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  • Cuba: Change Is Not One Sided

    Cuban President Fidel Castro (L) and his brother Raul, chat on December 23, 2003 in Havana, during a meeting of the Cuban Parliament. Raul Castro succeeded his brother Fidel Castro as the president of Cuba on February 24, 2008, in a historic power shift expected to keep Havana firmly on its communist path, officials said.

    Leftist love for the Marxist Cuban regime manifests regularly. Just this Monday in the New York Times Marc Lacey had an item titled “Dreaming of Cuban Profits in Post-Embargo World.” The article was a bit odd, most notably for the unreal caption of a photo of tourists driving a 1952 Cadillac along El Malecón, describing the scene as “a pleasure that few Americans have experienced in decades.” The caption had a double meaning, as not only have Americans not visited El Malecón since the Revolution, but Americans haven’t experienced the pleasure of driving ancient automobiles because they have an open economy and a standard of living that allows them to buy new cars.

    Much of the article explores the plans of political leaders like Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND), who has proposed revocation of the ban on travel to Cuba. The Miami Herald reports that travel between the two states has begun to flourish as the possibility of the lift of a ban appears to be imminent. This must raise the hopes of many ex-patriots who have had a difficult time going back to visit their relatives, but such an action must also come with signs of liberalization on the part of Cuba.

    Lacey’s post-embargo Cuba sure sounds wonderful, but it forgets about the actions that must first be taken by Cuba. While engagement by the United States was useful, the Soviet Union and China did not open thanks to American diplomacy alone. Actions taken by those countries’ respective leadership were key. Gorbachev engaged in a policy of glasnost (“openness”) that played an invaluable role in the dissolution of the Soviet empire. Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping opened his country to investment and the start of private competition (with countries like Singapore as a model). There’s little sign of such a shift in Cuba. While Cuban President Raul Castro has made signs of being willing to talk to the United States, those moves have been interfered with by Raul’s brother Fidel.

    A freer Cuba would be beneficial to everyone. It is important, however, to remember that this is a transformation that can only happen through a change in Cuba’s policies, toward a more pluralist, democratic political system and more open economy. It is not a transformation that can happen simply through a change in our policies toward Cuba.

    Michael Orion Powell is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/About/Internships-Young-Leaders/The-Heritage-Foundation-Internship-Program

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Cuba: Change Is Not One Sided

    1. N. Dusky Canada says:

      If tourism is opened to the American general public Castro will get the funds he requires to sustain his government in the manner which he has done so. One must also keep in mind that Cuba has zero tollerance regarding drugs and guns, something Americans are every fond of, I am certain there would be a lot of American tourists returnig to the U.S. on "the next available flight out of Cuba", and that is no matter where its destination is. I have been a tourist to Cuba for the past 19 years. One of the main benefits of vacationing in Cuba is that there are no Americans to listen to on the beach or lin the restaurants, and that is a verry enjoyable benefit. Hopefully it will stay that way for some time, as I really do not want to change my vacation destination

    2. fmaidment, Georgia says:

      Travel to Cuba is permitted on a limited basis. Some ex-pats and their families are permitted to travel back to Cuba. Also, about a dozen universities have permits for educational visits.

      I had the good fortune (depending on how you look at it) of going to Cuba thanks to one of these permits. 10 days as a guest of the University of Havana via the University of Georgia.

      El Malecón is quite a sight at sunset. But the ancient automobiles hide a secret: Without access to American parts, most of them are exterior shells and chassis only. The engines are now diesel and the interiors have been replaced with local or Russian replacements. They are still quite beautiful cars.

      Ending the embargoes will not save Cuba. Cuba has to save itself. As long as they cling to Marxism, that will never happen.

      Interestingly, a private economy is developing there. On a very limited basis, street vendors are permitted to sell wares to tourists and private restaurants and dance clubs have been established under heavy regulation. Cuba wants to be a free market, and in reality even its top economists realize they need it (the professors at the University talk about it openly). But they have this need to hold on to their Revolutionary Ideals. It is hurting them.

    3. JaxJM Florida says:

      As a Cuban exile living in the United States, I found N. Dusky Canada's comment interesting. I heartily agree with the assertion that opening up travel to Cuba, and the resulting flow of tourist dollars that will come from it, will prop up the Castro regime, which I believe to be a bad thing. N. Dusky Canada goes on to say that he (she?) has vacationed in Cuba for the last 19 years, ostensibly contributing to that propping up of the Castro boys.

      The reason I won't travel to Cuba, the nation of my birth, is because it will strengthen the evil government there, continuing to propagate the system of slave labor in place on the island. I am amused by how liberals consider the United States an imperialist, exploitative nation, yet Europeans and Canadians are happy to get a cheap vacation at a beautiful beach resort in Cuba that is cheap precisely because of the way Marxism abuses the individual laborer. Below is a link to what the Canadian government says about the Cuban tourist worker. Liberals purport to be on the side of "the little guy," and "the worker" unless, of course, they receive nice benefits from Cuban slavery. They must think they deserve it.


    4. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 4.4.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    5. Mary, New Orleans, L says:

      Let's talk about that Cuban utopia. My step-father spent two weeks visiting family there. No air conditioning– the heat was oppresive.. Cars that don't run. Food rationing (one chicken quarter is one month's ration for a family of 4!) One quart of milk — when it's gone, there's no place to buy more. Forget about Cuban cuisine — can't get any of the ingredients. There's a rice substitute that my step-father says is disgusting. He brought money with him to help the family but stores were closed for most of the time he was there and when they were open, nothing was available for sale. All this utopian existance thanks to the REVOLUTION. The culture is dead in Cuba. It's just another Communist regime. If you want to see Cuban culture today — go to Miami.

    6. Billy Bob, Disctrict says:

      Cuba sounds like a beautiful and interesting place to visit (no sarcasm intended).

    7. Jeanne Stotler,Woodb says:

      I lived in Miami for 16 yrs. The exiles living there are ready to go back if Castro dies, or is thrown out. As a nurse in a Nursing home in So.Miami I saw charts were these people had lived in US for years but never changed their citizenship, they also send thousands of dollars in goods back to cuba every month, even though they know a good portion will be siezed by the gov't. In the 50's tourism between Havana and Miami was thriving now Miami has changed, it is no longer the place it was, very little English is spoken there, you can be born in Miami go to school. and die and never speak a word of English, it is all hispanic, divided into sections, Little Havana, A part is from El salvador, another from Nigaragua etc. I sure is not American.

    8. Drew Page, IL says:

      To N. Dusky, Canada — Funny, for someone who doesn't want to hear anything from Americans, I'm surprised you have chosen to use this platform to spew your anti-American hate speech.

      Remember something else, guns and drugs aren't the only things Cuba has no tolerance for, political opposition and free speech are also frowned upon. Enjoy the beaches, comrade.

    9. Billie says:


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