Today we welcome a guest post from Tiffany A. Sippial, author of Celia Sánchez Manduley: The Life and Legacy of a Cuban Revolutionary, out now from UNC Press.
Celia Sánchez Manduley (1920–1980) is famous for her role in the Cuban revolution. Clad in her military fatigues, this “first female guerrilla of the Sierra Maestra” is seen in many photographs alongside Fidel Castro. Sánchez joined the movement in her early thirties, initially as an arms runner and later as a combatant. She was one of Castro’s closest confidants, perhaps lover, and went on to serve as a high-ranking government official and international ambassador. Since her death, Sánchez has been revered as a national icon, cultivated and guarded by the Cuban government. With almost unprecedented access to Sánchez’s papers, including a personal diary, and firsthand interviews with family members, Tiffany A. Sippial presents the first critical study of a notoriously private and self-abnegating woman who yet exists as an enduring symbol of revolutionary ideals.
Celia Sánchez Manduley is now available in paperback and ebook editions.
Are U.S. Citizens Still Allowed to Travel to Cuba?
As a specialist in the history of Cuba, the number one question I receive from colleagues and friends is: Are U.S. citizens still allowed to travel to Cuba?
I encourage everyone to take the time to study all of the facets of recent Cuba travel policy changes. President Trump announced on June 4 that, effective immediately, U.S. cruise companies would no longer be permitted to sail to the island. The new restriction cut off the most popular mode of travel to the island for U.S. citizens since Obama gave the green light to cruise companies in 2016. The last U.S. cruise liner to dock in Havana, the Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas, sailed out of Havana Bay with its upper decks full of passengers waving to onlookers standing along the capital city’s seawall. While trips to Cuba account for only a small percentage of U.S. cruise company business, the allure of the island allowed those companies to charge rates as much as 20 percent higher for Cuban itineraries than other Caribbean destinations. Shares of Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival all took a hit in the wake of the new restrictions.
Furthermore, an estimated 800,000 cruise travelers were impacted by the new policy. Cruise ships already on route to the island at the time of the announcement were forced to shift their trajectory mid-course and head toward Cozumel, Cancun, or another Caribbean destination. Cruise companies scrambled to offer ship credit or partial refunds to their angry and confused passengers, who immediately began venting on social media. All upcoming cruises will have to bypass the island in favor of alternative itineraries and several have offered full refunds to their customers. The Associated Press estimates that Cuba could lose as much as $130 million in revenue due to the new restrictions on cruises from the United States.