HHS Students Plan Cuba Trip Before Nation is ‘Westernized’

Catedral de San Cristóbal, Havana, Cuba.

Chrisi and Phil Brown are organizing the Cuba trip.

Chrisi and Phil Brown are organizing the Cuba trip.

The United States flag began flying over Havana, Cuba, only last summer and President Obama next week plans to be the first sitting president visit to the island nation in almost 90 years. As ties between the two countries grow closer, one Haverhill High School history teacher wants students to visit Cuba before it becomes “westernized.”

E. Philip Brown, Haverhill High School history instructor, recently received permission to take students to Cuba during April vacation in 2017. He plans an informational session for parents and students at 6:30 p.m., next Thursday, March 24, at Haverhill High School.

“It’s a good time to see Cuba before it becomes westernized and there is a GAP or Starbucks on every corner. It will be a unique experience for students and adults. It will also be interesting to see all the old cars, crumbling colonial era buildings and propaganda posters.” Brown told WHAV this morning. He added, students will also learn about arts, education and daily life. Besides the usual museum visits and sightseeing tours, students will engage with average citizens up close by having lunches and dinners at their private homes which Brown describes as being “very cool!”

He has selected Education First (EF) Educational Tours to provide the itinerary. It includes eight days spread between Havana, Pinar del Rio, Matanzas and Mayabeque Province. Brown expects the tour to cost $2,900 for students and $3,400 for adults, but hopes advance fundraising will bring those costs down. He is working on trip arrangements with his wife Chrisi, a physical therapist with Haverhill Public Schools, but expects other faculty to join.

President Obama has fast tracked resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba, spurring more visits to the island. “Our flag flies over our Embassy in Havana once again. More Americans are traveling to Cuba than at any time in the last 50 years,” Obama said in a Twitter post last month. While educational tours continued through the Cold War period, Brown said, “I do feel more comfortable now that an embassy is open.” He said he tried previously to schedule a field trip to Cuba, but was denied.

While Republicans have expressed concern about the pace of normalizing diplomatic relations, Brown isn’t too worried about who might be occupying the White House next year. “Currents plans will definitely continue if a Democrat is elected whether Bernie or Hillary,” he said.

3 thoughts on “HHS Students Plan Cuba Trip Before Nation is ‘Westernized’

  1. The US is quite friendly and does business with some of the worst human rights violators on the planet..look at Saudi Arabia and China! Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world (more time to read since no mega-malls driving compulsive consumerism?) and was the first country to send a team of doctors to West Africa during the last Ebola crisis. Revolutions are born from inequity – unfortunately the new power often become corrupt as well, but the pre-Castro days were repressive and brutal for many.

  2. Problem is, that it is doubtful that any money spent in Cuba will benefit THE PEOPLE! OUR money will simply find its way into the coffers of THE CASTRO FAMILY; and what good will that do? The common folks will still be poor and wanting.

  3. I can’t even begin to imagine the ommissions and historical editing of Cuba’s history in Mr. Brown’s class.
    Westernization? Isn’t that cute….Talk about liberal indoctrinization!! Cuba is a Communist government run by a ruthless dictator who currently enslaves and punishes it’s own citizens who dare speak out against its government. The very Dictator who’s father before him initiated the Mariel Boatlift in 1980 and publicly bragged he “was emptying Cuba’s toilets” by dumping the folks in that country’s mental institutions and prisons of it’s most hardcore prisoners on the beaches of Florida….the end result being an out of control drug problem that lead to the deaths of thousands of Americans. Have you gone over that Mr. Brown??? Will you be connecting the dots of what communism looks like and the current US president who is taking America down that very path via state sponsored/controlled healthcare, welfare, school mandated lunch programs, out of control illegal executive orders, etc, etc? Mr. Brown has tried to get trips approved to Cuba in the past? What’s his personal fascination with this Communist country? Parents….any idea? Any of you concerned?

    “recently received permission”….from who? Did the school committee approve this?
    I’d be shocked given the liability of this trip if Jim Scully even knows about it.