Artsy Americans Offer Preview of Cuba Thaw

Travel to Cuba shows signs of loosening
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Apr 12, 2009 7:46 AM CDT
Seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus went to Cuba last week to discuss improving relations with the communist government amid speculation that Washington could ease travel restrictions.    (AP Photo/ Prensa Latina, Vladimir Molina)
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(Newser) – American tourists are flooding into Cuba as the freeze between the countries shows signs of thawing, reports the Los Angeles Times. For the recent Cuban Biennale art show, young Americans arrived to enjoy the culture and nightlife, defying the longstanding travel ban. With a bill to lift restrictions pending in the Senate, citizens on both sides of the divide wonder whether the influx foretells real change.

Although President Obama has made only minor policy revisionsthus far, Cubans look to him as a harbinger of change. "If they lift the restrictions, there will be more freedom, more travel, more opportunity," said a 20-year-old Cuban. Meanwhile, this year's Biennale featured US-based artists in an attempt to forge connections. "Art is a great bridge, the way to start a conversation," said one of the American organizers.