http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/bush_assails_castro_on_sex_tourism_with_commentary/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Bush assails Castro on sex tourism (with commentary)

Posted July 17, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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By Caren Bohan | Reuters

President George W. Bush has accused Cuba’s Fidel Castro of welcoming sex tourism and contributing to a global problem of human trafficking, as he courted Cuban voters in Florida, a pivotal state in the election.

“The regime of Fidel Castro has turned Cuba into a major destination for sex tourism,” Bush said, adding that the Cuban president “welcomes sex tourism” as a source of hard currency for his government.

Addressing a conference on human trafficking, Bush quoted Castro as saying that prostitutes in Havana were the cleanest and best educated in the world.

Bush said that comment was evidence that Havana was encouraging sex tourism. Castro praised Cuban prostitutes for having a college education in a documentary interview by the U.S. filmmaker Oliver Stone.

Cuba’s government, born of a revolution against a corrupt U.S.-backed dictatorship that allowed Mafia-run gaming and prostitution to thrive in Havana in the 1950’s, strongly denies tolerating sex tourism. Police have cracked down on the trade.

The Department of Justice-organised conference was aimed at touting the administration’s efforts to crack down on the trafficking of people across borders for forced labour such as prostitution and sweatshop work.

Bush called on the United Nations in 2003 to address human trafficking. Christian conservatives concerned with the issue are a core base of support for the Republican president nationwide.

GET-TOUGH APPROACH

By assailing Cuba on the trafficking issue, Bush was underscoring a get-tough approach toward Castro that has included other rhetorical salvos as well as tightening of a trade embargo against his government.

Bush’s tough approach toward Castro has played well with many Cuban-Americans, but some have expressed anger about new restrictions limiting visits to family members still in Cuba and slashing the amount of financial support they can provide to relatives.

Underscoring the importance of the Cuban-American vote, Bush’s motorcade also made a stop at a Cuban restaurant, La Tropicana, where he and his brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, bought sandwiches and posed for pictures with the owners of the restaurant.

Gathering as many votes as possible among Florida’s 800,000 generally staunchly anti-Castro Cuban-Americans is considered essential if Bush is to take the state in November.

A new Zogby poll of Florida voters showed John Kerry eking out a small lead against Bush, giving Bush 44 percent support to his Democratic challenger’s 47 percent.

Pollster John Zogby said Kerry was benefiting from the attention given his recent selection of North Carolina Senator John Edwards as his running mate.

“It’s nobody’s state,” Zogby said of Florida, adding that polls have leaned toward one candidate or another from time to time but the race is still highly competitive.

Florida was the site of the 36-day ballot recount saga in 2000. Bush was declared the winner of the state—and thus of the general election—by 537 votes only after the intervention of the Supreme Court.

Member Comments

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On July 17, 2004, publisher wrote:

President Bush,

Is this your response to the CancerVax/Cuba Biotech announcement about working together on cancer vaccines?

I understand it’ an election year and you can’t say anything postive about Cuba but do you have to slam Cuba all the time?

I am ashamed for you and saddened that you are bound by your politics.

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On July 17, 2004, Dana Garrett wrote:

PLAYING POLITICS WITH PROSTITUTION

Particularly fascinating is how Bushís intense interest in the problem of human trafficking and its connection to Cuba is a fairly recent phenomenon.  According to the US State Departmentís annual Trafficking in Persons Report, Cuba made the list, at the lowest tier, only during the last two years (2003 and 2004).  In did not appear on any tier in the reports for 2001 and 2002. 

http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/

Countries are included on the report when the USA government has adequate information to assess their performance.  Presumably, while a scarcity of information about Cubaís performance kept Cuba from appearing on any tier during the first two years of the Bush administration, the State Department discovered a bonanza of information about Cubaís performance during the last two years of the Bushís administration, so much so that the State Department placed Cuba on the last performance tier. 

Fortunately for Bush,  the discovery of all this information about Cuba occurs about the time interested voters begin to consider who they want to elect as the next President of the United States. 

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On July 18, 2004, Michael wrote:

These preposterous assertions about Government-Sanctioned Prostitution in Cuba should be given exactly the same weight as earlier White House claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

Another case of bad intelligence?  Or simply Bushit?

(When it turns out there isn’t any government-sanctioned prostitution in Cuba, will they find evidence of “government-sanctioned prostitution related activities”?)

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On July 18, 2004, Michael wrote:

These preposterous assertions about Government-Sanctioned Prostitution in Cuba should be given exactly the same weight as earlier White House claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

Another case of bad intelligence?  Or simply Bushit?

(When it turns out there isn’t any government-sanctioned prostitution in Cuba, will they find evidence of “government-sanctioned prostitution related activities”?)

PS. I notice “Michael” has already posted.  I am a different “Michael”

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On July 18, 2004, hans wrote:

Bush forgets sex-tourism to Cuba was before ‘59. Bush doesn’t know history.

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On July 18, 2004, Terry wrote:

This isn’t surprising at all, Bush is plummeting to new depths to pour scourn on Cuba (and this is dangerous).

These remarks backed up by outdated and shaky evidence are only intended to do one thing and that’ turn around the doubters in the South Florida community that are still unsure where to place their cross on the voting card in November.

Prostitution is much more alive and rife in other Central American and Caribbean nations than Cuba. I accuse President Bush of gutter election campaigning that aspires to conjure up a lynch mob mentality aimed at Cuba.

Anyway, why is he so concerned with sex tourism, or would it be that its bad for the porn industry in America….now how much is that worth again in dollars?

I visited Cuba in May this year and was bowled over by the kindness of people, the culture, everything.  So also were quite a few Americans that I witnessed there as well.

I hope to dear god that the American embargo will end soon so this tired cold war propanganda project will stop.  Americans and Cubans have much to learn from each other.