Cuba 2021



December 04-11, 2021: Cuba

Join CODEPINK’s trip to Cuba. You’ll have great fun learning about this unique island, while supporting the Cuban people and exploring humanitarian projects in Cuba.

We’ll visit rural farms and urban co-ops, listen to some of the island’s best musicians, visit the homes of fantastic artists, tour the medical school that trains students from around the world, meet with community activists, hear from brilliant professors and inspiring students, get a spectacular tour of Havana,  and more!

This trip will be dedicated to the peace and social justice activist Jack Libermann

This is also a rare chance to see Cuba through the eyes of some amazing trip leaders, including:

  • Teri Mattson, CODEPINK Latin America Campaign coordinator and host of WTF is Going on in Latin America & the Caribbean. Introduced to Mesoamerican Anthropology and Archaeology in the sixth grade, Teri's lifelong passion for Latin America has inspired 40+ years of travel throughout the region. The last few years include organizing and/or participating in electoral, political and social justice delegations to: Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
  • Rodrigo Gonzalez, director of the educational and research center Proximity Cuba, has organized unique people-to-people exchanges in Cuba for 20 years. 

Please note:  All travelers must bring along a Covid-19 vaccination certificate and a certified proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel from an accredited testing center. All travelers will also have to present upon arrival a completed mandatory health declaration form (Declaración de sanidad del viajero).

If you can’t join our delegations but want to help, consider the following two options:

  • First, you can donate to defray the cost of travel to help students, low-income individuals and/or people of color get a scholarship to join the delegation
  • Second, you can join us in telling President Biden to listen to the world community, lift the Trump sanctions, end the blockade and normalize relations with Cuba!

You won’t want to miss this amazing travel opportunity!

Make a non-refundable $500 deposit here. Reserve your spot here

Still have questions? Check out our FAQ below or email [email protected]

*Cost per traveler based on 10 - 15 fully paid participant. A few scholarships are available!

 Room Type Hotel Vedado
Double room occupancy $1,900
Single room occupancy $2,100

 

Program Cost Includes: 

Accommodations at hotel in Havana, Cuba for seven (7) nights; 
Breakfast every day and seven (7) additional meals (either lunch or dinner) 
A farewell dinner and cocktail party with Cuban guests; 
One (1) large bottle, or two (2) small bottles of water per participant upon arrival at the airport; 
Ground transportation to and from the airport; 
Ground transportation for all scheduled activities in Havana, Cuba; 
Program coordination as it is indicated in the tentative itinerary;
Entrance and program fees and expenses associated with scheduled activities; 
Guided visits and cultural activities included in the program; 
Fees/honoraria for professors, lecturers, and institutions including a donation to two community projects; 
Expenses for activities in Cuba including providers (coordinator, guides, drivers and others); 
Translations and expert guides

  Program Cost does not include: 

Domestic and/or International flights airfare and travel expenses to and from US to Havana; 
Health Insurance (now it is included in the airfare); 
Cuban Visa for participants; 
Meals and drinks not included in the Program as indicated in the itinerary;
Gratuities or Honoraria in addition to those included in the program cost;
Personal items/expenses; or 
Optional and/or unscheduled activities 

 

Day Activities 
Friday, December 3, 2021

Optional early arrival for those travelers who would like to rest at the hotel before the program begins

(extra fee applies)

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Arrival in Havana

Airport transfer to the hotel

Welcome dinner at the hotel (included)

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Breakfast at the hotel

Orientation meeting with coordinators

City tour – Walking tour in Old Havana and drive tour in Vedado and Miramar districts – Lunch included in the city

Monday, December 6, 2021

Breakfast at the hotel

Visit the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) to learn about non-governmental organizations in Cuba.

Lunch included in the city

Meeting with public health specialists to discuss on how Cuba is containing the Covid-19 pandemic, the vaccination process, international health collaboration and vaccine production programs

Evening CDR meeting with neighborhood organization to celebrate their anniversary

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Breakfast at the hotel

Visit to a private agricultural cooperative in Artemisa, meet with members and walk around the organic farm

Lunch (included) at the “Julio A. Mella” camping site

Visit the Alba community theater and meet with two grassroots and independent projects: Espiral and Okan-Tomi. The community project Espiral is dedicated to environmental education and community empowerment, following the methodology of popular education. Meet with around 20 members, mostly young professionals and students to exchange about their community work and discuss various issues. 

Okan-Tomi is a cultural community project that explores and reworks Afro-Cuban dances and music. They run music and dance workshops for children in their community. 

We will donate material aid and explore a possible humanitarian project

Cultural performance with Okan-Tomi, music and dance

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Visit the Senior Citizen University Program at the University of Habana and meet with educators and senior citizens.

Lunch (included) in a private restaurant

Visit the street cultural project Callejón de Hammel and meet with cultural activist Elias Asset and pay tribute to the artist Salvador González Escalona who recently passed away.

Meeting with representatives of the National Center for Sexual Education

 Thursday, December 9, 2021

Visit to the non-governmental organization Martin Luther King Jr. Center and meet with community activists following Popular Education methodology. After an initial presentation by the director and political activist Joel Suarez, visit the grassroots projects that empower civil society in the working class district of Marianao. We will donate material aid and explore a possible humanitarian project

Lunch at José Fuster’s Art studio (included)

Walk around the community and visit the community cultural projects sponsored by artists and ceramist José Fuster.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Possible meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Havana 

Tribute to social and political activist Jack Libermman, friends and relatives will place a plate on his memory

Visit the fishermen town of Cojimar where Ernest Hemmingway was inspired to write the Old Man and the Sea

Lunch at Ajiaco, considered one of the best restaurants in Havana because of the promotion of Cuban “creole” cuisine and their commitment with their workers and the community of Cojimar.

Visit the community project Granjita Feliz in Guanabacoa, they promote urban gardening and healthy food among children with down syndrome. We will donate material aid and explore a possible humanitarian project

Farewell dinner and cocktail party

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Return to the States

 

What do I need to do before leaving for the Cuba trip?

  1. Fill out a participant registration, a visa application, and a travel affidavit. You will receive these forms from Proximity Cuba. You will also need to send Teri a copy of the main page of your passport

  2. Make a non-refundable $500 deposit by October 31, 2021 here and then pay in full (also non-refundable) by November 19, 2021 here. 

  3. Get your plane ticket to and from Havana and send Teri your travel itinerary 

What type of payment is accepted?

TBD

What does the payment include?

  • Accommodations at hotel in Havana, Cuba for seven (7) nights; 
  • Breakfast every day and seven (7) additional meals (either lunch or dinner) 
  • A farewell dinner and cocktail party with Cuban guests; 
  • One (1) large bottle, or two (2) small bottles of water per participant upon arrival at the airport; 
  • Ground transportation to and from the airport; 
  • Ground transportation for all scheduled activities in Havana, Cuba; 
  • Program coordination as it is indicated in the tentative itinerary;
  • Entrance and program fees and expenses associated with scheduled activities; 
  • Guided visits and cultural activities included in the program; 
  • Fees/honoraria for professors, lecturers, and institutions including a donation to two community projects; 
  • Expenses for activities in Cuba including providers (coordinator, guides, drivers and others); 
  • Translations and expert guides

What is not included?

  • Domestic and/or International flights airfare and travel expenses to and from US to Havana; 
  • Health Insurance (now it is included in the airfare);
  • Cuban Visa for participants;
  • Meals and drinks not included in the Program as indicated in the itinerary;
  • Gratuities or Honoraria in addition to those included in the program cost;
  • Personal items/expenses; or
  • Optional and/or unscheduled activities 

What documents do I need to bring with me?

- A valid passport, a Covid-19 vaccination certificate and a certified proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel from an accredited testing center. You MUST have these to get on the flight.

What happens if I miss the flight to Havana?

Try to get on a flight the next day, and let us know asap.

How can I get in touch with other delegates before the trip?

We will create a Whatsapp group before the trip for delegates to connect with one another! We will also create an email listserv for delegates who are not active on Whatsapp

Do we need any special vaccinations or immunizations? What if we get sick?

A Covid-19 vaccination certificate is required for travel to Cuba. Health insurance is also required for all for tourists to Cuba. The fee for this is included with your plane ticket and this will cover you for any medical emergency. The health system is good, so you will be well taken care of in case of an emergency.

What should we wear/pack?

The temperature varies from about 66-82 degrees Fahrenheit in December, and rain is likely. Make sure to bring all toiletries and medications you may need -- because of the U.S blockade, they will be challenging to find in Cuba. There is no dress code for the trip, so bring whatever you are the most comfortable in. 

Must haves:

  • Your passport
  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate
  • A certified proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel from an accredited testing center.
  • Enough U.S. cash to last you the week (we will convert to Cuban CUCs once in the country)
  • Any medication you use
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste)
  • Sun-hat, visor, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • One set of nice clothes for high-level meetings (no need to be very professional, but bring something presentable!)
  • One pair of comfortable shoes for city walking tours

Some things to consider packing:

  • Aspirin, pepto bismol, or immodium just in case
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Day pack
  • A notebook and pen
  • Light sweater for the evenings
  • Dancing outfits if you choose to go dancing
  • Ear plugs (in case you are a light sleeper and your roommate snores)
  • Pink clothing! :)

How much money should we bring?

You will only be able to use cash in Cuba, which means you must withdraw enough for the whole trip before we leave for Havana. In Cuba you can’t use US credit cards (cards from any other country are fine). You should get your bills from the bank in the U.S. so that they are unmarked and clean. Try to bring 50s, 20s, and 10s. Money will be changed once we land in Havana. Money can be changed at the airport in Havana, as well as at most hotels in the city.

US dollars will be exchange to CUC, which is the Cuban convertible currency used for tourists. Locals will use the peso, but you will not need to do so. CUCs are generally accepted everywhere. The American dollar is not widely used.

Below is a list of items/activities that you must need money for, and might need money for. We recommend that you bring a minimum of $200 to cover the basic (meals not covered, tips and water), but depending on your spending habits and possible extra purchases, you can gauge how much to bring.

Must have money for:

  • tip for bus drivers and tour guides
  • One meal each day (breakfast and 1 additional meal is included -either lunch or dinner- so you will need money for the remaining meal)
  • Bottled water (it is not advisable to drink tap water, so we strongly encourage everyone to purchase bottled water throughout the trip)

Might need money for:

  • Other beverages
  • Private excursions / optional cultural activities separate from the group (evening shows, the ballet, museums not included in the program, etc.)
  • Transportation if you go off on your own (the public transportation is very unreliable, but taxis are easy to find and affordable)
  • Shopping! There will be lots of artwork, gifts, cigars, and rums to purchase for yourself or friends back home, so make sure to budget accordingly!

Should we bring gifts or presents for Cubans?

It's always nice to have something to give to people you meet or even for the folks in the hotels. Some suggestions are school supplies and art supplies, a thumb drive for computers, first aid over-the-counter pills (aspirin, ibuprofen), baseballs, small garden tools, and strings for musical instruments. If you would like us to give them to the Cubans, please give them to a trip leader once we arrive. If you would like to give them to the Cubans yourselves, remember to bring them along to your activities each day.

What is the electrical voltage and what plugs do they use?

The plugs are the same as American plugs! The voltage is usually 110, like in the US. Hotel Vedado is 220 volts. All iPhones, iPads, and laptops use now up to 240 volts. The only problem you will have is with hairdryers. Some of the plugs are the old-fashioned 2-prong outlets so you might want to bring an adapter plug (3-prong to 2-prong).

Will all the meetings be translated?

Yes, everything will be translated to English.

Can we drink the water?

You should drink bottled water during your stay in Cuba. It is available in stores throughout the island and in the hotels. For those of you with environmental concerns regarding the use of bottled water, an alternative is to bring with you a water purifier or tablets– the kind used for backpacking in regions where the water is impure. We encourage you to buy large bottles of water and fill up your individual bottle as needed.

Will there be documentation of the trip?

We encourage participants to share their best photos and videos. 

What else can we do on our return?

In addition to giving talks and contacting the press, you can also help pushing your elected officials to lift the restrictions on travel to Cuba and the other economic sanctions. We’ll provide you will information on your return.

We recommend that you spend some time researching the economic and political situation of Cuba, as well as Cuba-US relations. We will be meeting with politicians, local activists, doctors, journalists, professors, and other experts on our trip. It is important to have a base level understanding of the history and current political context of Cuba to get the most out of our meetings.

Some articles:

The hidden hand of the US blockade sparks Cuba protests, by Medea Benjamin and Leonardo Flores

The United States Tries to Take Advantage of the Price Cubans Are Paying for the Blockade and the Pandemic, by Vijay Prashad and Manolo De Los Santos

Carlos Lazo: The Cuban American Leading the Charge to Transform U.S.-Cuba Policy, by Medea Benjamin

We Should Applaud the Cuban Health System — and Learn From It, by Medea Benjamin

Distortions and Attempts to Undermine the Cuban Medical Brigades Will Not Succeed, byBill Hackwell

Cuba: A Brief History of 60 Years of Internationalism in Health.by Marinella Correggia.

CODEPINK Statement on Cuba Demonstrations

Videos:

Webinars:

Books

  • Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana by Peter Kornbluh
  • The Lonely Planet Guide to Cuba (2013)
  • The Cuba Reader edited by Aviva Chomsky, Barry Carr and Pamela Maria Smorkaloff
  • Eyewitness Guide to Cuba
  • Wonderful Havana by Julie Napier
  • Cuban Revelations: Behind the Scenes in Havana by Marc Frank (2013)
  • Cuba: Between Reform & Revolution by Lou Perez

Be patient and flexible: Traveling in any group presents challenges, and this is especially true in such a large group. Number one requirement to make this a great experience is PATIENCE. Number two requirement is FLEXIBILITY. Plans change at the last minute. Speakers don’t show up. Buses break down. Make the best of these snafus by making new friends in the group, leading us in song, telling jokes. Have fun and bring up the spirits of the others, especially the grumpy ones!

Be courteous: Please be courteous to your fellow participants, our country hosts, guides, translators, waiters and hotel staff and those Cubans who choose to make presentations to our group. If a difficult situation should arise, try to think in terms of how you, as a member of the group, can contribute to a solution.

Respect and help the trip leaders: All of the trip leaders, both in the US and Cuba, have been working very hard to put this trip together, and will be working REALLY hard during the trip. Many of the US trip leaders are not only volunteers, but have actually paid their own way!!! Please give all the trip leaders thanks, encouragement and assistance. For reasons of safety or for the interest of the group, there may also be times when the group leaders will advise against a particular action. Please respect their request.

Be punctual: Please try to be at our meeting places on time. Being mindful about punctuality will ensure that the group isn’t late and/or you won’t be inadvertently left behind. If you miss an event you signed up for because you were late, take it as an opportunity to do something else, like join another group or take a stroll along the Malecon (the famous boulevard along the ocean)

Respect different political views: Please remember that we are guests in Cuba, a country with a different culture from that of the US, with a different (although intertwined) history. It is best to approach each new situation with an open mind. You are not there to convince either the other participants or the Cubans that Cuba (or the US) are really great or really terrible. You’re there to learn, exchange ideas and have a good time. And remember: there are very different political viewpoints among Cubans, and among the trip participants. During this trip, you'll be hearing the pro-government side at many of our official visits. Some of your best information about everyday life in Cuba can come from interactions with your guides, the informal evening sessions, and conversations you might strike up with people on the street.

"Everything was over the top great. The itinerary was unbelievably full, fascinating and generous and I loved it!" --Lynn Delaney from Oakland CA

"I honestly cannot think of a thing that could be better. The leadership was amazing and creative... We were always engaged and involved through the whole trip." --Natalie Shiras of Lee MA

"I loved the CODEPINK trip to Cuba that you planned and organized which exceeded any and all of my expectations... The trip was an eye-opener and so stimulating in every way. I so much enjoyed the guides, who were all so patient, knowledgeable, well spoken, and generous, the Cuban people we met, and all of your support team involved." --Anthony Rago of Climax NY

"When I look back I'm amazed by how much we did in a short time.  The presentations and meetings were excellent." --Molly Murdey of Porland OR

2019 delegation


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