U.S.-Cuba Academic and Science-Based Exchanges

Prospects for a Two-Way Street

Over the past decade, as many as 2,500 American students a year have studied in Cuba. However, travel for Cubans to the United States is extremely limited. Since the revolution that replaced a petty dictator with a repressive, totalitarian government in 1959, the population has served as a captive labor force in which all able adults were expected to work for the state. In the past two years, that situation has begun to change as a result of the shift in leadership from Fidel Castro to his brother Raúl. The twist is that Cuban authorities remain deeply suspicious of any U.S. government involvement in exchanges and still worry about letting citizens travel to countries where they may be tempted to stay. More private and less U.S. government involvement in U.S.-Cuban exchanges may be a way to ease that logjam and make U.S.-Cuban exchanges more of a two-way street.

Stephen Johnson