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Fox 2 reporter recounts what Cuba is like today

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CUBA - President Trump recently announced his plans to tighten U.S. travel restrictions with Cuba leaving tourists and the businesses that depend on their dollars wondering what that might look like.

Fox 2 reporter Michelle Madaras traveled to Cuba to experience the country before the change goes into effect.

When Americans think of Cuba often images like this come to mind. The Museo de Revelicion is a symbol of how far the country has come but as I've learned it's so much more than that.

Amed "Ed" Chavez runs a casa particular which is basically a bed and breakfast.

It's a popular alternative for tourists who don't want to stay at hotels that are either partially owned or fully run by the state.

I stayed with his family and I got to ask him what he loves about his country.

"It's a family. It's not a friend it's not a neighbor it's a family. That's very important in our culture," says Chavez.

Music is also important to their culture.

You'll hear it everywhere you go and all ages get up and dance.

Those sounds carry through the streets and bring people together.

Classic cars go whizzing by carrying sweaty tourists who bypass modern luxuries like air conditioning and seat belts to appreciate these antique automobiles complete with broken doorknobs and worn interiors patched together over the decades and miles.

Nowhere is Cuba's flavor more apparent than in it cigars hand rolled with spicy Havana tobacco and there's the food.

"Everything is natural. The fruits the meats for that reason the flavor and the taste is awesome," says Chavez.

I tried a savory lamb dish paired with plantain chips and cold string bean salad that came with almost every meal.

A few of those meals I shared with the Chavez family during my stay, so finally I asked the question I was wondering since I arrived 'What most Cuban's attitudes were towards Americans?'

Chavez says, "It doesn't matter if you are American or your from another country around the world. You are human and we respect that."

A value many can agree on, but from what I saw the reality can fall short for some Cubans.

It hit me hardest in the grocery store where there was less stock and even less selection.

In certain neighborhoods, old homes are left to rot along with the roads and its tough on the old cars that already have their issues.

The bus doesn't seem much more reliable, it's either a long wait or a long walk for most folks.

These a just a few things I noticed during my short trip, but I left with a new perspective.

Something Chavez says Cubans also want to experience as travel restrictions to and from American get stricter.

"A lot of people don't like that because we want to continue that relationship because we also want to know the culture there," says Chavez.

American travel restrictions to Cuba are in the process of being tightened. Very soon you'll need proven documentation and often times have to be affiliated with a group in order to enter the country. Who knows if or when that could change.

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