Cuba suffers privations that tourism helps offset

Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas leaves from Havana on June 5, the day new Cuba rules went into effect.
Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas leaves from Havana on June 5, the day new Cuba rules went into effect.
(Adalberto Roque / AFP/Getty Images)

“A New Policy on Cuba Forces Itinerary Changes,” Need to Know by Mary Forgione, June 9, raises this observation: I have just returned from a people-to-people group tour in Cuba, and I find it unfathomable that this poor, barely surviving island, trying to provide an economy for its people, could possibly have a “destabilizing role in the Western Hemisphere.”

Tourists who buy food, liquor, souvenirs, toys and trinkets must convert their currency to Cuban CUCs, so it’s difficult for me to swallow the notion that American money is finding its way into the hands of the “military” and “intelligence.”

Jerome V. Posell



Positions on GPS

Re: “Best Ways to Navigate, from High Tech to Low,” On the Spot by Catharine Hamm, June 2: I have used the Garmin Nuvi 2559LMT GPS unit for several years while driving in North America and Europe. Maps for both continents are included.

This unit includes map updates by computer and travel warnings where available. It has performed well and is easy to transfer from car to car. Because it’s satellite-based, the system works virtually everywhere without the necessity of a cellular signal.

Peter L. Haaker




A few years ago my husband and I booked a trip to Ireland, which included a rental car. We chose not to pick up the car at the airport because our first stop was Dublin, where we wouldn’t need a car and did not want to navigate city traffic.

When we returned to the airport to pick up the car, the fellow at the counter convinced my husband that we needed a Garmin. I had armed myself with the latest maps from AAA, guide books, train schedules, etc. and I didn’t need or want the Garmin. I am an old-fashioned map-lover and could not imagine some strange voice telling me where to go.

I took the Garmin, against my better judgment, and the fellow programmed it to guide us to the charming town of Killarney, an easy trip according to my map.


After two hours winding around and through the busy streets of Dublin, we ended up at Killarney Crystal Motors in the center of the city.

I disconnected that thing and threw it in the trunk, never to look at it again.

When we returned the car and the Garmin to the rental agency and asked for a refund on the device, they declined because I hadn’t returned the device immediately when we arrived (finally) in Killarney.

I cannot believe how many educated people do not know how to how to read a map and instead rely on some computer to show them (hopefully) where to go. They are missing out on one of the great joys of travel.


Dede Brink

Newport Beach

Ike made a lasting impression

Re: “Ike Still Stands Tall in Abilene,” by Catharine Hamm, June 2: I grew up in Denver in the 1950s and came to know President Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, who was from there. My parents’ house in Denver was an easy bike ride to her family home.

After he was elected in 1952, he would often play golf at the Fitzsimons Army Base in nearby Aurora. When Ike had a heart attack, he was treated at Fitzsimons Army Hospital.


Yes, Ike was a hometown hero in Abilene, Kan., but to this black kid he was a prominent yet approachable adult whether I encountered him in Denver or in Kansas. I liked Ike.

Philip S. Hart

Los Feliz