Preparations for My Trip to the United States

Luis Rondon Paz

HAVANA TIMES — Arriving in the United States was a real shock for me, taking into account the new political tensions between the two countries and the current US president’s stance on Cuba, I thought, “well, here we go again, let’s spend 160 USD again to see the face of a person who will ask me the same questions and say that I don’t qualify for an entry permit to a country that is only 90 miles away from Havana.”

Much to my delight, after 15 minutes of questions and answers in front of the interviewer, I was finally given my visa.

I believe it’s important to highlight the fact that, this time I was in a completely different position, my passport now had two visas for trips abroad recorded in it, and my visibility on the Internet as a journalist had increased quite significantly. And my trip to one of the most developed countries on the face of this planet was to pursue the following goals:

1 – To provide the US people with objective information about Cuban reality, with a multi-layered and humanist approach.

2 – To strengthen ties with leaders of the LGBTQ movement in the US and other countries, to design communication strategies together, which ensure better results and in practice, during the lobby and persuasion process to people who decide the future of Cuba.

3 – To give visibility to the work of leaders who don’t form part of pro-government political forces and who are also doing excellent advocacy work in Cuban society.

4 – To publish my experiences on the Internet during my trip and share my learning in Cuba in the interest of strengthening personal empowerment and to reproduce information gained by using all of the media tools available to me.

I had previously gotten in touch with some activists from Cuba, who I had to contact again once in Washington DC. A city which I would visit in late July during my participation in a conference at the National Black Chamber of Commerce But anyhow, my visa had been given to stay 7 months in the United States, and so I decided to leave a month in advance so that I could get to know several cities before appearing at the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

This is my opportunity to get to know just how true what people who come to Cuba say about the United States, how true what pro-government media in my country says in contrast to what foreign media tells us, I thought to myself as I looked at my passport with the visa to the US.

Everything was almost ready for me to go, but I couldn’t yet, I still needed to apply for a visa to travel to Canada, as I had been invited to work as a journalist during Gay Pride in August in the province of Montreal, Quebec. An important point on my Gay agenda abroad. It’s important to add the fact that the Canadian Embassy in Cuba doesn’t do interviews except for in special circumstances, luckily everything worked out fine. In Canada, my contacts already had everything ready for my arrival in August. And in the United States, everything was all ready for my arrival in late June too. All I had to do now was buy my plane ticket, and fly to the US!

To be continued…

7 thoughts on “Preparations for My Trip to the United States

  • Bon Voyage!!! I hope you enjoy your Stay in The United States of America…WELCOME!!!

  • Family is personal/romantic, the Government does not differentiate. Those entries have always been difficult. Having a large age gap makes it even more complicated.

    I doubt very much that the OPer is a journalist “authorized” by the Cuban government, but he has enough of an internet presence that he could satisfy the requirements. It’s also a huge advantage to be working within the LGBTQ movement.

  • Note Eden that referred specifically to the TRV (Temporary Residents Visa). Note my comments were also related to family, not to romantic visits.
    I do not know whether the author of the article Luis Rondon Pas is a recognized Cuban journalist (in which case he would be employed by the state), or merely describes himself as one.
    My experiences of the Canadian Embassy in Havana, go back quite a few years. I can openly state that they have lied, and that would be confirmed by a former Member of the Canadian Government, note, not merely an M.P.

  • It’s much easier for a Cuban to receive an entry visa for Canada when it’s in a professional capacity as opposed to romantic/personal. I’ve had many Cuban friends/acquaintances gain entry under the former situation, no problems whatsoever.

    With the US finally dropping their ridiculous wet foot/dry foot immigration policy it should now be much easier to bring a Cuban to Canada on a personal visa though.

  • Thanks for the information about the Canadian visa (TRV) Luis. My wife’s applications for one to spend a few weeks in Canada with me were rejected five times. My stepdaughter – a law graduate of Havana University has had her applications to visit, rejected three times.
    You enable me to assess the priorities and preferences of the Canadian Government to which I pay taxes.

  • I hope you enjoy your visit to Canada! Welcome!

  • “… To provide the US people with objective information about Cuban reality, with a multi-layered and humanist approach…”

    Good luck with that.

    Happy travels.

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