Friday, May 10, 2013


Rachael Trost
Reporting From Miami

An airport official sorting baggage in Havana. (Photo credit Ed Rabel)

I have never felt like such a stranger in my own country. The Miami airport seemed to be filled to the brim with people speaking Spanish, wheeling carts of green plastic-wrapped merchandise with names scribbled-on with sharpie. All these sights were not accustom to me even though I have lived all over the United States. I knew that this was already an experience I would never forget.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been excited and captivated by Cuba for the last few months. Researching story ideas, reading up on the culture and history, and deciding what exactly I wanted to cover while there filled up all my free time the last few months.

Back in 2011, President Obama and others in the US government decided to allow remittances (think of them as big gifts to family members) to be brought down to Cuba. A statement released from the White House said the eased rules regarding travel visas and remittances is a bid to “help promote independence from Cuban authorities”. An estimate 2 billion dollars flowed into Cuba last year alone. With the Cuban economy struggling like much of the world, these remittances bring in a huge chunk of funds into the country. With the economic sectors opening-up, the number of remittances a year is estimated to grow.
 Flat screen TVs, large toys, suitcases stuffed with merchandise, and the obvious unseen money were packaged along the hallways.With the US embargo going on 54 years, most Americans have no idea these type of activities take place. It can be argued either way the allowance of remittances in the political game of chess, but the one thing that comes to mind is how will this benefit the people who really need it. The Cubans. 

With political agendas changing daily, it is yet to be seen how the role of The United States might change in the future of Cuba.

Bags wrapped after inspection in the Havana Airport. (Photo credit Ed Rabel)

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