Monday, May 23, 2022

Zoom Update on Travel (& More)

Travel to Cuba June 2022 

Biden Changes and the Summit of the Americas

Watch our June 14, 2022 zoom on travel to Cuba on youtube by clicking here.   Share this link with friends and colleagues

An opportunity to receive definitive information about new regulations from the Biden Administration, as well as about how and when they will be implemented.

Learn also from experience to date of tour organizers who have already brought groups to Cuba.


William LeoGrande, American University

Robert Muse, attorney

Tom Popper, founder of Insight Cuba

Christopher Baker, guide book author, photographer, expedition leader

Rena Kraut, Cuban American Youth Orchestra

Gina Faustin, Kompa Guide

Linda Elzer, Travel While You Can

Kizzy Camejo Torres, local guide and casa owner, Havana

John McAuliff, Fund for Reconciliation and Development (moderator)

Andrea Holbrook, Holbrook Travel on video, click here

                            Speaker Bios

Christopher P. Baker—the Lowell Thomas Award 2008 'Travel Journalist of the
Year'—has been acclaimed by National Geographic as “One of the world’s
leading authorities on Cuba travel and culture.” His eight books on Cuba
include 'Cuba Classics: A Celebration of Vintage American Automobiles,' the
'Moon Cuba' and 'National Geographic Traveler Cuba' guidebooks, plus 'Mi
Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba' (a two-time national book
award winner). He has written about Cuba for publications worldwide from CNN
and National Geographic Traveler to Playboy, and is currently partnered with
actor David Soul (of ‘Starsky & Hutch’ fame) in a cinematic
documentary—‘Cuban Soul’—about restoring Ernest Hemingway’s 1955 Chrysler
New Yorker in Cuba. Christopher appears regularly as a Cuba expert on BBC,
CNN, Fox TV, NPR, and other radio and TV outlets. A gifted public speaker,
he has been privileged to address Cuba to such entities as the National
Press Club, National Geographic Society Live, and the World Affairs Council.
Christopher has designed and led more than 100 ‘People-to-People’ and
'Support for the Cuban People' group programs to Cuba for such companies as
Jim Cline Photo Tours, Lindblad Expeditions, National Geographic
Expeditions, and Santa Fe Photo Workshops, and has curated and led custom
trips of Cuba for CNN anchor Michael Smerconish, the Children’s Cancer
Association, the USCF Medical Center, and numerous motorcycle groups, among
others. He is available as a freelance tour leader and custom-tour planner.


760.327.9879 direct 
760.285.9827 cel 

Kizzy Camejo  At the University of Havana I majored in English, French and Portuguese translation and I did my Masters studies in Tourism Management. I have been a tour guide in Cuba for ten years. Since 2013 I have my own tour coordination business called 

There I offer tailor made programs in Cuba; a one stop shop for anyone interested in coming to the island. I can provide good advice before and during your trip, transportation, accommodation, tours & experiences and more. I also own three rental apartments in the heart of Old Havana. 

Facebook  @Kizzy Camejo Torres  @Kizzytours  Whatsap  +53 53 45 29 22

Gina Faustin is the executive producer of  Kompa Guide, a 32 year-old   travel and entertainment company which produces weekly television shows, promotes annual Caribbean festivals, and specializes in international group tours.

She graduated from CCNY with an Architecture degree, has a minor in advertising, and a Master and Elite Certification in the Cruise Industry. She is a world class swimmer and an Olympic fencer.  

Her weekly television shows include  "Gina's Weekend, Streets Gaming, Mizik Creole, Tele Music, Tele Education, PR Times" cover a variety of community relevant subjects including health, politics, immigration issues, social trends, education, entertainment and world travel.   The shows feature many controversial subjects such as domestic violence, elder abuse, encourages viewers to exercise their freedom of speech, religion, assembly and political views.  She has met and interviewed many dignitaries including ambassadors, presidents, notable authors, senators, mayors, governors, physicians, university presidents and famous musicians.

As a promoter, she is the co-producer of the Creole-American Family Festival which attracts over 8,000 participants at Eisenhower Park; the Creole Expo which highlights the best of the Creole Islands by showcasing their beauty, business opportunities, tourism, cuisine, art, music and the Creole language.   

Gina leads an expedition of  friends and viewers to some of the most famous countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Israel, Russia, England, Tunisia, Egypt,  Poland, Germany, several Caribbean Countries, China, Japan, Korea,  84 countries and counting.  Her travel group also sponsors The Gina's Weekend Travelers scholarship to  minority students interested in traveling.

Professional organizations:  Clia-Cruise Line International; TANQ-Travel Agents of Brooklyn & Queens;  Certified Producers-QPTV;  President-Creole TV-NYC;   member of the Strategic Planning Committee  & Finance CT at Sacred Heart Church;  V.P. Parent Guild at St. Francis Prep H.S..


Andrea Holbrook is President of Holbrook Travel, Inc., a travel company based in Gainesville, Florida specialized in natural history and educational programs primarily to Latin American and East Africa.  Andrea first became involved in offering travel to Cuba in the early 2000’s after Andrea first traveled to Cuba and was forever changed by her experiences there.  Holbrook primarily offers groups focused on nature to Cuba including birding, botany, sea turtles, as well as other educational travel.   Holbrook is primarily a B2B travel provider working with nature and educational organizations as well as specialized leaders.  Andrea is also part of the family operation that owns and operates Selva Verde Lodge and Private Reserve in the lowland rainforests of Costa Rica.  Andrea is on the board of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST).

Musician and educator Dr. Rena Kraut is founder and executive director of the Cuban American Youth Orchestra (CAYO), a non-profit organization which brings young Cuban and American musicians together to travel, learn, and perform. CAYO successfully completed its inaugural tour of Cuba in May 2019, with debut concerts in Matanzas and Havana's National Theater featuring the premiere of two compositions by Cuban composers. 

CAYO has held numerous small-group exchanges in both the US and Cuba since 2017 and has resumed Arts Delegations, which facilitate US citizen travel to Cuba under the Support for the Cuban People license. Find more information at

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.  <>

Tom Popper, CEO of 82 West Consultants  With more than 20 years of experience working in Cuba, Tom is widely considered a leading expert in doing business in Cuba, Cuba travel, U.S.-Cuba policy, government relations, and U.S. and Cuba regulations.

In the early 2000s, Tom founded and was President of insightCuba, a leading single destination travel company and among the first to bring Americans to Cuba under the people-to-people license starting in 2000.

Throughout Tom's time working in Cuba, he's nurtured long established relationships within the Cuban government and people across the island. Tom's also navigated U.S. and Cuba regulations spanning five U.S. presidential administrations and three Cuban presidents.

Tom founded 82 West Consultants to help businesses explore and execute a market entry strategy into Cuba to help unlock its trade potential as it further opens its economy and seeks increasing foreign direct investment.

Tom has been featured, interviewed, and quoted by hundreds of newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, The New Yorker, and National Geographic. Tom's also been a contributor on CNN, ABC, CBS, and National Public Radio.


OFAC Information on New Regs

Charter flights between airports in Florida and Camaguey, Holguin, Santa Clara and Santiago are beginning this month.  See the Cuban announcement of days of the week here or in On Cuba here.

Intercarribean is flying between Kingston, Jamaica and two Cuban cities, Havana and Santiago posted here.

Air Century is also flying between Santo Domingo and the same cities, Havana and Santiago posted here.

U.S. loosens restrictions on Cuba travel, remittances amid summit blowback

By Daphne Psaledakis
 and Dave Sherwood

WASHINGTON/HAVANA, June 8 (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday moved to lift some Trump-era restrictions on remittances and travel to Cuba even as it fended off criticism for blocking the Communist-run island and long-time foe from attending a regional summit this week.

The amended regulations, set to be published in the U.S. Federal Register on Thursday, will provide further fine print around a broader easing of U.S. restrictions on Cuba first announced by the administration of President Joe Biden in May.

A Treasury Department official said publication of the new regulations was purposefully aligned with the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

Economic Eye On Cuba

Are the regulations issued by the OFAC useful and practical.  Are they written in such a manner that individuals will not understand them and legal counsel at companies will understand them and decide that the supposed opportunities presented are not implementable.  Are the regulations a lay person’s nightmare and an attorney’s income stream? 

There were considerable political pressures directed toward The White House for the Biden-Harris Administration to talk big, but craft a short leash.  To some constituencies present that many opportunities exist.  To other constituencies present that the changes and revisions are no big deal, nothing to see here; don’t lose any sleep.    

The fear was the Biden-Harris Administration would succumb to publishing “feal good” regulations where The White House and the United States Department of State will expound upon all of the new means of engagement- but in practical terms what is included and what is left out make implementation so cumbersome, so in need of compliance measures, that value to the supposed beneficiaries- in the case of the re-emerging MSMEs in the Republic of Cuba, are absent.  

The Biden-Harris Administration did importantly include in the new and revised OFAC regulations a focus upon funding support for MSMEs.  The Biden-Harris Administration did under a separate specific license authorize the first direct equity investment in and the first direct financing to a MSME. 

Unfortunately, there remains distance from stated intention and practical implementation.  Taking credit for permitting what is not practically implementable has resurfaced a theme from the past and the fear that derived from it. 

excerpt from report by John Kavulich

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