Cuban Americans

Love, Loss and Longing - book about Cuban Americans’ travel restrictions

Posted August 20, 2007 by publisher in Cuban Americans.

Love, Loss and Longing: the Impact of U.S. Travel Policy on Cuban-American Families

“What are the real family values when we keep families away from each other?” Reverend Mari Castellanos, Cuban American, Washington, DC

U.S. travel policy has separated Cuban Americans from their families on the island for nearly 50 years, but new regulations put in place in 2004 reached a new height of cruelty for the Cuban-American community. In 2004, the Bush Administration reduced the number of times Cuban Americans are permitted to visit their families in Cuba from once every year to once every three years, with no exception for family emergencies. The new restrictions also narrowly redefined family to include only grandparents, parents, siblings, and children; other relatives are no longer considered “family.” Family is a key part of the Cuban culture and the U.S. government’s restrictions on family travel and remittances have done irreparable harm to families in the U.S. and in Cuba.

The book, Love, Loss and Longing: The Impact of U.S. Travel Policy on Cuban-American Families, is a joint publication of the Latin America Working Group Education Fund and the Washington Office on Latin America, based on a photo exhibit that has toured the country. The exhibit opened in the Rayburn House Office Building in March 2006 sponsored by the bipartisan House Cuba Working Group. After the opening, the exhibit’s national tour began in Arlington, VA, and continued on to: Baltimore, MD; Minneapolis, MN; Dayton and Yellow Springs, OH; Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Devon, PA; Jackson Hole, WY; Oakland and Sacramento, CA; Newark, NJ; several venues in Chicago and suburbs, IL; Miami, FL; Cambridge, MA; Crystal City, VA; New York, NY; Bloomington, IN; and Mobile, AL.

The photo exhibit’s extraordinary showing at Tinta y Café in the heart of Little Havana in Miami illustrated that Cuban Americans want to see change in U.S. policy towards the island. Contrary to long-held perceptions about the Cuban-American community in Miami, the majority of Cuban Americans support engagement with Cuba and an end to the travel ban. A 2007 Florida International University poll of Cuban Americans in south Florida found that 64 percent favor lifting the current restrictions on family travel and returning to the pre-2004 regulations; 65 percent support beginning dialogue with the island; and an amazing 55 percent support allowing unrestricted travel to the island. This year’s FIU poll found the lowest support for the embargo among Cuban Americans ever recorded.

Although the family separation caused by U.S. policy is undoubtedly the cruelest part of the travel ban, countless other Americans are also impacted by the travel restrictions. Universities across the U.S. have lost licenses to send students to study in Cuba; farmers are losing out on potential sales of agricultural products worth about $300 million annually; humanitarian organizations have lost licenses to support ordinary Cubans and those in special need; religious organizations are now unable to fulfill their global mission or commune with their faith partners on the island; and the United States has lost an opportunity to play a positive role in this time of transition for the island.

To order your copy of the Love, Loss and Longing book, please contact Claire Rodriguez at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 202.546.7010. To preview the book, log onto

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with a LAWG or WOLA staff person, please call Claire Rodriguez at 202.546.7010 or e-mail Claire at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Member Comments

On August 24, 2007, cuba wrote:

” In 2004, the Bush Administration reduced the number of times Cuban Americans are permitted to visit their families in Cuba ” Another stupid move by Bush. The more Cuban Americans to visit, more Cubans in Cuba to be enlightened. The Evil Empire strikes again.

On August 31, 2007, alonsorm wrote:

” In 2004, the Bush Administration reduced the number of times Cuban Americans are permitted to visit their families in Cuba “ Personally i’m not at all sure if this is entirly a bad thing. I mean one of Cuba’s main or major industries is tourism, racking in millions for a government that is just corrupt and completley against anything democratic. As a Cuban- American i tend to beleive more and more that Cubans today arn’t entirly going back to visit family, but rather for other reasons as sad as that may be. So all in all anything that seem to demolish or any way challenge the Cuban government is all right with me.

On September 02, 2007, Lee wrote:

Is it also alright with you that eleven million of your countrymen are suffering needlessly because of YOUR embargo. I’m an American, how dare you come to my country and take away my civil rights. read American history, this is not what we’re about.

On September 03, 2007, cuba wrote:

Lee What are you talking about

On September 03, 2007, Lee wrote:

that the embargo is wrong, illegal and immoral on two fronts. it steps on the rights of Americans to travel freely. More importantly it contributes to the suffering of my friends in Cuba. it also keeps my wife from visiting her aunt who has cancer.

Mine was a follow up on Alonsorm

On September 04, 2007, publisher wrote:

We just received two copies of this high quality publication and must say that it is very well designed.

It is just under 50 pages, soft cover and full size 8 1/2” x 11”.

The full title is Love, Loss and Longing. The impact of US Travel policy on Cuban-American Families.

Foreword by Wayne Smith with letters from Congressmen Jeff Flake and Charles Rangle and Senator Mike Enzi.

Written by Jeanne Parr and David Strug.

There are a few pages about the travel restrictions’ effect on Cuban American families but most pages feature a full page of quotes in English and Spanish by former residents of Cuba now living in the United States along with their full page photo.

To order your copy of the Love, Loss and Longing book, please contact Claire Rodriguez at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 202.546.7010. To preview the book, log onto

I have one extra copy that I am happy to mail out to the first person who requests it.

Simply click on the email address in the footer and send us your mailing information. (US address only please)

On September 04, 2007, publisher wrote:

Copy has been claimed and will be mailed out tomorrow.

On September 04, 2007, alonsorm wrote:

I am also American ( My parents are Cuban), and i am also very aware of my countries history! Although i completley understand when you say the embargo takes away OUR civil rights, i strongly disagree that the embargo is what making the Cuban people suffer. The people suffer because they are oppressed by the Cuban government and nothing more.

On September 04, 2007, publisher wrote:

The Embargo is a tool that Castro uses all the time. Whether he is justified or he has used it as an excuse for his failures for over four decades.

On September 04, 2007, cuba wrote:

Lee I have to agree with you.

It just makes the Cubans in Cuba with American Cuban families suffer more indirectly. The other Cubans could not care less about America. No matter what the American policy. The only thing the American embargo has done is make the Cubans of Cuba with American Cuban families hate American leaders more.  Also take into account Cubans are all over the world now, the ones that are not in America have the freedom to send as much money they want to families in Cuba also visit anytime. Sorry to hear about your wife’s aunt. Welcome to the land of the free.

On September 04, 2007, publisher wrote:

Maybe the young Cuban Americans should protest against the old Cuban Americans. President Bush just does what the old Cuban Americans tell him.

Simple as that.

On September 05, 2007, alonsorm wrote:

See i disagree i dont think that Cubans hate Americans because of our policy, yet again i would have to blame the Cuban government for any hatred towards us. Have you honestly ever heard any of Fidel Castro many speeches, “Yankees this, Yankees that” i mean the man honestly hates us and our leaders.  The embargo is just a tool the cuban government utilizes to blame all of their financial burdens on us.

Even though this embargo makes it hard to visit are loves ones, i HONESTLY beleive its what s best but then again thats just my personal opinon.

On September 05, 2007, lee wrote:

alonsorm due to my passion i owe you an apology.
i did not mean to insinuate that cuban/americans are not americans,
but that the embargo is a product of cuban/americans alone.
if you’ve been to your parents homeland i assure you, you would see things different. certainly that coward Fidel must take full responsibility for raping the soul of cuba. But, the lack of medicine and many other basic things are directly due to the embargo. The cubans I’ve meet in cuba hunger for contact with the US. and many experts believe that Fidel would have been ousted decades ago if not for the embargo, it’s his personal scapegoat.