Once this election season is over I look forward to returning to reporting from Cuba  on what’s new, what’s hot, etc.
Meanwhile, with the presidential election just one month away, currently—as ever with Cuba—it’s all about politics.
This year has been a real roller-coaster when it comes to issues of U.S. regulations regarding freedom to travel to Cuba , with the adrenalin-charged thrill of the downhill ride (read: easing of restrictions) tempered by the inevitable uphill braking (read: reinstitution of obstacles courtesy of arch anti-Castro Republican congressional representatives; for a concise explanation, see Cuba Central's recent blog post  "On the Freedom to Travel").
Thus, last month it became apparent that OFAC  (Office of Foreign Assets Control) was holding up applications for licenses and renewal of licenses (which are good for 12 months) by companies wishing to take U.S. citizens to Cuba on “people-to-people” (P2P) exchange programs. Any and every U.S. citizen is eligible to travel to Cuba as a participant in P2P programs.
Ellen Craeger explained the scenario in her excellent piece in the Detroit Free Press.
This past week we learned (from Laura Bly in USA Today ) that the log-jam may have been relieved and that OFAC is once again adhering to the spirit of the law as intended by President Obama  when he reinstated the Clinton -era P2P provision.
Several companies and non-profit foundations last week received the green light, including the Fund for Reconciliation and Development  (FRD), which had been denied on six previous applications. And one company was issued a license good for 24 months—truly a rare event!
As FRD founder John McAuliffe explains: “OFAC's turnaround is tremendously important. Perhaps someone from the [Obama] administration made it clear that OFAC was responsible to the President's vision not the efforts of Sen. [Marco] Rubio , et. al. to sabotage them. The many news articles in mass media and travel trade publications, the widespread sense of outrage, the on-line petitions and the concern expressed by House and Senate staff directly to OFAC no doubt contributed to the decision.”
Now I’m hopeful that National Geographic Expeditions will soon be notified that its request for renewal has been approved (its previous license expired in August), and that this winter or coming spring I’ll see you on one of the company's “Cuba: Discovering its People and Culture”  tours, which I lead.
Meanwhile, motorcyclists can join me on a one-of-a-kind 10- or 15-day motorcycle tour of Cuba this winter with Texas-based MotoDiscovery .
And stay tuned for a special music-themed tour of Cuba that I am putting together, and will be escorting next spring, with my friend and musical impresario Dr. Vanessa Sheldon , a renowned harpist and Dean of Arts & Humanities at the newly launched World Education University .
So join me this year in Cuba!
Now that you’re ready to travel to Cuba, buy Moon Handbook Cuba 
For further information on Havana, buy Moon Spotlight Havana .
Learn more about Christopher P. Baker .
Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see in Cuba & Costa Rica Journal are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly
Copyright © Christopher P. Baker