Monday, July 17, 2006

Dear Miami Cuban Exiles: Can you see the irony?

I read today that the Miami-based Cuban Exiles want to pull a book out of the Miami -Dade Public School System. The book in question, "Vamos a Cuba," apparently portrays Cuba as a "paradise" and does not mention the hardships caused by a communist government.

Dear Miami Cuban Exiles: You now live in the United States. The fabric of our values is founded in freedom of speech. Poll citizens outside of Florida and sadly, none of them care about your war to starve the Cuban nation by continuing to demand the embargo. During my December 2003 visit to Havana (may I remind you, Mr. Ashcroft, legally), Cubans I met with were stunned to learn this. They thought the entire US population despised them as much as you. (Don't know which is worse: to be despised or to be non-existent).

I am continually amazed that after 30-some years, the Cuban government continues to survive without doing (direct) business with the United States. After the US government eliminated cultural visas (which was how I traveled there), Fidel Castro banned the US dollar. Two years later, the country is still surviving. Have to admit, they're pretty darn resourceful.

Do you realize that the rest of the world can legally travel to Cuba? Have you seen a travel brochure about Cuba? The beautiful beaches, friendly people and island attitude promote the country as a Caribbean paradise. Do you ban tour companies throughout the world from publishing these brochures and getting in the hands of children?

I have always wondered if a population is so miserable under its government's control (as I am led to believe the Cubans are), why don't they organize and overthrow the government? Or better yet, all you exiles who vowed to return to Cuba, why haven't you joined together to overthrow the Cuban government? Hint: the embargo isn't working.

Yes, I am thankful each day that I live in a democracy where I have choices. But, the rest of the world cannot be the United States.

During my visit, I witnessed what Americans would consider poverty. I was proposed marriage (twice) on the street by young men wanting to start their lives in Miami. One man told, "Miami is Florida." The beggars were aggressive. And sanitation was poor. But, I also met people who were genuinely happy. By American standards, they lived simple lives and I realized how little we really need to survive and be happy.

Banning a book is a communist action. Being able to express myself is freedom. If you haven't yet, check out the Bill of Rights here.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am Cuban-American and I was against the removal of the book. But this is not a 1st amendment issue. The book still exists, it can be bought or sold and read by anyone that wants to. The school board has a right in fact it has an obligation to keep objectionable books out of the school libraries. Would you want an illustrated biography of Larry Flynt in a school library? This is why the school board has a process for hearing objections and then democratically voting on whether a book should be stocked. This happens in every school district in the country. As far as travel restrictions go I guess you enjoyed beautiful South Africa during the apartheid regime. Maybe you went cross country skiing in a Siberian gulag during the height of the USSR so I guess your enjoying tourist accomodations that ordinary Cubans can't is right up your alley.

JA Huber said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JA Huber said...

Allowing Americans to travel to Cuba will infuse the people with other ideals; will expose them to what democracy is about and they will find a way to achieve it. Placing an embargo, or "blockade" as the Cuban people refer to it, limits democratic ideals. But, it's really a useless battle for those of us pro-travel to Cuba, the embargo will be in place at least through Castro's death and he can live another 20 or 25 years.

Can't say that I've been to South Africa, Siberia or the USSR but I try to practice responsible tourism believing that one-on-one interactions build better understanding of a culture and people.

BTW, Jimmy Carter and the Pope have stayed in Cuba.