Travel ban cuts off cultural and musical exchange with Cuba

Posted on: February 11, 2010

Wednesday (2/10) on NewMusicBox.com, Liane Curtis writes, “My week and a half at the Festival de Música Contemporánea in Havana, Cuba (October 30-November 9, 2009) was much more than a musical education: it was a remarkable artistic immersion that left me sad and frustrated that the U.S. travel ban is depriving other Americans of access to this rich culture. I heard nine concerts over ten days, with about 80 pieces by 56 different composers. … Because of the economic embargo and travel ban, we have shut ourselves off culturally from Cuba, and thus we are deprived of some important and powerful music. U.S. composers are missing out on hearing this music, meeting Cuban composers and other musicians, and taking part in true cultural exchange. … There are certain exceptions to the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba; it is possible to visit Cuba for authorized research, journalism, and approved cultural exchange. But my travel agent … told me that attending this festival would not be one of them: attending a festival that is organized by Cubans would fall under the heading of helping the Cubans economically. Thus instead I went for my research purpose of interviewing women composers (which I did, very diligently).”

Posted February 11, 2010