The one thing that could change US policy towards Cuba.
And it’s likely not what you think.
For the first time in almost sixty years Cuba now has a President that’s last name isn’t Castro. Though this is historic, few think it will make any difference when it comes to US-Cuba relations.
However, the VERV.tv team recently spoke with a friend of ours who has a suspicion of what will.
Our friend in the know is Collin Laverty. He founded Cuba Educational Travel. Long before US travel policies loosened, the US embassy opened, or cruise lines were coming with American passengers Collin was organizing corporate retreats and study abroad programs, white-glove private jet and yacht visits, as well as concert tours.
He’s seen the wild ride of the past couple of years as US-Cuban relations began to normalize and then take a nosedive again.
VERV.tv: In the midst of all the changes what is the one thing you wish Americans knew about Cuba?
COLLIN: I wish Americans knew how wonderful the people are. Nobody visits Cuba and doesn’t leave talking about how friendly, open, generous, creative, talented, hardworking and fun Cubans are.
If all Americans knew how special Cubans are, more people would be traveling here, and they’d push the US government to stop enacting stupid policies that hurt the average Cuban family.
VERV.tv: Why do you think more engagement between the US and Cuba is beneficial?
COLLIN: Engagement breaks down barriers. We are neighbors and we have so much in common. The more we visit each other, trade and invest, cooperate on health, environmental and safety issues, share our culture, play sports and learn from one another, the more we realize that we are better off as friends and allies.
The ideology and hate of a few that hope to keep us apart is no match for the love and harmony that the majority of Cubans and Americans share. Trump is a bump in the road and the days of Marco Rubio determining the relationship for 11 million Cubans on the island and 2 million Cubans in the US that want something different area numbered. Engagement brings out the will of the majorities in both countries.
VERV.tv: What’s your favorite part about being in Cuba?
COLLIN: It’s tough to choose. Walks along the Malecon at sunset are pretty special. A quiet weekend in Vinales couldn’t be more relaxing and enjoyable. A good night on the town rubbing shoulders with cultural icons, top Cuban entrepreneurs and brilliant Cuban creatives gives you hope for the future, as the county’s culture, creativity and talent are on full display (and it’s a fucking blast). Strolling through the city streets and hearing music from every corner or striking up a conversation in a shared taxi remind you Cuba is one-of-a-kind. I love seeing school children walk to and from school free, safe and happy. Family in Cuba is fundamental, and Sunday afternoons with my beautiful wife and in-laws make me the happiest.
VERV.tv: Why you did you decide to start CET? And how can people find out more?
COLLIN: I started it because I deeply appreciate and love Cuba and its people and wanted to connect Americans and Cubans and bring us closer together. It has been so fun and rewarding!
While Collin can’t predict what twists and turns might be ahead for US-Cuba relations he does know one thing for sure: when the people of our two countries connect life tilts upward.
Now, if our two governments could follow suit.