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On a trip to Havana to see her boyfriend in June, she ducked into a hotel in Havana to charge her phone when she saw Trump on TV, announcing his promised repeal of President Barack Obama’s Cuba policy.
“I thought, ‘This is just my luck,’ ” Leslie tells me, “I finally meet the dream person and there are going to be lots of obstacles if we ever seriously want to be together.” Leslie worried that she wouldn’t be able to travel back to Cuba. Embassy in Havana later announced that it would transfer services to Bogota, Colombia, although Herrera felt little relief.
Since Trump came to office, the odds have been stacked against them.
“These kind of relationships are less likely to emerge or become sustainable under these circumstances,” says Ana Lopez, director of the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute at Tulane University.
Pilles says that every woman she knows who has gone to Cuba has come back with “some sort of romantic story.” And now that visas for Cubans are in limbo, the future of these relationships is unclear.
Had Trump not halted diplomatic services and the interview gone according to plan, Andro would be in Portland.
But one day, Herrera and Andro were chatting when she suddenly burst into tears, realizing the connection she felt with him. 29, President Trump issued a travel warning and cut more than half the embassy staff because of alleged “sonic attacks,” in which sound waves can be used to cause physical problems.
Andro then acknowledged that he felt the same way, and they became a couple. They planned a special date night, and when he picked her up at her aunt’s house, he proposed in front of her extended family. That September day, however, a year of hopes shattered. According to the State Department, Americans suffered a series of inexplicable and mysterious attacks.
In response, she published the blog post “8 Things You Need to Know Before Dating a Cuban Papi and Ruining Your Life,” with wisdom such as: “If he hasn’t proposed to you, he doesn’t love you.” The exact number of Americans with long-distance Cuban partners is unknown.
But with recent increased contact came more opportunity for romance.
For the past year, they’ve had a long-distance relationship: he in Havana and she in Portland, Ore. Two days later, she was scheduled to travel to Cuba, where she and Andro had an interview at the U. Embassy for his K-1 visa, the category for a fiancé of a U. Neither the cause nor the source is known, and the Cuban government has denied any involvement.