The state-of-the-art argument in favor of the travel ban is stated by the Heritage Foundation’s Ray Walser, who sort of loosely characterizes the views of those of us who favor unrestricted travel. If there’s anyone who believes that the “absence of change” in
An end to travel restrictions will not change
Ray’s more interesting point is that “the voiceless Cuban people” deserve to be heard. True that, as they say.
We don’t have polls on this. So one could begin by asking if the Cuban people are introverts by nature and want to be isolated from foreign visitors. Or if any people living under communism has ever wanted that. I don’t think so, on either score.
But we can cite some “voiceless” Cubans, too.
There’s dissident economist Oscar Espinosa Chepe, one of the 75 imprisoned in 2003:
“Democratic countries that wish to help the Cuban people should recognize the existence of a new situation that calls for new thinking. The policy of isolating
There’s blogger Yoani Sanchez:
“Change will come not through government agencies but through the citizens and the spread of information and exchange with the outside world.”
Hector Palacios, another of the 75, was quoted as follows by AFP last May:
“Without dialogue, there is no peaceful change,” he opined, before pointing out “a series of points that have to disappear from the embargo,” in his opinion. “First, that Cubans [Cuban Americans] may travel to their country any time they wish, that they may send their family what they want to send, and also that
Or there’s human rights activists Elizardo Sanchez and Vladimiro Roca, in a May 2003 statement to the Center for International Policy:
“Just as we insist on the right of Cubans to travel, to leave and return to our country freely, a right now denied us, so too do we support the right of Americans to travel freely, including travel to
Or Cardinal Jaime Ortega, in a March 2005 meeting with Congressional visitors:
“Tourism is one of the only things that has brought change to
Or Oswaldo Paya, leader of the Varela Project, interviewed by
“We call on all foreigners who visit our country to show solidarity, hold demonstrations, speak out for an opening in
While we’re at it, it’s worth looking at the views of Freedom House, which notes, “The United States does not impose similarly restrictive travel sanctions on Americans to other regimes that receive Freedom House’s lowest freedom ratings, including Burma, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.”
And there’s this from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
My own views are here, prompted by Secretary of State Rice’s spokesman, who in 2007 criticized Cuba’s travel restrictions on its own citizens without a trace of irony. (The only update is to the CIA’s economic growth estimate for