Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dissidents: End travel ban

The House of Representatives may debate the funding for Cuba democracy programs today.

When the GAO report on these programs was issued, four prominent dissidents – Martha Beatriz Roque, Gidela Delgado, Elizardo Sanchez, and Vladimiro Roca – issued a statement. (English here, original here.)

They thought that some parts of the GAO report were taken out of context, and they expressed support for U.S. government grantees that have provided aid.

They expressed hope that “a greater amount of aid may reach the pro-democracy activists to advance with greater speed in pursuit of the economic, political, and social liberty of our country.”

And while they support the U.S. government aid program, they also called for “elimination of a series of existing restrictions on the sending of aid and travel to Cuba, which don’t at all help the pro-democracy struggle that we are carrying out inside our country.”

The statement did not go over well in Miami. Roque later clarified, saying that her position is not in favor of eliminating the travel ban altogether, but only to allow unrestricted travel for those carrying aid to dissidents.

Not that it’s my business, but that seems an unusual political position to project in Cuba: It’s OK for people to bring things to me and like-minded politicians, but not to the average Cuban. In Miami, or in parts of Miami, it works just fine.


Anonymous said...

You're right. "Travel for me but not for thee" is a difficult stance to support on either side of the Straits.

Ernesto said...

I think you're not right.

Anonymous said...

Well, that just takes the cake. End the travel ban, but only for those bringing lovely cashmere sweaters, chocolates, and game boys for the "fight" for democracy. Of course, dissidents are special people, and you can just throw out the everyday Cuban in the street with the bathwater. That's a democracy movement I can live without.