If you were fortunate to attend this year’s Latino Theatre festivals in Miami and Chicago you might have noticed something unusual: Cuban theater groups performing. If you saw Cuban, Silvio Rodriguez perform at Carnegie Hall last month and wondered when was the last time he performed on U.S. soil, it was thirty years ago. In Havana, a Cuban-America production of “Blind Mouth Singing” is held in front of a very receptive audience. These artists, as well as other actors, playwrights, musicians and academics, are expanding their audience as more cultural visa’s to and from Cuba are issued.
Under the Bush Administration cultural exchanges between the countries were restricted and fewer visas were issues. These restrictions were part of an enforcement of the 49 year old embargo with Cuba. Under President Obama visas for cultural purposes are flowing again. The restrictions have been eased as the Senate prepares to vote on eliminating travel restrictions for Americans to Cuba. Currently Cuban-Americans families are allowed to travel freely to visit family on the island.