Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Chepe: Allow travel to Cuba

The calls to restrict travel to Cuba never seem to come from Cuba. They don’t come from Europe, not from the governments of the former communist countries or from the organizations in those countries that work independently or with U.S. support to press human rights issues. All European countries allow open travel to Cuba and there is no debate in Europe about restricting travel.

In Cuba itself, you would be hard pressed to find people who believe that the solution to their country’s problems lies in barriers to contact with the outside world.

Writing in Madrid’s El Pais (Spanish here, translation here), dissident Oscar Espinosa Chepe discusses the economics of Cuba’s tourism industry, then calls for an opening in U.S policy in the interest of promoting a “democratic, reconciled Cuba:”

“In these circumstances, the mechanisms established by the U.S. authorities, aimed at isolating Cuban society from contact with its citizens, and even with Cuban-Americans, are counterproductive and incomprehensible. In fact, it is aligned with the policy always promoted by the Cuban Government, of keeping the people on the Island isolated from any outside contact. The only sensible thing that could help the Cuban people is what was done in Eastern Europe and later in China and Viet Nam, where the ties between the peoples were fostered and continue to be fostered, with unquestionable success.

“One would hope that, with the new balance of power in the U.S. Congress and Senate [sic], there will be more understanding of this matter, and that there will be a radical change in the policy toward Cuba, especially because Cuba-U.S. relations are vital for the democratic transition in Cuba. A climate of tension and suspicion in the Straits of Florida has always been very helpful to the interests of the most change-resistant sector of the Cuban Government.

“So, the proposals made recently by Representatives Jeff Flake, Bill Delahunt, Mrs. Emerson, and Charles Rangel, among other important U.S. legislators, all made with great common sense and which, if approved, would doubtless significantly benefit efforts on behalf of a democratic, reconciled Cuba, where human rights are respected, are essential to Cubans.”


Karamchand said...

En la Alemania de Hitler la inmensa mayoría del pueblo alemán apoyaba a Hitler, no olvidar que no siempre la mayoría este correcta aunque tenga la razón, por ser esa mayoría, hasta las mayorías se equivocan. En el caso de Europa, sencillamente, ellos tienen muchos intereses económicos en la isla que les obligan a comportarse de forma más o menos benévola con la dictadura.

Anonymous said...

no es visitando a cuba como se logra la democratizacion. ya el gobierno cubano se adelanto poniendo aun mas traba para que el ciudadano cubano venga a visitarnos . los cubanos podrian palpar la diferencia, visitando u.s.a.

Anonymous said...

good points in this blog, shows lo ridiculo of the Miami imbeciles...! I mean they claim to speak for cubans, yet most cubans (en la isla) really want contact with outside world. Allowing travel to cuba form us would "democratize", but it wouldn't HURT, and its anti-constitutional anyway (and anti-human rights).. I know, cubans can't travel here (hey two wrongs don't make a right)

leftside said...

Anon, Cubans can and do travel here when they are granted visas by the US. The US, under Bush, has begun denying all visas to loyal Cubans however - musicians, scientists, bureaucrats, etc. Of course, they must also be given an exit visa, which costs time and money. But unless you are a doctor or related to a defector, exit visas are normally granted.

Unknown said...

How come China and Vietnam...both long established COMMUNIST states are on the "Most Favored Nation" list, but the small island of Cuba is treated as villian. Or, is it human rights. The US is not to clean on that subject either. Need I mention Guantanamo. Or, maybe it is a bunch of NEO cubans in Miami with lots of money influencing politicos.