US State Dept. Recommends Canceling Trips to Cuba

September 13, 2017 | Print Print |

Linesmen trying to restore electric power. Photo: granma.cu

HAVANA TIMES – The US State Department issued a warning today urging US citizens to avoid traveling to Cuba, severely hit by Hurricane Irma, reported dpa news.

The State Department noted that there are numerous areas in Havana where there is no electricity or potable water supply, as well as considerable damage outside the capital.

The United States does not allow its citizens to engage in tourism in Cuba, but certain categories of travel are allowed, including visits by Cuban-American families, educational trips, and cultural exchanges.

However, in a forum on the Facebook page of Havana Times several US citizens and people from other countries differ on whether its a good idea to maintain travel plans to Cuba and make their suggestions. We encourage you to go on to the page and add your opinion.

Cover Photo: Carmen Rodriguez / escambray.cu

What's your opinion?

  • Sandra Rae

    I would say go if you are going to help. No, if you are a tourist and want to be waited on, and have a luxury vacation.

    • Moses Patterson

      I tend to agree with you. However, if you were planning to stay in a casa particular, eat at privately-owned paladares, and otherwise be a low-maintenance tourist, the argument could be made that you are indeed helping by putting hard currency directly in private hands.

      • What are some local relief efforts happening? I would like to still travel and help but it’s been difficult to get in touch with local relief efforts.

        • Moses Patterson

          You have to change your paradigm. For example, the NFL player, JJ Watts of the Houston Texans, immediately organized a relief charity that has raised tens of millions of dollars for displaced Houstonians. I can’t name a single rich or famous Cuban who has done the same for Cuba. There may be such an effort going on, I just don’t know about it. Instead, 3 generations of Fidelismo has left Cubans, inside and outside of Cuba waiting for the Castros to do everything. As far as I have heard, and I have asked around, there is no non-governmental relief effort organized. No international charity set up. No celebrity telethon. That’s the price a society pays after a 3 generations of government handouts when facing the aftermath of a tragedy like this. No individual initiatives. It’s every man for himself.

  • Ginni

    The US State Department is concerned about the health hazards with the potable water issue, thus lack of bottled water available. I have been there on a People to People mission as well as a tourist, so I understand where the US State Department is coming from. I got the shots for Typhoid, Hepatitis and Yellow Fever before my last visit which were recommended by the US State Department prior to IRMA.
    And now there is a chance for West Nile and the ZIKA virus from mosquitoes plus Cholera!

    • Bring a “Lifestraw” with you.

      • Ginni

        Yes, both Texas and Florida that are in hurricane victims and tropical climates as CUBA is will have to be hypervidulent about everything. I rode out KATRINA here in Biloxi, MS so I have a lot of recall what we went through. The CDC Center for Disease Control will be well enforce to pursue any out break of anything. I was not aware that your homes are sprayed every 10 days. Thanks for sharing that.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Although you responded to Carlyle Ellis, I think your comment abouyt spraying homes in Cuba was addressed to me Ginni. The control of mosquitoes is as you know a massive problem involving everything from chemistry to genetics.
          Yes, in Cuba teams were formed in each area to endeavor to combat those pesky critturs to reduce in particular chances of Zika. As I earlier indicated, Cuba has a history of public health concerns dating back to Dr. Carlos Finlay.
          So, yes, what happens is that a grey uniformed man or woman arrives at the door to tell you that they are about to spray and everybody plus in our case the dog, has to get out of the house for 45 minutes. (We go and sit on our patio).
          A masked man then arrives with a motorized pump, starts the noisy engine and sprays the interior of every room. This takes only a short time. The ticket which is affixed to the interior of the entrance door is then dated and initialled. When the system first started they used to enter the house looking for still water (for example on the back of the refrigerator or around potted plants and add chemicals, then that was succeeded by the system described.
          As one with some knowledge of pest control I wonder about the efficacy of the system, for in my experience mosquito control requires killing the larvae in still waters. Canada is a country with much knowledge and experience of mosquitoes (the further north you go, the BIGGER they get) and within Canada the City of Winnipeg (shades of Winnie the Poo) which has two slow flowing rivers and much low lying lake and pond areas, is notorious for the pests. There the concentration is upon spraying the breeding areas to destroy the larvae with trucks driving down the streets spraying outside, not inside.
          So Ginni, I am a touch dubious about the Cuban system – but at least they try! As we have slats not glass windows, we still have the odd ZZZzzzzz in the night!

    • Carlyle MacDuff

      I assume Ginni that the same risks that you speak of in Cuba apply also to Florida?
      As my home is in Cuba, I have to take the risks. I don’t know whether for example, you are aware that Cuba has been addressing the mosquito problem for three years now, and that teams of folks in grey uniforms fumigate every house about once in ten days. So what is the US doing?
      In Cuba, we are accustomed to dealing with the potable water problem by boiling, filtering and cooling, but I guess that is a new problem in the US?
      Could it be that Florida faces greater challenges than Cuba in suddenly having to deal with adversity?