” letter, and how can I get a hold of that group?  [WOLA has a draft script posted J McA]

17:20:07 From  Merriam Ansara  to  Hosts and panelists:

also, would you again. urge people to urge their Rep to sign the Dear Colleague letter? New deadline is Dec 3. I posted to you link to the letter with the 55 signers to date

17:21:58 From  Thomas Hansen  to  Hosts and panelists:

Ed, you are too young to know firsthand the economic situation in the early 90s. I know from personal experience it was much worse than today.

17:24:07 From  Ed Augustin  to  Hosts and panelists:

Thomas - you’re right that I didn’t live through the special period. Too young. But I agree with you that the hardship of the special period was much more pronounced than today.

17:32:22 From  Merriam Ansara  to  Everyone:

Rafael, hurray for that news!!@

17:32:52 From  Gretchen Wahl  to  Hosts and panelists:

Thanks for some good news, Rafael!

17:33:19 From  Geoff Thale  to  Hosts and panelists:

Thanks all, have to go.   Very helpful discussion.

17:33:29 From  Merriam Ansara  to  Hosts and panelists:

I can really appreciate that news. I'm arriving Jan 7. look forward to seeing you

17:36:22 From  Andrea Holbrook  to  Hosts and panelists:

John, thank you for organizing this panel.  Thank you to your speakers.  This was really excellent.

17:36:28 From  Michael J. Good  to  Everyone:

enviromental policies around the Caged Bird Trade are seriously damaging the ecotourism markets... can the government change laws to stop this destructive policy of the Caged Bird Trade to ecotourism.

17:36:33 From  sarah arizaga  to  Hosts and panelists:

Thank you for the answers to the questions. And for all the very enlightening perspectives of the panelists.

17:46:45 From  Christopher Baker  to  Hosts and panelists:


17:46:50 From  Gonzalo Lopez  to  Hosts and panelists:

Thank you all. Thank you Rita for the specific answers.

17:48:33 From  sarah arizaga  to  Hosts and panelists:

I would love for people to take a stand against the hotel rules for the sake of disabled travelers. It is very hard to visit when you cannot stay in hotels. I consider it unfair discrimination.   [Can you get disability organizations to hammer the White House and State Department about this excellent point?  J McA]

17:48:43 From  Christopher Baker  to  Hosts and panelists:

Rita... please explain about the electronic card payments in stores, etc.

17:50:12 From  Liliana De Cespedes  to  Hosts and panelists:

Absolutely agree Bill.  The US government needs to stop being influenced by the powerful force that is the Cuban American US population.  Diplomacy and realistic negotiations between the country is the way forward.  It had a definite impact during the Obama administration.

17:51:14 From  Christopher Baker  to  Hosts and panelists:]

There are four locations now in Havana for PCR/antigen tests

17:53:18 From  sarah arizaga  to  Hosts and panelists:

can only stay at Quinta Avenida in Havana as US citizen

17:55:16 From  Christopher Baker  to  Hosts and panelists:

Much cheaper flights direct from New York on JetBlue than if you fly from Tampa

17:57:43 From  Michael J. Good  to  Everyone:

thank you so much everyone... this was enlightening...are you planning  more  in the future??

[We will do another webinar in January unless something changes sooner.  J McA]

17:58:35 From  Elena Espinosa  to  Hosts and panelists:

thank you for all your support for the Cuban people :-)

17:58:52 From  Peter Kornbluh  to  Hosts and panelists:

thanks John, and Rita and Bill and Ed and Rafael.

17:58:56 From  Rita McNiff  to  sarah arizaga and all panelists:

Christopher, the antigen test is only available at the airport and the Siboney clinic as of right now

17:59:32 From  Rita McNiff  to  sarah arizaga and all panelists:

Sarah unfortunately the Quinta Avenida is no longer legal

17:59:37 From  Donna Kross  to  Hosts and panelists:

Muchas gracias for this important information!

17:59:57 From  Thomas Hansen  to  Hosts and panelists:

Thanks John

18:00:05 From  Vannetta Perry  to  Hosts and panelists:

Fantastic forum!  Thank you so very much! I plan to return to Cuba soon and this is so helpful!

18:00:08 From  Rita McNiff  to  sarah arizaga and all panelists:

I agree with you about the disabled access. If you ever need help in that respect please do not hesitate to reach out I have options

Q & A

1 Hi John:  It would be helpful to hear about conditions in Cuba today.  For visitors is there plenty of food in paladares?  Are there any hotels that Americans can legally use? How is the COVID vaccination program going? James Friedlander

Regarding the food situation, the paladars, many casas and hotels are well stocked. There are also food delivery options from restaurants, private grocery stores and farms with the apps Mandao, Pamicasa and direct sales. There are still no hotels that US citizens can legally use. The COVID vaccination program has gone really well and the country is about 80% fully vaccinated.


Jet Blue begun adding this week. And the other airlines are expected to do so in the coming weeks. Pricing starts to normalize from the US as you look towards mid-January and beyond

4 How is the food situation for tourists? Sheyla Paz
"Reposting here for others: 

Regarding the food situation, Sheyla, the paladars, many casas and hotels are well stocked. There are also food delivery options from restaurants, private grocery stores and farms with the apps Mandao, Pamicasa and direct sales"

5 Where were the concerts you attended this week? eric nadel

La Guarida, El Sauce and the Capri..but there is a ton of live music and concerts happening all over Havana.

6 how are payments for travel working to Havanatur. peter Sanchez

It is still by transfer only and from the US specifically through Centennial Bank

7 what proof of vaccination do you need to show when you arrive? eric nadel

You need to use your vaccination card for a WHO approved vaccine

8 do americans need to bring euros instead of US dollars? eric nadel

Officially yes. Or Canadian or any other currency. Unofficially, USD is accepted as well

9 what are current US restrictions, esp. hotels, licenses ? Cliff DuRand

You still can not use hotels as a US citizen All the regulations pre-pandemic remain largely unchanged. Travel is still permitted under support for the cuban people. To fulfill this category you will need to stay in casa particulares

10 Has anyone you know used the immigration app, the free wifi, or the cash card announced recently by the cuban government? sarah arizaga

"From my knowledge, the cash card app has still not been released. If it has been you don’t see anything about it at the airport, perhaps they are giving it out through official groups but I have not been given this info yet. 

I have used the free wifi at the airport though. It worked well but the airport was quite empty."

11 Is the Mexican peso a good currency to carry to Cuba now? Gonzalo Lopez
Officially yes. But it will be harder to exchange it outside of cadecas and banks

12 Which currency are you using? sarah arizaga


13 If one can't bring US dollars into Cuba how does one exchange dollars for CUPs? Nicholas Long

you can change Canadian Dollars and Euros. Those are the most popular at the moment. But officially every currency outside of USD is accepted.

14 For much of the pandemic, airlines were selling flights that didn’t actually exist, in the hopes that eventually those flights would be approved.  Does it seem that something similar will be happening, or are listed flights now actual flights with approval? Ken Foster

all flights that are listed now are approved.

15 Regarding sanctions: can anyone explain the paradox of Cubans, including those actually in Cuba, who favor further sanctions and support the embargo? Ken Foster

Cubans are subject to state media going on about the sanctions on TV, radio and print all the time. They’ve been talking about it for decades. People are bored of it, many think it’s used as an excuse, other people don’t even hear it. So plenty of people, especially young people, think it’s a lie or a justification. I do think, though, that a strong majority of Cubans are conscious of the damage the sanctions do. I also have never met a Cuban in Cuba who supports the sanctions

16 Ed, do you have a sense among your circle of whether most Cubans want a new govt vs just a better life? sarah arizaga

My guess is that if the government were able to offer a better life - especially vis-a-vis the economy - a strong majority would let’s say “settle” for the government

17 Brilliant commentary by Ed! Christopher Baker

18 That has nothing to do at all with my question. Circles Robinson

19 Do you know what our latest requirements are Covid-wise.  I’m vaxed and boosted, and do I still need a test? Carol Steele

No test required prior to arriving in Cuba. You are just required to have proof of FULL vaccination. They will be randomly testing tourists on arrival and taking temps. [CDC requires Americans returning from all countries even if vaccinated to have either a PCR or GEN instant test J McA]

20 Going in a few weeks, and realized it could change, and continue to change, but do you know for now? Carol Steele
21 jennifer hosek
22 "Here a Nature article:

Cuba’s bet on home-grown COVID vaccines is paying off
Preprint data show that a three-dose combo of Soberana jabs has 92.4% efficacy in clinical trials."

23 Thanks for Ed's briefing. ...  Question:  Might recent events give the government a serious kick in the pants to get serious about economic reforms?  Might D-C actually use them to push the anti-reform guys out of the way?  The government has talking about reform for a long time, but ... Fulton Armstrong

I don’t have any special insight on this. I imagine Bill and Rafael would.

24 that's why they didn't materialize Ben Gritzewsky

25 Can we expect that the “remesas” to Cuban people change in the upcoming weeks or months? Will western union resume operations in Cuba any time soon? Wilfred Labiosa

It’s extremely unlikely.

26 Can funds be transferred from the US directly to private homeowners on the island if they have bank accounts in Cuba? Thomas Hansen

No. There are ways to do transfers through Europe and elsewhere. I don’t want to make this public because sometimes it can cause issues for the companies.  XXX…is a site through Spain that works very well for sending remesas. It is the only one for remesas that I know that is currently working.

27 Bill,    Figures in this administration that were involved in the opening have argued that the Cubans did not reciprocate properly.  Do you have any read on this perspective. Gary Prevost

28 If we are there as well-fed visitors, how do we face our Cuban friends there as they wait all-day on lines to buy the little food available to them if there is any left when they are admitted, and if they can afford the inflated prices.  Or those whose limited food purchased the day before is now spoiled in their poorly insulated refrigerator, because the power was cut for 8-12 hours that day.  (From what I gather from friends, it seems more a problem in the Provinces, not so much in Havana.) norman pearlmutter

"Norman, I understand your concern. But by staying away from Cuba, you are in no way helping improve the economic situation here. All the Cubans I know are desperate that tourism returns because they know with the money generated the situation will improve for all. 

If you are considering coming, help your friends with food purchases, bring them medicine and things that they may need and spend some money yourself in the country. You will be making a difference in bettering the situation and you will truly be Supporting the Cuban People"

29 Is there any merit in trying to get the travel industry together to pressure the administration on some of the measures such as the hotel prohibition? Andrea Holbrook

[Yes Yes Yes  J McA]

30 What role do you see in US policy toward Cuba of the key vote of NJ Sen. Menéndez in the 50-50 split in the Senate, facing key legislative in the near future (Build Back Better, Voting rights, etc.) Ramon Bueno

31 How is transportation to cities outside Havana?  Services outside Havana? Taxis still available to travel to other cities?  Buses for Cubans to travel between cities? Vannetta Perry

Private transportation is still running and readily available. There are fewer public transportation options but just takes a bit more planning.

32 What is considered the most restrictive measure where it comes to tourism in Cuba? Andrea Holbrook

[Loss of general licenses, including use of hotels.  J McA]

33 Can someone clarify if the Cuban government is primarily responsible for the slow rollout of flights from the US.  If so why have they prioritized flights from everywhere else.  Did they not want large numbers of Cuban Americans at this time? Gary Prevost

34 While the Archipielago demonstrations failed to turn out significant numbers of people, July 11th suggested high levels of discontent that are likely to continue in the coming months.   While tourism may go up, U.S. sanctions are, as Bill said, likely to  continue; the economy may not get worst, but it's not going to get a lot better.   What can the Cuban government do to respond to popular discontent, on the one side, and is discontent likely to manifest itself in some political fashion? Geoff Thale

35.  I have younger friends in Cuba who rely on people bringing supplies to them due to the embargo but who are now very much in favor of continued embargo sanctions, which is very strange, but probably due to their getting much of their news via Miami.  Your comments earlier were very enlightening and balanced.  Now I need to keep an eye out for your reports. Ken Foster

36 Does “FULL” vaccination mean having a booster as well? Peter Kornbluh

For the moment, it is the official WHO standard which is 2 for Moderna, Astrazeneca and Pfizer, 1 J&J

37 Lets go back to Prof. LeoGrande and ask him to lay out scenarios for after the midterm elections, if Dems increase majority—Val Demings wins on a conservative Cuba platform—or lose both the Senate and the House. And what could be expected in the period of time between 2022 and 2024. Peter Kornbluh

38 Is Biden administration policy similar to US policy post 91 when Cuba suffered economic decline after the demise of the Soviet Union? Now Cuba faces a not dissimilar crisis vis a vis  COVID and tourism.  Is Biden following a "kick them when they're down" strategy? Thomas Hansen

39 question for Rita: are casa prices holding the same or are they also increasing?  Thank you for all of the solid information. Jennifer Spelman

"Casas are mainly staying the same from my experience. But no one wants to accept CUP, so most owners are trying to find a solution to the AIRBNB situation. Right now any bookings made through Airbnb, and paid obviously in foreign currency by the tourist is being paid out in CUP here to the houses. 

All owners are asking for foreign currency payments so if you book directly you have room to negotiate if you are willing to pay in foreign currency. 

So my advice, save your Euros, CAD etc and only change a little at a time for restaurants and bars etc. You will be doing your Cuban drivers, casa owners a service by paying them in foreign currency."

40 Re. your comment, John, not all tourists are equal from an economic perspective. US tourists spend considerably more than any other country per person. Bob Schwartz

[I don't have the numbers but if you looked at only the on the ground American visitors who come in groups or independently, their per person expenditures are highest but their total number is not so big.  A lot more Americans were coming on cruises, but even with the cruise company port costs and optional excursion fees I don't know how much they contribute per person to the Cuban economy.  Passengers are mostly in Cuba only or one or two days and eat most of their meals on board.  The European and Canadians who largely just go to resorts may spend less on a per person per day basis, but there are a lot more of them.  J McA]

41 Urban agiculture - the organiponicos to alleviate food shortages and hunger? Susan Metz

I wish it were true. But from what I see they produce a only a small % of the vegetables that are consumed in the country. I think their expansion would be a great idea.

42 Rafael: While this is going on, the Constitutional Codes in Cuba seems to be changing, including the Family, Adoption, and other related codes to include LGBTTQ+ community. Do you think these policies will change or is it a facade to gain more support by this community? Wilfred Labiosa

43 What was the position of the Catholic church about 11/7 and 15/11? Yolanda Prieto

44 And the U. S. visitors not only spend more than others, but give much better percentage rate on their tipping. norman pearlmutter

45 check out the Agro at Calle 42 y 19 en Playa  Elena 

46 There is so much great info in the Q&A. Is there a way to save the Q&A? Vannetta Perry

47 I'm happy to say I've been doing this MANY times pre-Covid, and have a planned return for a short visit in coming April. norman pearlmutter

That is great and I know so so very appreciated

48 John. did you score posters? Ben Gritzewsky

[I have a couple of Obama posters for a $100 contribution.  J McA]

49 We operate an accredited study abroad program in Cuba.  How can we send funds from the US (or via Europe or Canada - if so how)? Thomas Hansen

50 Rita: please repeat where US cards are accepted Ben Gritzewsky

[Mastercard and Visa, but as far as we know just for Covid tests  J McA]

51 It is still illegal to bring back cigars and rum ot the U.S.! Peter Kornbluh

[Sadly, yes  J McA]

52 There are now four locations for PCR / antigen tests throughout Havana, announced yesterday Christopher Baker

53 I was able to send money to my cousin in Spain and he in turn transferred money onto my MLC card in Cuba and there was no surcharge placed by the Cuban government. Elena Espinosa

54 John.... can you please display all the participants Christopher Baker

[Not an option on webinar except in chat list  J McA]

55 Thanks to ALL of you! Fulton Armstrong

56 Thanks for all your help, Rita!  Thanks, John. Carol Steele


  1. Those planning to attend this webinar might also be interested in looking into the virtual Symposium “The Road Ahead: Cuba After the July 11 Protests” edited by William M. LeoGrande, John M. Kirk and Philip Brenner that was released in early November. Rafael Hernandez, one of the panelists on Sunday, contributed a chapter to the Symposium, "¿Trick or treat? La situación política cubana en 2021" OR

  2. Correction: This Webinar will take place on Tuesday afternoon, on Nov. 23.

  3. Great info from everyone, especially regarding the currency situation, flights, sanctions. Please do more of these.