Cuba Politics

Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act update - March 30

Posted March 29, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

Introduced on February 12, 2009 by Senator Dorgan, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, if passed, will prohibit the President from regulating or prohibiting travel to or from Cuba by U.S. citizens or legal residents or any of the transactions ordinarily incident to such travel. The only exception would be during a time of war or armed hostilities between the United States and Cuba or if there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of U.S. travelers.

To date the Bill has been gained co-sponsors but is still under review by the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Co-sponsors of the bill

    Sen Barrasso, John [WY] - 2/23/2009
    Sen Baucus, Max [MT] - 3/2/2009
    Sen Bennet, Michael F. [CO] - 3/11/2009
    Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] - 3/10/2009
    Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] - 3/10/2009
    Sen Conrad, Kent [ND] - 3/17/2009
    Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] - 2/12/2009
    Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] - 3/2/2009
    Sen Enzi, Michael B. [WY] - 2/12/2009
    Sen Feingold, Russell D. [WI] - 3/3/2009
    Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] - 2/26/2009
    Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] - 3/2/2009
    Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] - 3/6/2009
    Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 3/6/2009
    Sen Lugar, Richard G. [IN] - 2/12/2009
    Sen Reed, Jack [RI] - 3/12/2009
    Sen Sanders, Bernard [VT] - 3/12/2009
    Sen Wyden, Ron [OR] - 2/25/2009

Congressman William Delahunt has introduced Bill HR874 in the House with the same language.

Text of the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2009

Mr. DORGAN (for himself, Mr. ENZI, Mr. LUGAR, and Mr. DODD) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


To allow travel between the United States and Cuba.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act’.


On and after the date of the enactment of this Act, and subject to section 3—

(1) the President may not regulate or prohibit, directly or indirectly, travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents, or any of the transactions incident to such travel; and

(2) any regulation in effect on such date of enactment that regulates or prohibits travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or legal residents or transactions incident to such travel shall cease to have any force or effect.


Section 2 shall not apply in a case in which the United States is at war with Cuba, armed hostilities between the two countries are in progress, or there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of United States travelers.


This Act applies to actions taken by the President before the date of the enactment of this Act that are in effect on such date of enactment, and to actions taken on or after such date.


The provisions of this Act apply notwithstanding section 102(h) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (22 U.S.C. 6032(h)) and section 910(b) of the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7210(b)).

March 29 update

The Senate legislation, S, 428, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, will be discussed in a press conference on Tuesday by U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Michael Enzi (R-WY) and representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and Human Rights Watch.

A separate House event will also take place later in the week.

March 30 update

This article from the Washington Post, Momentum Grows for Relaxing Cuba Policy talks about how Senator Menendez’s views ofUS Cuba policy are outdated, in the minority and in need of a fresh look. Senator Dorgan appears very confident about the passage of this Bill and the end of the Cuba travel restrictions by saying that “it is all over but for the shouting”.

The article quotes senior Administration officials saying that President Obama is expected to further loosen travel restrictions for all Americans by the time he goes to the April 17-19 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

U.S. Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Myron Brilliant from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation Bob Stallman and Human Rights Watch Executive Director Jose Miguel Vivanco will hold a press conference Tuesday, March 31, at 12:00 p.m. in room SVC-203 of the United States Capitol Visitors Center in support of S428, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act.

The two Senators introduced this Bill along with Senators Christopher Dodd and Richard Lugar in February.

Member Comments

On March 29, 2009, grant wrote:

Still waiting for the Freedom to Know about Cuba bill. Once that is passed then americans will be able to know of the tremendous advances in cuban education and health.

On March 30, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:

Grant that is so right. However, more people already know about the free Med educ Cuba gives to people from other countries from Mex to Africa..I am one of those people who benefited from such training and although i am Cuban i am forever telling and showing people who to contact and how to get onboard.
However, i am so gosh darm pleased with this bill. i grew up from aged 18 to 25 in Boston, before Sen Delahunt, was ever heard of
However, i am so pleased that he and so many have taken this issue on, and more pleased with Pres Obama for acknowledging from the beginning that he would be willing to talk with Fidel et/al
Yes Rob!! it the embargo is going down like a fake Cuban cigar…
My saint is St francis of Assisi..and i know that Cubans and others will soon be able to go home..

On March 30, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:

Rob i found this on NPR

Biden says no plans to scrap trade embargo on Cuba
from The Associated Press

VINA DEL MAR, Chile March 29, 2009, 03:29 am ET · U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday that the United States is not planning to lift its trade embargo on Cuba.

Biden, who was in the Chilean resort city of Vina del Mar for a summit of center-left leaders from Latin America and Europe, replied “no” when asked by reporters if Washington plans to scrap the decades-old embargo.

He and President Barack Obama “think that Cuban people should determine their own fate and they should be able to live in freedom,” Biden said after taking part in the Progressive Governance Summit.

The vice president said a “transition” is needed in the Washington policy toward the communist-ruled island, but that he was in Chile “to talk about the economy, not Cuba.”

Several of the leftist governments in Latin America have urged Washington to lift the embargo of Cuba, saying such a step would improve Washington’s relations across the region.

But without signs of budging on the embargo, Biden still drove home the idea that the White House is committed to region. He called his state visit to Chile “just the beginning of the renewal of a partnership with the Americans.”

“President Obama and I are absolutely committed to working closely with our neighbors in the hemisphere,” he told reporters at Chile’s La Moneda presidential palace after meeting with President Michelle Bachelet.

Leftist or left-of-center governments have been elected in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Honduras and Uruguay in recent years, and at least five Latin American leaders have visited Cuba this year.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet — who met with Fidel Castro on a trip to Cuba in February — held a dinner for Biden under candlelight, as lights were turned off in coordination with an international action highlighting climate change.

On March 30, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:

This story can be heard on NPR about the spending bill which includes lifting embargo on mi pais

On March 30, 2009, cuidate wrote:

I take all such attempts to eliminate the obscene travel restrictions of Americans to visit their closest LA neighbor as a positive indicator, but I am also tempered by and burned out by the unintelligible failure of any such legislation to succeed over the course of several decades.

If it miraculously passes, I will be ecstatic.  I am NOT, however, holding my breath.

On March 31, 2009, Erick Mendez wrote:

The bill has language that is too ambiguous regarding section 3.  As sec. 3 states, “SEC. 3. EXCEPTIONS.

Section 2 shall not apply in a case in which the United States is at war with Cuba, armed hostilities between the two countries are in progress, or there is imminent danger to the public health or the physical safety of United States travelers.”

They [legislators] intended to give broad powers to the executive branch within two clauses that summarize themes such as public safety and health.  The legislators did not bother to list or define, in strict construction, the exceptions.  The bill is not specific in arguing an example of a public safety concern or health concern. 

As a result, the President, if he or she wishes to stop travel, he or she can instantly on two reasons: public health and safety; so if Cuba by any chance has some degree of hostility to Americans in such that Cubans are constantly kidnapping Americans, and Cuba does nothing to enforce its criminal laws, the United States; namely the President can ban travel because Americans are vulnerable to kidnappings, and so forth.

Apparently, the bill has weaknesses and gives broad powers to the President regardless of the supposedly “restriction” of the President’s authority to control the travel to Cuba.  This is a blatant disregard to the Constitution; a contradiction or fallacy in policy; and lastly not to mention its mysterious effects upon enforcement. 

I am certain the bill will pass since Washington cares less of having an authoritarian/reckless President with so many powers and responsibilities (...Bush, Obama…).  Anyway, legislators need to weed out the fallacy and perhaps section 5, which I have not disparaged.

On March 31, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:

Hey i know how everyone feels esp if you are Cuban however, lets be optimistic and claim this..we are going home with no questions asked!!! soon!!!. and if anyone wants to bet a small cinco dollares i bet we get to do this before sept.!!! Aribba Cuba!!
However, as for the ambiguous language i suspect that those borachos can’t read it either nor do they really want to thier thoughtsa are onthe Cuban senoritas cigars , and hehehehehe let me clear my throat!!!.
Plus, health and safety reasons to pull back ..also they are simply tricks of the trade because as soon as Fidel his brother or one of the other hangmen refuses to do as told…Our policy is to make up laws.
However being someone who has traveled home often as possibe there are no kidnappings of americans there and as far as the crime..  real crime its not something to be overly concerned about.. Petty crimes are.. but they are those where if a purse is left on a chair..u can believe its gone.
Also, there are americans smoking MJ and yada yada there but noone bothers them until they get caught with a Cuban or a jamaican and then all heck breaks out.
Hang in there its all good it will get done. its home.. homies…

On March 31, 2009, Erick Mendez wrote:


You make good points about health and crime, but againkeep in mind the President still has the key power.  Anyway, I really do think the bill will pass because of sections 3 and 5.  See you in Cuba one day MILAGROS, lol.

On March 31, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:

Erick Mendez
Sounds like your up all night also..LOL Listen, we have a decent man in the white house no and this is not to say that he will not do what he believes is right. (hope he doesn’t throw away the keys, because i am tired of going through canada…)lol
However the USA is hurting and if we can get back into Cuba that will make trade easy and better. Our cigars will be king again and the travel will be phenomenal.
Pres O was left with a lot of BS on his plate and even though i was not going to vote for him i knew that to put another repub in that office again would be like putting a cuchillo to my own throat.. he is smart and those behind him are Clintons crew. Now, and even though half of them are probably crooks and part of the process!! we just have to keep our ojos on the prize..getting home.
Maybe we here on this site can travel home together and make a party of it. i have huge family there and all would be Matanza

On March 31, 2009, publisher wrote:

I did read that. I discounted it for two reasons…

1. It’s Joe Biden.

2. In this article we posted It’s all over but the shouting, there is this line from the author:

“This new legislation is the manifestation of of all these changes. While the Vice President maintains a position that the administration has no intention of ending the embargo, the statement is tactical. The administration does not control the embargo, Congress does and what Congress is doing is proposing legisation that takes aim directly at the embargo while giving the President political cover.”

On March 31, 2009, Erick Mendez wrote:

The so called “political cover” is another way of saying power.  The author says that the Congress has the power, as of this moment, but not after the bill becomes law.  My reasoning is that after the bill is passed, the believed “political cover” will be the President’s autocratic discretion.  Besides, what does the author mean by “political cover?”  I interpret “political cover” as power; I suspect the bill has hidden powers delegated to the Executive Branch, but I am certain there are no powers being given to the Congress in the bill.

At any rate, I am going to stop criticizing the bill’s flaws.  I am only concerned about a reenactment of ceasing travel to Cuba from the US.  My criticism is to show any possibility that any administration can regulate flights in/out of Cuba readily with this pretend “political cover.”

On March 31, 2009, Larry Daley wrote:

I might well be wise to remember that much material on the Cuban embargo is less than accurate. For example see:

On March 31, 2009, Larry Daley wrote:

Another matter is that the Cuban government cannot be relied upon to allow free entry into Cuba.  In a recent case a son was not allowed to visit his dying mother.

On March 31, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:

That is true however, it depends on who is reading those sites, where they live and thier affiliation with Cuba.
Babalubug? i am not impressed however over the yrs i have found some truths.

No gov Rob should allow just anyone to enter its domain.Cuba whether we agree with its policy or not is a sovereign nation with many who would love to knock off the leaders?. 

About death..hmmmm ,Celia Cruz was not allowed to return home when her mother died and Rob neither was i.
i am an exile, someone who suffered hell for the dream we hoped for in the early days and now i am willing to be patient and keep hope alive..and continue to struggle..i know that Cuba is worth the wait.

On March 31, 2009, Erick Mendez wrote:

There are a few circumstances that could occur, and all hold weight, so any of the hypotheticals mentioned should not be ruled out.  We can only wait and see; hope both countries cooperate in mutual travel and that the President or Raul does not ruin the sincere communication of both states.  The American republic wants to go to Cuba, Cubans want to come here; the only groups that do not want this, or whatever assessment we give to these groups in wanting policies lifted, are Washington and Havana.  The two governments are wrestling with each other, and we spectators/speculators Cubans, Americans and Cuban-Americans are caught in between these [politicians] idiots!

On March 31, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:


i am an optimist and the hypos never have set well with me..i am a dreamer and someone who goes the lengths of the impossible believing that mere man no longer has power over our Cuban in light of this,

Let me play the devils advocate

You see my comrade there is more to consider other than just going home or for others to be able to travel to Cuba.

My assessment of this forced debaucle is that the right wing is doing what is always done, rattling the threat stick in an effort to warn Cuba, that if it wants to live provide better lives for the peeps etc then they had better walk the walk.

Erick, in my own excitement i realize that the removal of the embargo,could involve a total upset of our culture from the natives to the african to the Spaniard.
There are also those who love Fidel, have settled in for the long haul, and would fight to the death to maintain our culture separate from what will be in Cuba in 20 yrs.  i say this becausei used to be one of them before i became a Dr and understood the struggle and who was hurting?.

1.So lets assume that we win back our humanity through cooperation between Prs Obama Fidel and Raul et/al

2. Lets say that all is well and that one day you notice that the culture is changing and that the morays are in the basuda (garbage) that there are drug dealers, assassinos,  rapists and all manner of changed behaviour in cuba similar to what went down when Bugsy siegel, meyer lansky etc were there with corrupt Batista el payaso?

3. Lets say that the people will be living and doing legit biz in Cuba, are looking the other way and that our daughters/families are not safe?

Now comrade as you think about this, ask yourself why Fidel did what he did and then ask yourself would anything be done to stop the neg behaviour or would it just be biz as usual which vwould eventually lead to our home being owned by the colonizer and treated like Puerto rico the colony?

Those things stated above scare me more than the right wing of the two governments.  Suffice to say, in my opinion the only reason for the struggle is because they do not know what to do. They do not know what the Pres will do but they know that they cannot force his hand with threats.

Comrade to be honest with you i want the same law and order that i have seen over the 25 yr+ i have been traveling back and forth vs a possible..DO AS I PLEASE BEHAVIORAL PATTERN leading to a corrupt Gov and a society of lost youth.

We already have that here in the US amongst some youth so one thing that i want to see are more prog ,schools univ etc opening up which will allow for everybody who needs it and can get an educ. I say this because many of our Cuban youth will not stay there after the embargo is lifted.. They will find a way to leave, and if they have an educ it well better for them or perhaps they will stay..or be able to come to the mainland and provide for others..

Maybe i am barking at the moon..but then again i am a dreamer..

On March 31, 2009, cuidate wrote:

I think it is pure supposition to speculate so wildly and serves little purpose.  The hope is that Cubanos can find a measure of freedom they have too long been denied without losing the culture which we all care so much about.  We can only hope that when the transition that must come, finally occurs, that the baby will not get thrown out with the bathwater.

We cannot, however, permit this repressive police state to continue to keep its people in darkness and poverty simply because, just MAYBE, there will be some things lost in that transition.

No one wants to see the Golden Arches of MacDonalds on the Malecon, but given the fact that Cuba has resisted ANY change for almost 50 years, shouldn’t we credit them with the ability to resist those changes that would diminish their culture as they move forward for the betterment of all their people?

On April 01, 2009, publisher wrote:


1. This is more about my freedom to travel to Cuba.

2. Since the failed Plan A Embargo hasn’t worked for almost 50 years, why don’t we try something else?

Enough with the old Cuban exile plans. We all know they have a vested interest (Radio Marti, USAID funding, political power etc) in having Fidel in power and the Embargo in place.


Don’t punish me in order to punish Fidel and I don’t want to fund Radio Marti and “research” to study the Cuban situation.

On April 01, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:


How so often freedom only comes at the risk of the loss of culture. Mickey D? who cares who even eats that stuff?? lol

Comrades, thanks for you thoughts and i do recognize a good dig…lol

However again this is just not about travel this is about a way of life and as i have said here and everywhere many times before “the ole skool exile plans are bust and now this is the new deal as it relates to Cuba.
Cuidate you relate to Cubanos as they? so my question is are you Cuban? if not its still okay as long as your reasoning is also one of understanding about what the real story is as it relates tio the official embargo of 1961 and the powers that be which have kept the regime in power so long?

i am one who is praying for change and as far as i am concerned Fidel can go and retire right now as can radio marti, USAID etc because they more than Castro,have only created a fifty yr disaster.

Bottom line Fidel will only do as well if not better than in the last 50 yrs. Do not be fooled into thinking that all is over when the embargo is lifted, also please do not think that the USA will go in and create peace for all, and please do not assume that Castro is unaware of the forthcoming changes being talked about in the highest levelsof congress in the dark of night…
My thought are to get back to my country ancd live out the remainder of my yrs FREE and while there provide as much free health care as possible to all who seek it.


On April 01, 2009, Larry Daley wrote:

Cautions about Cuba include:

Cuba is run by absolute monarchs

Castro health care is not quite what (and then less than than that) it seems

berating exiles for wanting their property back, only reminds readers that the Castro Monarchy owns all.  What the people of Cuba occupy is held in usofruct, and can, and has, be taken away at the whim of the monarchy ...

Any investment in Cuba is also subject to confiscation without renumeration if the monarchs of Cuba wish to do that

My advice if you have capital and thinking about investing in Cuba you might re-evaluated in light of the above

On April 01, 2009, publisher wrote:

Agree. Cuba is a terrible place to invest money.

On April 01, 2009, Erick Mendez wrote:

I agree that Cuba is a waste in investment only pertaining to stocks (if there are any?), bonds and other investments of the like.  However, if we were to travel freely to Cuba, we are investing in Cuba’s tourism, vendors and so on.  Therefore, in some things investing in Cuba, sadly to say sucks, and in other things good?  What do you guys think?  Anymore news on the two bills or foreign relations between the countries?

On April 01, 2009, publisher wrote:

I think the best way to invest in Cuba is from a distance. There are choices

1. The Caribbean Basin Fund from Herzfeld. It is a closed end fund that trades like a stock on the NYSE under the symbol CUBA.

2. Invest in Cuba related domain names which is what I do. Also, read our Cuba Business Forum for some ideas.

This way, by investing in Cuba from a distance, there is little to no risk of seizure by the Cuban government or interference from OFAC on the US side.

Do your homework and be prepared. That is probably the best way to invest your time.

Looks like we might get a post-Embargo Cuba before we get a post-Castro Cuba so think accordingly.

On April 01, 2009, cuidate wrote:

I have lived in Cuba for almost 2 years over the course of the past ten, Milagros.  My friends tell me that I am the only “Cubano Rosado” in the entire world.  I am flattered by the broma but I do not think for a minute I fully understand what it is to be a Cubano and live in that police state.  I DO think, however, that i can appreciate the culture that somehow thrives inside of it.  There are two separate and distinct worlds in Cuba, imo.  The system and the mercado negro.

I found it hilarious to note that when Fidel saw a gas tanker unloading gas when he was paused in his Mercedes in the middle of the night not long ago, that he was absolutely shocked to think that that sort of behavior went on in his “worker’s paradise”.  There isn’t a Cuban alive who is not completely aware that the business “en la calle” is much larger than any conducted through the formal system of government there.

Fidel’s naivete was reminiscent of an episode when the first George Bush was President and watched a supermarket move items across a scanner.  He was surprised to see it happening and said he had never seen one before.  At that time scanners had been in place for more than a decade.

That sort of a radical disconnect between the lives our leaders experience and the lives their citizenry live is not system-dependent.  I exists under any “ism” or you could bring up.

My fiance loves Raul and Fidel and hates many of the things they do.  Like me, she does not want to live in Cuba and, like me, does not want to live in the US either.  As others have suggested here, if private ownership should open up in Cuba, I would consider it as an option.  Without that, knowing that the government could take everything you own at the drop of a hat, rules Cuba out as a place where the only thing one ought to invest is a little free time.

On April 01, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:

i also asgree i would not put adime into any investment in Cuba..sad huh? not so when i know that it would be a way to keep the old bs going under a different tag.

2 yrs cuidate? out of ten..well my son.. you don’t have a clue. The beaches and the food are not all that is going on, and it is more obvious that u would do well to study when u believe Fidel is naive..Bro he is playing you like he has all the rest..As a matter of fact some people think he is deceased?
A bit of educ for you my man.. there are no such people as NEGRO’s there are however Afro Cubans who have lived there prior to all others.. other than the Taino..

Unlike your friend i want to live in Cuba and all who don’t should leave and find another more accomodating place to throw thier hat..
However like you said..u would stay if an op for priv ownership would open up..My question is..we need help ..why don’t ypu start a bus when it opens up..why keep going to places you dislike?..Also, it might behoove you to learn about the cultures that are and have been predominate in Cuba long before the 18th century and slavery..
PS before u pick up a book or go online to research what i am saying ..stop an older afro cuban in the streer and ask them

On April 01, 2009, Erick Mendez wrote:

What I have seen so far is that many think that Fidel is trying to protect the culture.  Socialism is not intended to protect culture, and its effect do protect culture somewhat indirectly.  As we have seen Cuba has drugs, hip-hop, and other things that do represent its culture.  When the government controls language, and regulates social life in general; it does not care about culture, it is concerned about controllling ideas and upholding supreme power.  For example, when the state considers literature such as Man Versus the State and the Wealth of Nations as PROPAGANDA ENIMIGA, it wants to confirm that all ideas are controlled so the state [Cuba] does not lose social power or political power [within the PCC] or Cuban Communist Party, or whatever…  Fundamentally, the government can care less of the country; they just want to preserve and prolong power.  Cuba can find, create and deem anything that it feels as a threat, and say that it threatens “culture,” but in reality it threatens their absolute power, their dictatorship.  There are peoples who argue Cuba wants to protect culture, but that is not the objective in socialism; and it is only somewhat an unintentional result.  We, Cubans, know that socialism or totalitarianism begins with propaganda from the coup or party; then the elimination of dissenters ensues.  Although this is general, but I am sure there is more to it, and different methods to achieve a totalitarian state.  Furthermore, culture is dynamic in Cuba.  Society in Cuba is going through changes, but very slowly because it lacks capital.  Anyone can make inferences after they figure that totalitarianism is about control and power

On April 01, 2009, Erick Mendez wrote:

The investment ideas seem good.  I might begin investing soon.

On April 01, 2009, publisher wrote:

Okay, thanks for the comments.

Let’s stay on topic about the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act.

On April 01, 2009, MILAGROS wrote:

Well, one good things about this whole thing is that the opponents are willing to talk..and i want to go home.
Thanks publisher for keeping us focused, because believe i can upset any cart..

On April 02, 2009, Larry Daley wrote:

Amazing that so many people who write here are so in love with a country of slaves run by an absolute monarch.

There is no opportunity for investment in Cuba all belongs to the Monarch and he changes rules at his whim

Cuba has a terrible health system, apparently even for the monarch who had to call in a Spanish surgeon to save his life (such as it is nowadays).

The education system is incapable of generating prosperity

On April 02, 2009, cuidate wrote:

Milagro, you don’t know me so don’t turn your condescending tone on me.  It doesn’t play well in these ears you seem to think have no brain between them.

I don’t live in hotels and hang out at the beaches.  I don’t party at the clubs and have no putas on my arm ever.  I live in a private Casa and know all my neighbors.  I stay in Jaimanitas, Santa Fe or Playa Baracoa.  I rebuild homes and set people up with some sort of cottage industries so they can improve their lot in life.

Get off your judgemental horse, at least until you have a clue about someone you choose to put down.

If you don’t think Fidel was naive because he didn’t know about the huge-scale theft that was going on in Cuba, and not just gas.  One of the only reason most Cubans suffer through their no-paying jobs is because it gives them access to government goods which they can pilfer and sell in the mercado negro.  If you think there are any Cubans who say “Afro-Cuban” then you just don’t know Cuba.  “Negro” or “Negra” are the only terms used to reference people of that race.  My girl is a “Negra” and she would laugh at you if you were to use the term, Afro-Cuban.

My question to you, the all-knowing expert, is how often have you lived there?  You speak as though you were living there now or that some accident of birth instantly made you an expert on Cuba.  When you say the kinds of things you have said here, it reveals your ignorance of what is so in Cuba today, not your expertise.

On April 02, 2009, publisher wrote: