More Americans seeking to expand ties with Cuba
- Submitted by: manso
- 02 / 28 / 2011
02-27-2011. TAMPA, the United States, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S.-Cuba relations are evolving rapidly as more U.S. organizations seek to boost various exchanges between the two countries.
In mid-January, U.S. President Barack Obama greenlighted some changes to his country's practices related with Cuba, including authorizing travels to Cuba by U.S. citizens for academic, educational, cultural and religious purposes.
Following the adjustment, Tampa International Airport (TIA) of this Florida city, which has a long history as a transportation hub to Cuba, has been trying to secure approval for operating charter flights to and from the island country.
Only three U.S. airports, respectively in Los Angeles, Miami and New York, are currently allowed to do so. Although Miami International Airport is the closest one to Cuba, flights to and from Cuba accounts for only two percent of its total business.
The first thing for TIA administrators to do is "acquire the landing rights in Cuba," said TIA spokeswoman Brenda Geoghagan, noting that U.S. and Cuban authorities are in negotiations to allow more U.S. flights into Cuba.
Meanwhile, the Cuba Academic Alliance (CAA) in Amherst, Massachusetts, among other academic groups, are calling for more academic and cultural exchange programs between the United States and Cuba, with which the United States has had no diplomatic relations for half a century.
"We have about 25 students who go to Cuba and study in four-month-long semesters. They study language and cultural programs," said Jerry Guidera, director of the Center for Cross Culture Study of the CAA.
However, although Cuba has an extraordinary culture that could be exported to the world for the Cubans' benefit, its cultural products are "underdeveloped," Guidera said.
An example of the richness of the Cuban culture is The Buena Vista Social Club, a group of Cuban musicians who achieved a huge international success in the late 1990s, Guidera added.