Abril Baloney Sutherland is founder of Diaspora Travel Experiences. Her interest, experience, and expertise in Cuba-related matters began decades ago. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, members of her family made the difficult decision to leave their homes in Cuba and come to the United States tearing apart a once united family. This division casted a decades long shadow over her family coloring daily life.
When she arrived at the University of Richmond as a freshman in 1995, one of the first places she visited was the Office of Study Abroad. Prompted by her strong familial ties to the island and the difficult political reality of the time, she felt that a study abroad program would be the easiest vehicle to achieve her objective. After hours of searching through volumes of books, she found the perfect program: “Art, Architecture, Design and Politics in Cuba” organized by Virginia Tech University- one of the very few programs on the island at the time for U.S. student. In 1996, during the middle of Cuba’s crippling economic crisis known as “The Special Period”, Abril made her first visit to Cuba. During that visit, she physically connected with her family and set out to become acquainted with everyday life and the streets of Havana.
Abril later finished her degree in International Studies at the University of Richmond, concentrating in Politics of Latin America and Caribbean, and more specifically focusing her studies and research on Cuba and the Caribbean. A Public Policy & International Affairs Fellow, she went on to intern in Venezuela before earning her Bachelor’s Degree. Later as a law student concentrating in International Law, she studied comparative civil law in Mexico, and later Law of European Union in Spain, before earning her Juris Doctorate degree.
After traveling back and forth to Cuba over the last 21 years, Abril now considers her residence in Havana to be her second home. Her children spend summers and holidays there, as well. She has developed extensive personal and professional relationships in many industries, such as culture and arts, commerce, law, medicine, religion, and academia, to name a few; and she easily navigates Cuba’s complex society giving her the ability to produce meaningful and authentic experiences for her clients.
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3852 Napoleon Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70125
Tel: (504) 500-2001
P.O. Box 15767
New Orleans, LA 70175
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