Brides take note: apparently the cool thing to do right now is choose a honeymoon destination like Cuba where you can witness oppression “before there’s a Starbucks on every corner” and you can see all its “sexy, vintage style intact.”

At least, according to the free magazine Bloomgingdale’s is handing out to brides who register with them.

Destination Weddings & Honeymoons touts Cuba in their December 2013 “What’s Hot in 2014” issue as on the “Honeymoon Hot List.” The description appallingly glosses over the suffering of those living in Cuba by encouraging brides to purchase artwork while there so “you’ll have proof that you visited Cuba before it was legal”:

What’s Hot – It’s only a matter of time before the embargo ends and there’s a Starbucks on every corner. With more operators receiving “people to people” licenses, access to this forbidden country is slowly loosening up. If you want to see Cuba before there are vent Frappucinos all over Old Havana (i.e., with its sexy, vintage style intact), Insight Cuba offers package tours that include visits to live-music venues, bicycle-taxi tours and an antique-steam-train ride to nearby towns. Don’t forget to pick up some artwork while you’re there: You’ll have proof that you visited Cuba before it was legal. Now that’s something you can brag to your grandkids about.

Cuba is one of four countries designated by the State Department as a “State Sponsor of Terrorism.” We do not have formal diplomatic relations with the country. The people continue to live under horrific oppression and despite President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s previous overtures to ease travel, you are not supposed to travel unless you are there for a distinct purpose –essentially for educational or religious reasons — through what is called a “people to people” license. You can’t take part in “tourist activities,” for example. Odd choice for a honeymoon.

Friends of mine told me about a trip their synagogue took to Cuba where they showed up at the airport, representatives from the travel company gave them a small package to put in their bag, and when they arrived in Cuba they gave the package back. In this way they “checked the box” for traveling there and went on to view what they described as the “quaint cars” and “wonderful people.”

Sure the cars are cool and the people may have resilience even under the harshest of conditions, but let’s not go to gawk at their misery and call it “quaint.” Or as this magazine does, “sexy, vintage style.”

Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, and all these travel outfits encouraging misery tourism, celebrates flouting the law, encourages viewing people oppressed as “sexy, vintage style,” and presents Starbucks (and one assumes our dirty American capitalism) as something that will destroy your tourist experience.

Does editor Erike Hueneke think this is an appropriate way for brides to view their honeymoons–and does Bloomingdale’s really want to endorse this cavalier attitude toward suffering in their wedding gift bags?

This isn’t about your opinion about the effectiveness of the embargo; it’s about an American magazine encouraging breaking the law and making sure you get to view a suffering people before they become emancipated. Under the headline “What’s Hot.”

Not hot.


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