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Re-Establishing Diplomatic Ties with Cuba Will Change the Arts >>

The restoration of diplomatic and commercial ties between the United States and Cuba will not only hit us politically but will also have a profound effect on music and the arts. Though battling bureaucratic laws, the cultural exchange between the U.S. and Cuba has not been lost in recent years. Even before this week’s announcement, musicians have been traveling to perform in the previous out-of-bounds nation. Arturo O’Farrill, a New Yorker, was performing at the Havana International Jazz Festival with his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, while Cuban flutist Maraca was in New York preparing to play this weekend at Jazz at Lincoln Center. President Barack Obama’s “new approach” to Cuban policy will make it easier for American artists to travel to Cuba to perform and vice versa. Cuba could even plausibly become a profitable tourist destination for the first time in five decades. The new policy can end need for time-consuming security checks that often leave Cubans who want to perform in the United States in limbo. Easing commercial restrictions could allow American presenters to begin paying fees to the Cuban artists they bring to the United States, who by law are now allowed only smaller per diem payments and travel reimbursements.

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