A U.S.-based nonprofit is aiming to be the bridge between young Cuban-Americans and their native homeland by giving them an all-expense-paid trip to Cuba.
Tu Cuba, the program run by the CubaOne Foundation, hopes to be the equivalent of the Birthright Israel trip, which offers free 10-day trips to young members of the Jewish community to learn about their culture. The CubaOne Foundation will sponsor four trips — each consisting of 10 to 12 people — on their own this year and hope that nongovernmental groups will contribute funds to keep the operation running.
The free trip is open to "diverse groups of young Cuban-Americans (ages 22 to 35) who are genuinely committed to building lifelong relationships with the Cuban people," and while there's "no catch" to this awesome life-changing experience, organizers suggest you bring extra cash for your own additional expenses. They cover airfare from Miami to Havana, most meals, and lodging.
“Being Cuban was always part of my life, but it was always about this dream our parents had about the way things used to be,” 34-year-old Daniel Jimenez, a former consultant and editor-in-chief at McKinsey & Company, and cofounder of the CubaOne Foundation, told Miami New Times. "But when I went I saw a place I wanted to know and to help. I saw people starting businesses and tech companies. I want to take part."
Although this trip sounds like a dream, traveling to Cuba has major restrictions especially those that are Cuban-American.
The U.S. Government warns that extra provisions are in place for Cuban-Americans because the "government of Cuba does not recognize the U.S. nationality of U.S. citizens who are Cuban-born or are the children of Cuban parents," CBS reports.
The Cuban government could seize the U.S. passports of Cuban-Americans and even draft them or their "children into the armed forces," The Miami-Herald reports.
But some are calling these travel advisories completely false.
Willy Allen, an immigration lawyer, said what the U.S. government is saying is misleading.
"Any child born of Cuban parents, born in the United States is an American. If they go to Cuba, they are considered to be American and go with American passports,” Allen said.
If you are interested in applying for the free trip to Cuba, click here.