Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dirty Little Commies on the Upper West Side

In what can only be described as un tremendo acto de repudio, the blogosphere and some editorial writers came out in force this past week to condemn a group of Manhattan high school students from the Beacon School and their teacher, Nathan Turner, for taking a trip to Cuba.

The group could not get a license to travel to Cuba for educational purposes because, alas, the Administration stopped licensing educational travel for high school students in 2004.

Mr. Turner reportedly organized the trip on his own and booked flights via the Bahamas, evading U.S. law. Agents of our Department of Homeland Security stationed in the Bahamas airport were alert, however, and the group may now be fined by the federal government.

“CLUB RED,” blared the New York Post’s headline. Immediately commentators leaped to the conclusion that Mr. Turner was a loony lefty because Cuban revolutionary posters hang in his classroom.

So what if he was?

I’ll disclose that I believe that Americans should have complete and unfettered freedom to travel to Cuba. I don’t believe in limiting that freedom to people who think like me, and I believe that my freedom is only secure if everyone else’s is too, especially those on each end of the political spectrum.

I don’t support breaking U.S. law. But if this group did violate the law, they violated a law that – setting aside whether it is just or not – is patently incapable of accomplishing its foreign policy purpose, which the Administration describes as denying Cuba a flow of hard currency to the degree that we will hasten change in Cuba’s political order or, short of that, starve the Cuban government of the resources it needs to engage in political repression. (Ironically, the only way to sell that proposition is to make sure Americans cannot see Cuba for themselves.)

I’ll also confess that I even find it appealing that people from the left, even the wacko left, travel to Cuba. Cubans surely cringe at some of the things they say, but Cubans are not naïve and know that the hard left does not represent majority U.S. opinion. I also like the message Cubans get about real freedom when they see that we do not restrict speech, not even speech by Americans on foreign soil in praise of a government like Cuba’s.

Of course, we don’t know what Mr. Turner did or said on his excursion.

But assume the worst: that he presented nothing but sympathy for the Cuban government and subjected his students to nothing but indoctrination by Cuban officials. The commentators unanimously assumed that these young Americans – dumb, malleable, uncritical, and innocent – would swallow those messages hook, line, and sinker.

Which makes me wonder if any of the commentators actually know an American teenager, or has ever tried out the phrase “Because I said so!” on an average American teenager. Good luck.

An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily deserves the off-the-deep-end award in this episode. In a newspaper more jam-packed with information than any on earth, the editorial puts no information behind its assertions that the students received only a “phony dog-and-pony show of the regime,” that they were “endangered,” that Mr. Turner had no “serious interest in educating youths,” and that to enter Cuba, “one has to disclose huge amounts of personal information to Cuba's spy agency.”

And then the editorial wonders:

“How did Turner contact Havana? What was his real aim? He’s part of a vast network of labor unions, Marxist organizations and activist groups that supply Cuba its agents here.

“A fine isn't enough; we need to look a lot closer at him – and others.”

Which leaves me with no comment at all.

4 comments:

leftside said...

I think any time the country (or at least a major city) gets to realize that it is OUR government that restricts travel to Cuba it is a going to end up a loser for the status quo. I am constantly amazed that even educated people assume it is Cuba that keeps us out.

It seems like enforcement of the travel ban has focussed on the big fish of late, seeking to make high-profile examples of embargo busters. Can ICE really go after people once they've made it through US customs without incident?

Karamchand said...

Siendo pragmático, como muchas veces nos vemos obligados, no resolvería gran cosa levantar el bloqueo a estas alturas. Si es criticable la actitud del gobierno de Estados Unidos al no permitir el viaje de sus nacionales a la isla, con mayor razón la es la de países como España y otros, que corrieron cuando el gobierno cubano abrió las puertas de Cuba al capital extranjero, pero no vinieron a instalar empresas que beneficiaran al pueblo, no, vinieron a pagar salarios míseros y extraer ganancias en concierto con el gobierno. El gobierno y el pueblo cubano, a diferencia de la mayoría de los países no son una misma cosa, son dos totalmente opuestas en sus objetivos y sus realidades. ¿Para que levantar el bloqueo?, para que vengan americanos a Varadero y demás instalaciones turísticas prohibidas para los nacionales, ¿acaso traer sus costumbres y provocar la caída del régimen?, que no son nuevas, pues las han visto los cubanos en otros turístas de países capitalistas. Quienes presionan para levantar el bloqueo tienen básicamente intereses económicos, que ocultan muy bien tras la bandera de la libertad. Los que más alto vociferan por el levantamiento del bloqueo, acarician en los secreto sus carteras, y hacen agua sus bocas en el pensamiento de las ganancias que les reportaría ese levantamiento. No tengo nada contra el turista americano, todos sabemos en Cuba de su prodigalidad, si tengo en contra de ocultar los verdaderos motivos tras los que se ocultan los defensores del levantamiento del bloqueo en su mayoría. Al menos, el bloqueo ha tenido la decencia de evitarnos a los cubanos ver a norteamericanos lucrar como lo hacen los extranjeros que tienen negocios en la isla con el dolor del pueblo cubano, de ver, como otros usan de los derechos a que tiene el cubano, derechos por ser seres humanos, y les son negados por el gobierno.
Si quieren venir a Cuba, por favor, digan el verdadero motivo, dinero, negocios con el gobierno y repartición de ganancias con ese mismo gobierno. Complacer tan bajos instintos, es hacer lo que hacen hoy los gobiernos populistas que surgen en América Latina, convertir al hombre en lobo del hombre.
No me parece tampoco correcto, achacar a simples personas, que se han dejado manipular, la culpa o la inocencia en ese asunto, o fabricar supuestos complots y conspiraciones sin presentar la prueba. Esas declaraciones están a tono con las que hace Hugo Chavez, inventando fantasmas para atemorizar a los venezolanos, sin pruebas o evidencias. Si esas personas han violado alguna ley, se debiera ser indulgentes con ellos, no son causa, son efecto y al final, seres humanos con derecho a no comprender el complicado asunto cubano.

Luis Moro said...

I BELIEVE IN BREAKING THE LAW.

Especially laws that were not created for the good of all people.
Especially laws that are out dated thanks to smarter generations.
Especially laws that relate to Cuba.

American laws were broken to give minors protection from abuse.
American laws were broken to give women equal rights.
AmericanlLaw were broken to give dark skin “humans” freedom.
America’s foundations includes it’s citizens breaking it’s laws.

And I will break every law possible related to the U.S. embargo on Cuba.
Let’s not pretend we shouldn’t break laws.
The laws against Cuba are begging to be broken so the cowards who keep them in place are exposed.

American needs it’s citizens to break every law possible related to the U.S. Embargo on Cuba. It might be the only way we can get our American freedom of Speech and travel rights back from the Cuban politicians.

I invite you to go to Cuba every chance you get.
Luis Moro. EveryThingCuba.com

karamchand said...

Sr. Moro, si usted vive en los EEUU, ha dicho una soberana estupidez, no recuerdo haber leído o visto sobre Martin Luther King quebrantando alguna ley federal, y sí al lider de los Panteras Negras porcesado por quebrantarlas. Las leyes estatales han sido desafiadas, pero en el caso de las federales, eso es harina de otro costal. Usted llama a quebrantar la ley del embargo, me gustaría verle de los primeros que lo hacen, no viene a cuento que diga aquí eso, si no está dispuesto a ser usted de los primeros en hacerlo. Demuestre con hechos sus palabras. Ya veremos que tal le va en corte.