Lighten up on Cuba? Try on January 21, 2009…

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As a teacher and scholar of history, I have be fascinated with Cuba since first learning about the old American cars travelling on the streets of Havana.  I dream of travelling there some day, if for no other reason than to see an island that in so many ways is like a step into another time.

I had been hopeful during Clinton’s presidency that we might liberalize our policy towards Cuba and there was evidence that we were headed in that direction.

Of course, Bush’s administration has taken the opposite approach.  Although that is no surprise to me, I am truly taken back by the lengths that the Bush administration will go to make its point about Cuba.

Case in point: a British travel company discovered recently that its .com domains have been taken down.  Their crime?  Selling travel packages to Cuba for Europeans.  The United States government forced the US-based register to take down the domains.  The company is committing no crime in their native lands…they are just doing business.  Although it seems as though nothing surprises me now reading the paper, this really, really struck me as a reason we need a vast change in direction.

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J N

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  • I’ve been to Havana and it was a wonderful trip. I know that government of the U.S is making effort to stop Cuba government from using this money to help building more solid and strong sole socialist state in Caribbean. I like what Fidel Castro said on his weekly comment on Granma International, a magazine run by Cuban State which stated that the policy of U.S toward the Cuban has to be changed. “Change the policy in U.S” that was what he said. I think the government of U.S has no interest in Cuban progress since it’s just a tiny island that is limited with everything. I wonder if Cuba has oil deposit like what Iraq has, Bush Administration might invade Cuba or put more concern in what happen in this island.

  • Just last week we saw the New York Philharmonic performing in Pyongyang, North Korea. Cuba remains the only country on earth where orginary people from the US need a permission slip from the Federal Government to go for a visit.

    Is that ridiculous, or what?

    And now internet domains with the word Cuba in it are being blocked all over the world by the United States government. They really, REALLY don’t want people learning about or going to see Cuba for themselves.

    Cuba and the United States are not and cannot be equal. Cuba’s government certainly does limit democratic rights. But in a situation like David and Goliath, Cuba does what it feels it must to defend itself. Look at Iraq today and you can see what Cuba would look like if it were “liberated” by Washington.

    In Guantanamo, the world can see what legal system Washington would impose on the rest of Cuba if only it could. In Guantanamo, which is United States occupied territory, prisoners are held without trial for years, and are told they could be held indefinitely even if not found guilty there. In this context, Cuba’s defensive measures should surprise no one.

    My father and his parents lived in Cuba from 1939 to 1942. They were German Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, and not political left-wingers. That family history is where my own interest in Cuba comes from. My dad met my mom in the United States and that’s how I came into this world.

    Cuban society today represents an effort to build an alternative to the way life was under the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, who ran Cuba before Fidel Castro led a revolution there. No one complained about a lack of human rights and democracy in those days, but U.S. businesses were protected.

    Some things work, some don’t. Like any society, Cuba its flaws and contradictions, as well as having solid achievements. No society is perfect. But we can certainly learn a few things from Cuba’s experience.

    We should all be free to visit Cuba. We can visit China and Vietnam, even North Korea, Syria and Iran, why can’t we visit Cuba and see it for ourselves? Cuba is our neighbor and we should simply normalized relations with the island.

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