The last four years, in comparison to the previous fifty, have seen considerable change in Cuba. In 2008, Fidel Castro stepped aside to allow his brother Raul to lead. At the same time, after a period of tight travel restrictions, the United States has made it easier for Cuban Americans to visit family and for Americans to travel legally to Cuba on cultural exchanges. This fall, President Raul Castro announced an impending end to much reviled exit visas Cubans must obtain in order to leave their own country legally for travel or work. These changes, along with experimental encouragement of private enterprise within Cuba, have renewed interest in the country and its relationship with the United States.
Cynthia Gorney, a contributing writer for National Geographic Magazine, visited the island earlier this year and will share her insights into the current situation inside Cuba.