A street in Cuba.

Much has changed in the year since the U.S. and Cuba reached an historic agreement to restore diplomatic ties. Travel restrictions have loosened, the U.S. now maintains an embassy in Havana, and Americans can now send more money than ever to Cuban friends and family under newly relaxed regulations. We look at the state of U.S-Cuban relations and the political and economic effects of the thaw and provide advice for those thinking about a trip to the island nation.

Lisa Garcia Bedolla, Chancellor's professor of education and political science, UC Berkeley; author of "Latino Politics and Mobilizing Inclusion: Transforming the Electorate through Get-Out-the-Vote Campaigns"
Christopher Baker, travel guide; author of "Mi Moto Fidel: Motorcycling Through Castro's Cuba"

  • Skip Conrad

    Why does not Obama repeal the Helms-Burton Act and the Cuban Adjustment Act, or at least invalidate them by Executive Action, which he has a habit of employing with every other law he doesn’t like?
    While these laws contnue to be in effect, there is no thaw. The thaw is only in Obama’s imagination. Legally, we continue to have Cold War relations with Cuba.

    And then there’s the Kennedy-Kruschev Pact, as well.

    • jurgispilis

      Sorry, Iverson just wants to talk about vacationing opportunities for wealthy Americans.

    • Kurt thialfad

      There was a time during the Cold War when people risked death to climb the Berlin wall and escape to the West, and were given sanctuary for their efforts. It was much the same with Cuba and the repressive Communist Castro regime. If you could swim to Florida to escape the repressive communists, then you earned sanctuary and a green card. That’s what the Cuban Adjustment Act is all about. But today, Cubans fly to Equador, and take a bus to the US-Mexico border and collect their green card. Hardly a risk affair.

      At least amend the Cuban Adjustment Act so that if any Cuban can come and take up legal residence in America, then likewise any American can come to Cuba and take up legal residence. Let’s end the Cold War.

      • Vahe Demirjian

        I’m baffled as to why the Obama administration has said that revising the Cuban Adjustment Act is not being contemplated when the vast majority of Cuban immigrants who have left Cuba over the past decade and a half have done so for economic reasons. The best solution is to reserve the Cuban Adjustment Act only for political exiles, not economic immigrants from Cuba.

  • CaliforniaLiveOak

    A friend just returned from Cuba and reported that the old cars cause choking pollution; is this true (or only in the cities)?

    • Definitely pollution in Havana, because their old cars don’t have modern catalysts, particulate matter traps etc. – and I was told (don’t know if true) that Cuba buys gas from Venezuela, which sells only the dirtiest, cheapest bottom 25% of its reserves.

  • I missed the live broadcast, but I’m looking forward to hearing the show when it becomes available as a podcast.

    Christopher P. Baker is one of five travel writers whose interviews I filmed last July for “Cuba, Libre,” a documentary that traces travel to Cuba by Americans from the early decades of the 20th century up to the Castro-led revolution of the late 1950s, and the resumption of such travel after Cuba turned to tourism as a way to bolster its economy following the demise of its chief international benefactor, the Soviet Union, in 1991.

    Yesterday I submitted the film for airing on MarinTV, the public access station in San Rafael for which I’ve produced several shows during the past three years. It will probably run sometime later this month, and then will be available for viewing on YouTube.

    In the meantime, KQED Forum listeners can watch the film’s trailer on YouTube: https://youtu.be/SsU2rFL2URA

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