The announcement comes after a nearly four-month period in which the State Department advised that Americans not travel to Cuba under any circumstances. Tensions are still running high between the two countries after the sonic attacks last September, which prompted the State Department to set the “do not travel” warning.
Despite the recent changes to US policy towards Cuba that make tourism and business more difficult for US citizens, there are still ways to go about visiting the Caribbean island.
Although many of the changes have made it more difficult to travel to Cuba as an American, tour operators have adjusted to the new regulations to allow the flow of tourists to continue, as tourism is a main industry for the island nation.
Last Wednesday, the Trump administration announced new restrictions on American travel and trade with Cuba, finally implementing the changes promised months ago when President Trump said that he would reverse Obama-era policies that were meant to improve the relationship between the US and Cuba.
The announcement by the White House comes after diplomatic relations between the two nations have hit a low point in the wake of the United States’ decision to withdraw a majority of its diplomats from Cuba and expel Cuban diplomats from the US in turn.
O’Reilly 304 may sound to American readers like a local Gaelic league or an auto-parts store, but in Havana, it means the cutting edge of Cuban mixology. You’ll never forget its address, which doubles as the establishment’s name. Located on a street named for a long-lost Irish general from the Spanish empire, O’Reilly brings the world of hip liquor to the streets of Old Havana.
As with many of the most exciting watering holes in the city, the story of O’Reilly 304 begins with the removal of restrictions on private ownership. It was founded by two brothers in 2013. As soon as it was possible for them to open their ode to avant-garde cocktails, they leapt at the chance. One brother with experience in government run operations, José Carlo, runs the bar. The other, Julio Cesar, travels the country in search of the most delicious produce to feature in their recipes.
A stone’s throw from the Fábrica de Arte Cubano in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana is a large, century-old Cuban villa. Eighteen years ago, it was dilapidated and nearly empty save for an old landlord who could not afford to keep it up. An American expatriate named Pamela Ruiz saw it and fell in love. Due to Cuban law at the time, she could not purchase it outright, and spent the next eight years on a journey of permuta to acquire the house.
Buying and selling private property was not allowed in Cuba, so all transactions had to occur through trading objects of equal value. Over the course of nearly a decade, Ruiz found somebody with whom to swap her apartment so she could offer a residence that the villa’s landlord thought would be a suitable trade. The landlord, after all, was climbing in years and could no longer ascend the kind of stairs that led to Ruiz’s apartment.