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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Travel

Travel to Cuba - Commentary

Posted May 22, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Travel.
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Is the U.S. wasting resources in enforcing the travel ban to Cuba?

Tell us what you think.

Please keep your posts to 300 words or less. Comments longer than that run the risk of not being posted. Thanks.

History has shown over and over that free enterprise is capable of usurping a country dominated by a restrictive regime. My recent trip to China is a case in point. The streets were jammed by Mercedes and construction was rampant. Everyone was busy and prosperity was available to those clever enough or willing to work hard. It is way past time for us to re-evaluate our position with Cuba and open the door of opportunity because so many would benefit. I can see so many business opportunities for American firms to rebuild Cuba’s deteriorating infrastructure. And the cruelty of keeping families apart must end. Our distorted foreign policy of trying to democratize everyone we have contact with must also come to an end. People will find their own way without our intrusive bullying.

—jud Williams, Cumming

The Cuban government imposes a tourism apartheid on its people. Cubans are not allowed in tourist hotels, tourist restaurants, tourist beaches, etc…These tourist areas have anything and everything a person could want. At the same time, Cubans are in need of everything from basic food stuffs to basic hygeine products. Women in Cuba must sign up six months in advance to receive sanitary napkins for their personal needs.

To state that as Americans, our rights to travel freely wherever we desire is being infringed upon is not only arrogant but without conscience. Is lying on a beach sipping Daiquiri’s worth the dignity of another human being?

Every dollar spent in Cuba only serves to maintain the present regime in power. A regime that per capita has more reporters and journalists encarcerated than any other country in the world. A regime that rules through fear and oppression and that at the drop of the hat blames all the world’s ills on the United States.

Traveling to Cuba is about conscience. Why would anyone wantto go there and not only experience but further the misery forced upon its people?

—Val Prieto, Extremist Miami


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Just some random thoughts….

Not sure I understand how flooding restaurants, landlords, taxi drivers, and craft shows with ” Americans, U.S. dollars and U.S. democratic ideals” is going to free Cuba. Have you three noticed that we are currently flooding Iraq with Americans, U.S. dollars, and U.S democratic ideals? According to the Democratic party and the press the whole universe - including Iraq - is pissed off at us about that.

It took till the 12th paragraph but you finally managed to work in that Cuba is a communist dictatorship. Though, you had to qualify it by blaming Mr. Bush for giving Castro an excuse for his regime’s continued existence.

Mr. Carter over in a companion forum piece is carrying on about prisoners from the Afghan war being held without legal rights in Guantanamo Bay. We won’t throw money at an oppressive communist dictatorship and that’s wrong. We detain a bunch of bad assed freedom hating thugs and that is wrong too. The U.S. just can’t get a break.

Seems like I recall that Cuba has been a past supporter of terrorism abroad and right here in the Americas. I was just a child at the time but I also remember something called the “Cuban missile crisis”. You guys must have seen the movie with Kevin Costner? Not much there to recommend them as tourist locale. We all heard how former President Carter recently got assurances from Fidel himself that Cuba is not making biological weapons, but maybe rewarding an anti-American dictator with a flood of U.S. dollars is not the answer right now.

I would think U.S. Senators could find it in them themselves to show a little more respect for the man and the office and refer to its holder as the President, President Bush, or Mr. Bush instead of just “Bush”. So how about it Baucus, Enzi, and Flake? Gee, sounds like a law firm. Probably is a law firm. Probably explains a lot.

—Robert Cagle`, Atlanta, Ga


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U.S. Sens, Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) are very careful not to write on this subject for the Florida public, I’ll tell you. While I agree with their comments wholeheartedly, the majority of Cuban-Americans in South Florida do not. Banning travel to Cuba because it is a communist country but allowing travel to China, also a communist country, is simply poor foreign policy. And frankly, how do the sanctions obstensively imposed to punish Castro help the Cuban people themselves in any discernible way? They are the ones that suffer and go without life’s necessities, not him.

—Sharon Andrews, Fort Lauderdale, FL


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I can’t beleive they would say lies about how Fidel treats cuba’s residents poorly. Don’t they know that Cuba has a seat on the Human Rights Commission. They are going to upset the mighty U.N. when we should be begging on hand and knee for they help in Iraq.

—Nathan P., Atlanta


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According to the official 2000 Florida Presidential election results, George Bush won by 537 votes. Bush’s popularity has recently slipped in the South Florida poles from 90% to 70% (a 160,000 vote swing) because the extremist Miami Cubans say he has not been tough enough against Castro. In an election year move, Bush has just imposed even harsher conditions on Cuba by reducing Cuban-American family visits to Cuba from a 21 day visit each year to a 14 day visit every 3 years along with other monetary restrictions. The WSJ recently reported that “Bush has strengthened measures to identify and fine U.S. citizens who travel to Cuba through third countries; the Department of Homeland Security has trained hundreds of Customs agents to spot illegal tourists at airports across the Caribbean and in Canada.” Cuba then is the only country on the U.S. Department of State’s Terrorist Countries List where we cannot travel (the other six being Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, North Korea and Sudan). The horrific murder of Nick Berg should make you wonder why we would be allowed to travel to Iraq, but not to Cuba. As we approach the 2004 election, the people of Cuba continue to suffer from our politics. Let’s put an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba once and for all.

—Robert Plumlee, Tulsa, OK


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As a recent (legal) visitor to Cuba, I applaud Baucus, Enzi and Flake for taking an intelligent stand on US-Cuban relations. US policy toward Castro is a 40-year example of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If capitalism and democracy are to be chosen by the Cuban people, we must be ambassadors of the fruits of those systems—freely traveling and freely spending as tourists, allowed by our government to go where we want to go. We should take a lesson from Jimmy Carter, who no doubt abhorred the wrongs of the Castro regime yet extended an olive branch to woo with honey what vinegar had been unable to cure.
Lucia Cape, Huntsville, AL

Member Comments

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On May 22, 2004, John Bomar wrote:

“Constitution?  What constitution?  We don’t need no stinkin’ constitution.”

Restrictions on travel to Cuba were declared “unconstitutional” by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Eisenhower years.  Yet, we have allowed the congress, with its clever and cunning “end run” legislation (“illegal” spending of money) to subvert this declared right. 

Even now Mr. Bush mocks the constitution with such tactics as “search, seize, impound and sell” any sea vessel on the “suspicion” that they “may” travel to Cuba.

He takes advantage of the fear and trembling to usurp your rights under the guise of “Homeland Security” and has proven by his actions that he has little regard for an individual’ civil liberties.  He sends “travel police” to foreign airports to spy on you.  He threatens and intimidates to thwart travel legislation duly passed by the congress and senate, abusing rules of reconciliation in an underhanded way.  He demonstrates no conscience whatsoever in his abuse of power to his own supposed ends.  In his arrogance and willful desregard of declared rights he would make you a federal criminal for exercising your constitutional right to travel. 

Constitution?  What constitution?  “He don’t need no stinkin’ constitution.