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Shift in Cuba policy under Obama?

WASHINGTON — Throughout his campaign, President-elect Barack Obama said that he’d loosen some restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba and rebuild the already slight ties to the communist nation cut by the Bush administration…
http://tinyurl.com/6pfdnt

Had a wonderful discussion with a rather Sr member of a resort about this topic.

I said for us Canadians it was great to travel to Cuba and an extra bonus was that we were not having to deal with a lot of Americans. Now, I have family that are Americans so I am not Anti-American …but in saying that, when I have traveled to destinations with hight American volume of travelers it is not so pleasant as they can be remarkably pushy and there are not so many "please & thank you’s " as when you travel with fellow Canadians or travelers from the UK. Their comment was interesting. (I paraphrase) “we will not forget the countries that have supported us through all these years. The tourist dollars are and will continue to be important, why would we turn our backs on our friends. If and when the Americans come - we are not stupid (and they did use that word) they will be directed to resorts that will cater to that group”

I took from that there will be resorts that will be geared to that audience. Thinking about this further I realized over the years there has indeed been a shift. I see no Americans (before there were always a few) there are no Germans and very few other European travelers. While the Canadian and UK travelers along with a few South American travelers make up 99%

No matter there will be an impact and hopefully the Cubans will be the winner in this silent war.

:slight_smile: Interesting comments and info, Canuks. We have visited resorts that seem to “cater” to the Canadian market and those that “cater” to the European market and it will be interesting to see how they will “cater” to American market. I wonder what the American market would be looking for? Any thoughts?

For us, we’ll stick to the resorts that have a higher percentage of European visitors. Just our preference. :-*

I don’t foresee any substantial changes in US policy towards Cuba in the near future. Other than repealing the 2004 restrictions on family travel and remittances and indicating a willingness to talk directly to Cuban leaders Obama has been careful to stay tight lipped about anything else. The 2004 restrictions on family visits and remittances have never been popular in the Cuban American community so he isn’t risking anything by saying he’ll attempt to repeal them.

In any case, thanks to Clinton signing legislation at the beginning of his first term that limits Presidential power when dealing with the Embargo it now takes an act of Congress to make any changes to that policy so Obama’s influence is being greatly exaggerated. Why in the world would he attempt to exercise Executive Authority without Congressional support? Cuba simply isn’t that important.

Lastly, I don’t believe dropping the Embargo will result in any significant long term increase in American tourists visiting the island. After a short - and minimal - initial flurry of curious tourists who were too afraid to travel illegally I think American tourist travel will never be a factor much greater than it already is at present.

Time will tell…

For me, the most telling comment in the article was the following:

“More significantly, Obama and the new Congress will have their hands full with the economic meltdown and will have little time left for Cuba policy…”

My thoughts, exactly.

I have met lots of Americans and have many dealings with them , but , I would miss the feeling that a Canadian majority brings to a resort such as the ones on my tiny piece of paradise.

[quote=@verycoldcanadian]I have met lots of Americans and have many dealings with them , but , I would miss the feeling that a Canadian majority brings to a resort such as the ones on my tiny piece of paradise.
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Very well said!!!

“I, for one, welcome our new American overlords…” (Simpsons quote, from when Homer released the ant farm in outer space).

I don’t mind who visits Cuba, just behave yourself: don’t be drunk, demanding, or a yahoo. Anyone who has read these boards for a while knows there are plenty of those types visiting Cuba… and I believe they are often Canadians!

Being an idiot knows no citizenship - it’s an equal opportunity thing.

You nailed it, eloisegirl. As Will Ferguson noted in “Why I Hate Canadians”: “Canadians are the second-loudest people on earth” :slight_smile:

I’ll also add my two centavos by saying that the American tourists presently traveling to Cuba are generally the most interesting, educated, hippest travelers you will ever meet because they have the intelligence and curiosity that gives them the independent spirit to flaunt their government’s legislation regarding the Embargo. They’re some of the best tourists on the planet.

And as I mentioned above, when the Embargo finally drops I don’t think you’ll see any great influx of “normal” American tourists invading Cuba. It simply isn’t going to happen. There are no hordes of US tourists waiting with baited breath for the Embargo to end so they can finally visit Cuba. There is no untapped market of American tourists who will suddenly abandon their established Caribbean destinations for a chance to try Cuba.

[quote=@martian]I’ll also add my two centavos by saying that the American tourists presently traveling to Cuba are generally the most interesting, educated, hippest travelers you will ever meet because they have the intelligence and curiosity that gives them the independent spirit to flaunt their government’s legislation regarding the Embargo. They’re some of the best tourists on the planet.

And as I mentioned above, when the Embargo finally drops I don’t think you’ll see any great influx of “normal” American tourists invading Cuba. It simply isn’t going to happen. There are no hordes of US tourists waiting with baited breath for the Embargo to end so they can finally visit Cuba. There is no untapped market of American tourists who will suddenly abandon their established Caribbean destinations for a chance to try Cuba.[/quote]

Martian you are dead wrong.
If the ball drops and they can come to Cuba again, It will be a horde such as has never been seen before.
Don’t forget that 50 years ago , Cuba was THE place to go for Americans and natural curiosity will do the rest. On a small plus side , we will be able to go anywhere else on sell off pricing.
In the meantime tho, my rum bottles are beginning to whisper and my ears are listening

Jeje… I guess we’ll see, but I’m willing to bet just about anything that after a fairly small initial flurry of curious US tourists that the overall impact of American resort tourists visiting Cuba will be nil.

Cuba offers nothing whatsoever that’s unique to the all-inclusive resort tourist from the US, and it can’t begin to compete with the myriad of choices and services available elsewhere. There is no big marketing hole waiting to be filled by these mythical tourists who will all of a sudden abandon their traditional choices and decide to go to Cuba.

But, who knows… time will tell… I am willing to place a friendly bet though… :wink:

(Oh, and the only reason Cuba was THE place 50+ years ago is because it was run by the Mob and everything that was illegal and/or difficult in the US was easy in Cuba. It was a despicable, horrid, corrupt h*ll hole for anyone except foreign high-rollers.)

For what it’s worth, a friend of mine who is somewhat "in the know"says there are already plans to run ferries from Miami to Havana as soon as the embargo is dropped. Also, the Cubans have been madly building resorts with more capacity than their current tourist market can fill. Do they know something we don’t???

That’s another bet I’d love to take. One company (of several) who’ve floated the ferry idea over the years is the same one I have the bet with another poster here regarding the high-end luxury condos that will (not, I say) be built on the new golf courses within 5 years - Sir Terrance’s UK condo/golf development company packed their bags and abandoned Cuba less than 4 months after that thread…

Now a cargo ferry (carrying food, etc.) between New Orleans and Havana… that might be an interesting investment with potential…

We go to a time share in Nassau where we are the token Canadians.The complex is made up of people from Michigan, New York,Long island,New Jersey,Maine, Illinois,Wisconsin and assorted other US States.The majority of the people want to go to Cuba and say they will do so when it is legal. Some have snuck over from Nassau to Havana on cubana and raved about the trip. Cheers Dan

I can only say this:
When visiting anywhere in the world, respect the place. Respect the people and their culture. Behave yourself. Shut up and enjoy the ride.

[quote author=martian board=Cuba thread=7439 post=62551 time=]Sir Terrance’s UK condo/golf development company packed their bags and abandoned Cuba less than 4 months after that thread…
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Not true - they are actively marketing “memberships” at $1,000 a go that give the right to apply for an option on a property.

Though I am pretty sure they are still waiting for the formal permissions from the Cuban government !

[quote=@beardo][quote author=martian board=Cuba thread=7439 post=62551 time=]Sir Terrance’s UK condo/golf development company packed their bags and abandoned Cuba less than 4 months after that thread…
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Not true - they are actively marketing "memberships" at $1,000 a go that give the right to apply for an option on a property.

Though I am pretty sure they are still waiting for the formal permissions from the Cuban government ![/quote]

Um, if I were offered the option of spending $1000 dollars to get the right to apply for an option, I would inform the police, as that sounds like a scam. Any honest business doesn’t charge for options. IMHO.

Maybe I’m a little naive on this subject but I would think it is what the Cuban government wants allowed and not the American government. I’m sure they would like the embargo to be lifted, however at what cost to themselves. Will they lose their culture, have casino like a long time before and become more “Americanized”? I really can’t see that happening. Just my opinion of course.

Andrew, I said a quick hello recently to Sir Terence at a marketing/investors expo in LA (I first met him years ago, shortly after I first started visiting Cuba) and he implied they had pulled out of Cuba because the Cuban government was bringing up old baggage about him using the name El Floridita without proper permission.

In any case, if they’re back at it, confident enough to be selling marketing “memberships” (whatever that is) then that’s great news. (Or maybe not, seeing that its been done many times in the past with zero results.) It would of course require a complete reversal of present Cuban government policy to allow their plans to go ahead, but if they manage to get permission that would be a major change in Cuba’s future. Your world would turn upside down too. Fingers crossed…

(By the way, I see the press release section on their website hasn’t been updated since March, 2007 and I haven’t received a reply to an email to the general mailbox. Do you by chance have an email or web page for the $1,000 marketing membership? I’d love to follow up on that and see what the scoop is. Thanks.)

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"… Maybe I’m a little naive on this subject…" Stills, believe me buddy, we ALL are… ;D