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0000017b-35e5-df5e-a97b-35edaf910000Interest in Cuba has surged since the Obama administration’s announcement of a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations. Opportunities may exist to build trade with the communist island nation, with exports of both manufactured and agricultural goods. And “I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba,” is a refrain that may help spur tourism between Michigan and the “Pearl of the Antilles.” Michigan Radio has two journalists in Cuba to tell some of the stories of Michigan’s connections to the Caribbean nation.

Cuba is hot, and Michigan Radio will tell you why

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It’s no secret Cuba is hot.

Tourism is up 15% since just last year, when the Obama and Castro administrations announced an historic rapprochement.

This article by Oliver Wainwright describes “droves” of people visiting Havana.  He writes, “it can now be hard to move for the throngs of package tour groups.”

My colleague, Mercedes Mejia, tells me that's not how she remembers Havana when she was there 14 years ago. She says, "I felt like we were literally the only group in town."

U.S. citizens have always been able to travel to Cuba under the 12 ways you can legally visit. But now, more and more people-to-people excursions are popping up.

And there’s a thought that people want to see Cuba before it gets destroyed by tourists and commercial interests and chain restaurants.

Everyone wants a slice of the pie, and so do Michigan interest groups, from the agriculture industry to automotive to academics.

We will be traveling to Cuba over the next two weeks and will bring you stories when we return. Along the way we’ll ask people what they know about Michigan.  And perhaps learn a few things from them.

You can follow all of our Cuba coverage here.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
Mercedes Mejia is a producer and the Director of Stateside.