Why we remain resolute against traveling to Cuba
Humberto Fontova, The Miami Herald
“More travel to Cuba means more freedom for Cubans,” goes the anti-“embargo” mantra.
Now here’s what a recent story by Reuters out of Havana said: "Cuba just completed its best year for tourism with 2.7 million visitors in 2011. Hotels are full to the brim and Old Havana, the capital’s historic center, is teeming with tourists from around the world.... ‘We are at capacity…. totally full,’ said the manager of a foreign hotel company.”
Now here’s a recent report by The Cuban Commission for Human Rights as reported by Marti Noticias: “December 2011 was the worst month for political arrests in 30 years. Elizardo Sánchez said ‘all signs are indicating that … the regime has greatly ramped up its repressive machinery’… This indicates that the regime has granted top priority to the institutions of repression.”
In the 1950s when Cuba hosted an average 200,000 tourists annually, it was billed as a “tourist playground.” Well, for two decades now Cuba has been hosting from five to ten times the number of tourists annually as it hosted in the 1950s. Result?
The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom shows no loosening in Cuba’s repression during this tourism windfall. For over a decade Cuba has consistently ranked as the most economically repressive regime in the hemisphere and among the four most repressive on earth, consistently nudging North Korea for top honors.
“But if Americans can legally travel to North Korea,” comes the reflexive retort, “why not to Cuba?”
Because tourism represents a tiny source of income for North Korea’s terror-sponsoring regime, whereas it represents the main life-support (right behind Venezuelan subsidies) of Cuba’s terror-sponsoring regime. So the United States applies a different type of sanctions to Stalinist North Korea than to Stalinist Cuba.
As shown earlier, the evidence, proof and verdict on Cuba-travel are all in. Rather than soothing the savage beast of Castroism, travel to Cuba enriches, entrenches and thus emboldens the regime to shrug off criticism and sharpen its fangs.
But point this out and “experts” on the matter will unanimously denounce you as “embittered” “irrational” and “blinded-by-emotion.”
For much of the past decade the United States has been among Cuba’s biggest food suppliers. The expenditures by an estimated 400,000 travelers from the United States combined with a blizzard of remittances puts the estimated cash-flow from the United States to Cuba last year at $4 billion. While a proud Soviet satrapy, Cuba received $3 billion to $5 billion annually from the Soviets. So to label our current relationship with Cuba an “embargo” is laughable.
To label it a “blockade” shows appalling ignorance, functional illiteracy -or more likely- Castro-regime advocacy, on its payroll or off. And given the absence of any person or entity registered with U.S. Department of Justice as agents of the Cuban government, we have to assume the latter.
Payments from Castro’s payroll, however, can appear in laundered form. Take the case of the oft-quoted (especially here at The Miami Herald) champion of unfettered U.S. travel to Cuba, Phil Peters of the Lexington Institute. A Nexus-Lexus search shows that Mr. Peters could be properly billed as the mainstream media’s “go-to” source on the Cuba “embargo” issue.
Well, here’s some background on the Lexington Institute’s funding:
In a joint venture with the Castro regime, Canadian mining company Sherritt International operates the Moa nickel mining plant in Cuba’s Oriente province. This facility was stolen by Castro gunmen from its U.S. managers and stockholders at Soviet gunpoint in 1960 (when it was worth $90 million.) Now here’s something from a legal memo uncovered by Babalu Blog as part of a court case discovery: “Canada’s Sherritt works quietly in Washington... recently it has given money to a former State Department employee, Phil Peters, to advance its interests. The money to Peters goes through contributions to the Lexington Institute, where Peters is a vice president. Because the Lexington Institute is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, there is no public record of Sherritt’s funding. This has allowed Peters to advise and direct the Cuba Working Group (a Congressional anti-embargo cabal) in ways beneficial to Sherritt while presenting himself to the Group as an objective think-tank scholar.”
In brief: One of the Castro regime’s top business partners funnels under-the-table payments to America’s top anti-embargo publicist, who is invariably billed as an “impartial scholarly expert” in every media mention.
And in brief: Every shred of observable evidence proves that travel to Cuba enriches and entrenches the KGB-trained and heavily-armed owners of Cuba’s tourism industry, and thus the most highly motivated guardians of Cuba’s Stalinist status-quo
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