Will Americans & Russians get along in Cuba?

Will relations improve

Posted on January 7, 2017

Both the USA and Russia have long histories with Cuba. The island nation was once home to military and intelligence personnel from the USSR. Meanwhile, diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US have only recently been restored. Tourism from both the US and Russia has increased over the last couple of years. Many Russian tourists began choosing Cuba because their favoured spots were disrupted by the Arab Spring. They are also drawn to the last reminders of the Soviet presence in Cuba, such as the mock missiles present at several tourist sites.

While Russians began visiting Cuba more a few years ago, commercial flights to Cuba from the US only began in summer 2016. It is the first time regular commercial flights to Cuba have been available since the 1960s. Any Americans who want to visit Cuba must have a specific purpose for their trip, which falls within 12 categories. Many of these are related to work or education or visiting close family. It is also possible to take "people-to-people" trips, which are educational and must have a full program of activities.

Not only do both Russia and the US have long histories with Cuba, but they also have a complicated history with each other. As both Russians and Americans begin to visit Cuba more, some people might be concerned about whether tourists from the two countries can get along. One thing to remember is that both groups may keep to themselves while traveling. Different nationalities don't always mingle while in another country. However, if American and Russian tourists do come across each other, is there any chance that could spell trouble? It might be nice to think that travelers are worldly and open-minded. But many tourists could find it difficult to let go of their attitudes toward certain nations.

About 50% of Russians have a favourable view of the US. However, that doesn't mean that the rest hate America. It can mean anything from indifference to a range of positive or negative views. In the US, views of Russia are often coloured by Putin and many people's dislike for him. However, that doesn't necessarily translate to people disliking the Russian people. US relations with Russia may be about to change once Trump, who wants to get along with Putin, becomes president.

Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that both Russian and American tourists to Cuba are there to experience the country. While they might have certain attitudes towards each other's countries, they may not be all that likely to start discussing politics together. In fact, they might not even spend their trips to Cuba in the same places. Recent political events might have coloured people's perceptions of either country. However, it seems unlikely that this is going to lead to Russian and American tourists fighting with each other in Cuba. Perhaps they won't be best friends, but many people keep to themselves while traveling anyway. As both Russians and Americans visit Cuba more, they might come across each other more often. However, they should still be able to get along.

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