New York Philharmonic’s Cuba trip abandoned

By Daily Maverick Legacy 5 October 2009

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra is no longer going to Cuba because its sponsors could not travel with the musicians. The orchestra said, “The postponement is due to existing US government restrictions on travel to Cuba”. The sponsors were a crucial part of this trip that would have followed the orchestra’s successful visit to North Korea in 2008. The orchestra said the Obama administration supported its plans, but long-standing restrictions on travel of US citizens to Cuba, stemming from the trade embargo that began 47 years ago, made it impossible for the sponsors to go. The orchestra explained that according to US authorities, no travel permit category existed for them. A weak cop-out when 150 patrons and supporters had pledged $10,000 each to take the trip. The sponsor ban leaves a somewhat sour note after Obama’s recent easing of travel restrictions for Cuban-Americans to go to Cuba, but his administration has added that the overall embargo stays until democratic reforms occur. Curiously, this cancellation follows a recent visit to Cuba by a mid-level official to begin finding some common ground between the two nations. Too bad Cuba’s so much closer, but so much worse than North Korea.

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