New Orleans Musicians Thumb at President Trump’s Cuba Policy
New Orleans and Cuban brass musicians paraded joyously through Havana on Wednesday as part of the city's annual jazz festival and in defiance of the Trump administration's efforts to weaken U.S.-Cuba relations, the New York Times reports.
On a warm, blue-skied Caribbean day, passers-by joined in the conga or danced on the balconies above as the trumpeters, trombone and saxophone players marched through Havana's eclectic mix of colonial, art deco and art nouveau buildings.
Music has long formed a cultural bridge between Cuba and the United States regardless of the state of political relations, with Afro-Cuban rhythms like the habanera feeding into Afro-American music as early as the 19th century.
Cruises used to regularly connect New Orleans and Havana before Fidel Castro's 1959 leftist revolution that prompted the United States to cut off diplomatic relations and impose a trade and travel embargo on Cuba that exists to this day.
According to The New York Times, the visiting New Orleans musicians said they were frustrated it was so hard to come to Communist-run Cuba due to President Donald Trump's tightening of restrictions on U.S. travel to the Caribbean's largest island.
That tightening has hurt Cuba's tourism industry - one of the ailing economy's top earners of hard currency - that had benefited from a brief U.S.-Cuban detente between 2014 and 2016 under Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.