Harvard Elites ‘Explore’ Havana

Did you go to Harvard? Are you eager to visit a communist nation, but don't want to travel to China or Vietnam? Great! You can sign up for an "Exploring Havana, Cuba" excursion. (Well, technically it’s too late, but there’s always next year.)

The trip, which was made possible by a "people-to-people" exchange license granted by the United States Treasury, promises to provide "meaningful interactions with Cuban people."

From the official program:

Participants attend a full daily schedule of activities that include lectures, roundtable discussions and break-out sessions, private performances, artistic demonstrations and interpretations, and informal conversations, all delivered by local Cubans.

… Through intriguing and varied interactions with Cuban people, you will come away with a deeper understanding of Cuba’s history, where it is today, and where it might be in ten years’ time.

These Harvard trips to Cuba are offered only to Harvard alumni and not to the general public.

So, no commoners. The program guide does warn that many Western comforts won’t be available in Cuba, due to "tight political control," as well as the U.S. trade embargo.

It not immediately clear whether the trip’s itinerary includes a "roundtable discussion" with Alan Gross, the U.S. government contractor who has been imprisoned in Cuba for more than four years and who recently announced a hunger strike to protest the "mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments" with respect to his "shameful ordeal."

It is also not known whether there will be any "informal conversations" with local political prisoners. According to Human Rights Watch, the Cuban government "continues to rely on arbitrary detention to harass and intimidate individuals who exercise their fundamental rights."