Christopher P. Baker declares Cuba officially open to Americans

    You read it here second ─ Cuban travel now is open to every U.S. citizen.
    Or so reports Christopher Baker on the Moon Travel Guides site, citing revised regulations published April 21 that he says confirm U.S. president Barack Obama's desire to ease the longstanding restrictions on travel between the two countries.
    "Pack your bags!" adds the intrepid travel writer. "Finally, it's time to go to Cuba."
    Well, maybe you shouldn't be stuffing socks into the Samsonite just yet. American access to Cuba does seem to have become easier, but it's hardly unfettered.
    Students, for example, now can travel to the island for course work for academic credit without first seeking written approval from the U.S. government. This pre-authorization was already available to Americans with close relatives in Cuba, and to journalists, professional researchers and others.
    Another change is the restoration of a provision allowing "educational exchanges," which Baker says can be as broadly defined as a visit by a minor baseball team to play Cuban club teams.
    But the students will need sponsorship by an accredited U.S. college. And those organizing educational exchanges will need written permission from the government before the exchange can take place.
    Education, you'll notice, is the key here. Or in Baker's words: "In essence, for the first time since the Clinton administration, virtually anyone with a serious rationale with an interest in learning can now find a way to visit Cuba legally."
    But what if you just want to sit on the seawall in Havana and watch old automobiles rumble along the Malecón? That's educational, to be sure, but would it be enough to secure the necessary sponsorship or authorization?
    Worry not, American students of automotive history. The Caristas College of Car-cheology stands prepared to fully support your expedition to the Great Cuban Car Show.
    Letters of support? Certificates of sponsorship? Yours for only a modest fee (somewhat extra if you also wish a Doctorate of Divinity that allows you to perform marriages).
   But, you ask, what if an official questions whether Caristas College is indeed an accredited U.S. school? To which we respond ─ Hey look! Isn't that a '52 Cadillac Series 62 sedan?

Top photo: 1955 Chevrolet sedan; centre: 1946-48 Plymouth; above: 1952 Cadillac.

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