Cuba wasn’t the problem; not telling the whole story was

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As someone who has traveled to Cuba more than once, I can definitely respond to the question raised in On the Spot: Yes, Cuba is worth the price [“Is Cuba Worth This Price?, by Catharine Hamm, Aug. 19]. But it seems to me that the headline was misleading:

Although it may have been the “Cuba” response that caused Global Entry to be denied, the actual issue was trying to avoid telling the truth. And that, in my humble opinion, is never worth the price.

Ruth Kramer Ziony

Los Feliz

I have been to Cuba on an approved program through Saddleback Community College. When I applied for Global Entry, I listed it on the places I’d traveled during the last five years. During my interview, I was told that although I was a participant in an approved people-to-people program, my Global Entry application would be delayed.


I was asked to provide the following information: what group I went with, my day-to-day itinerary and a list of my fellow travelers. After submitting this information, I received my Global Entry. I thought it was intrusive to submit a list of my fellow travelers, but I did so.

As Hamm surmised, Global Entry was probably denied to the couple in the column because they were not honest on their applications versus another reason.

By the way, our group’s visit happened to coincide with Barack Obama’s trip, which made talking to Cubans especially interesting.

Susan Wexler

I’m a community college French teacher and a Francophile, of course.

Peter Mandel’s piece was the best I’ve ever read on this subject [“Expat’s Guide to Paris Life,” July 29]. I will use his article in my fall French class.

Richard Goldsmith

Thousand Oaks

Capping a capitol tour

I relished Christopher Reynolds’ short piece on our beautiful California Capitol in Sacramento and the grounds surrounding it [“Visit Sacramento? It’s a Capital Idea,” California Bucket List, Aug. 12]. I have been visiting state capitols, starting with travel with our kids in the mid-’60s. We stopped to tour capitols wherever we found them (Boston; Richmond, Va.; Denver, etc.) and often went out of our way (Helena, Mont.). I visited a few on business (Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Atlanta), and then my husband and I got serious and took U.S. vacations picking up capitols and “micro” traveling around them. (Cheyenne, Wyo.; Pierre, S.D.; Bismark, N.D.; Augusta, Maine; Concord, N.H.; Montpelier, Vt.; etc.). Each visit involved a guided tour of the building.

Our sons will accompany me to Ohio and West Virginia for my 49th and 50th State Capitols. I’m thinking of a way to celebrate that! My husband has been to most of them with me, but he’s not compulsive and doesn’t mind missing a few. It’s been a wonderful education! History, architecture, government, people. All of that. And glorious memories.


Joy Picus