Saturday, April 11, 2009

A funny, funny, LA Times misinterpretation of Cuba

Willingly or otherwise. In This story the LA Times reporter Tracy Wilkinson tries real hard to try to portray the opening up of Cuba to Americans as a potentially revolutionary act that the rulers of the island fear. Here's the relevant quote:

"The big question on both sides of the Florida Straits is how much change in Cuba policy will President Obama risk, and how much change will Cuba's communist rulers tolerate? Both sides have reason to move slowly."

Allow me to laugh hysterically at this. Quite simply, there's a major flaw in the underlying premise, and that is that Canadians, the French, Argentines, Germans, English, Chileans, Brazilians, Italians, Spanish, can already travel to Cuba. They've been able to travel to Cuba for quite some time. In fact, Cuba is a popular destination with Canadian tourists. It's kind of unbelievable that exposure to folks from the U.S. would seriously undermine the regime by exposing the peasant masses of Cuba to ideas of freedom and democracy. The benighted, cowering, Cubans, in need of enlightenment by the Yanquis exist only in the minds of folks in Miami, where newspapers regularly run stories praising the ultra-right in Latin America.

The U.S. restrictions on travel have been more about keeping people in the U.S. in and less about Cuba keeping people out. People have consistently traveled to Cuba from the U.S. during the blockade and been welcomed, with folks independently sailing for Cuba from Florida without notifying the Cubans that they were going to do this being welcomed and encouraged to spend money.

So, will the poor Cuban people and the blood thirsty government, that regularly crucifies priests and hits kittens, come out from the encounter with the Americans unchanged? Time will tell.

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