Anywhere but Here


I’ve watched our lives
ebb and crest
Watched the waves
crash into time
…and the tides…
They pull me under
with reckless abandon.
I just wish I could
I just wish I could be
anywhere but here,
anywhere but here.


People are mad. Wahhhh. Boo hoo. “Why should Jay-Z and Beyonce get to go to Cuba when I can’t?” Well, the truth is, you might be able to. People just rush to conclusions because they heard someone say something about an embargo and travel restrictions and such. Honestly, until recently, I thought to get to Cuba, you would have to go through Mexico or some other country. Officially, the State Department says something like “If you do go and get in trouble, we can’t help you. But you can go if it’s sanctioned.” That last part is really important as, just before people started boo-hooing about these celebrities who get special treatment anyway, I received this email from my alma mater (in screenshot form and sorry it cuts off due to my blog theme – click to see the full image):


So there you have it. Officially, the U.S. government only grants regular citizens access to Cuba if it’s “educational.” But IT DOES grant U.S. citizens access to Cuba. And if it must be educational and your only purpose to go there is to explore, is it not simple to make the argument that you’re learning about a different culture? Thus, it’s an educational experience.

The point here is that most people really have absolutely no idea what any of the Cuba-related travel restrictions are and aren’t. I’m not an expert on them, but I’m not going to go overboard, either, about some restrictions that shouldn’t even exist at all. I know a few folks originally from Cuba. They’re good people and have insight into the country that I otherwise never would have gotten. Like with North Korea, Cuba is largely known as being a poor nation, but it’s not the leadership that’s suffered from decades of trade embargoes – it’s the people.

If our country were so free, we shouldn’t have to justify trips to anywhere by saying it’s “educational.” More-so, we should be able to travel simply because we want to.