Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Harvard Grads Do Some “Not Vacations” in Cuba

by Elliott Abrams
August 30, 2012

Cuba, tropical paradise. Harvard grads are invited to participate in a Harvard Alumni Association trip down there next year. But of course, this is a serious visit: no beaches, I guess. The Alumni Association describes the trip this way:

These programs are not vacations. Every hour must be accounted for and involve meaningful interactions with Cuban people. Further restrictions pertaining to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations apply.

Participants attend a full daily schedule of activities that include lectures, roundtable discussions and break-out sessions, private performances, artistic demonstrations and interpretations, and informal conversations, all delivered by local people. Speakers and guests include professors and students from the University of Havana, docents from museums, artisans and craftsmen of various trades, musicians and dancers, and local residents. They will help you gain a better understanding of the history, economics, education, healthcare, politics, art, architecture, and culture of Cuba.

One wonders. Will there be much interaction with Alan Gross, the USAID contractor who has been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for the crime of trying to help the tiny local Jewish community get on the internet? Might a visit to him in prison help the grads “gain a better understanding” of the “politics” of Cuba? Will they meet with the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unión Patriótica de Cuba, UNPACU), which Amnesty International describes as an “umbrella group of Cuban dissident organizations in and around the province of Santiago de Cuba who seek democratic change by non-violent means?” How about meeting the widow and children of Oswaldo Paya, whom the Committee to Protect Journalists described as a “tireless advocate for freedom of expression” and “the leader of the Varela Project, a landmark gathering of more than 20,000 signatures petitioning for political and human rights reforms to the government.” Would that be a “meaningful interaction with Cuban people?” How much will the visiting Harvard grads learn about the Varela Project during their “roundtable discussions” and “break-out sessions?”

Cubans fighting for human rights can use our solidarity and support. Alan Gross, who has lost 100 pounds in prison, can use it as well. But this kind of well orchestrated tour will instead serve the purposes of the Cuban regime. Travelers who have a conscience should stay home. There will be time to visit Cuba some future day when it is free–and when “local residents” can speak freely to visitors about the lives they are leading.

 

 

Post a Comment 33 Comments

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL VIDEO: Routine repression in Cuba – Harassment and detention of political dissidents, human rights activists, journalists and bloggers across Cuba has risen sharply over the past 24 months. – Mar 22, 2012
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyWLTbHMHmc&feature=youtu.be

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    ALAN GROSS WAS “PLUCKED” FROM THE REST OF THE TOURISTS BECAUSE HE WAS IDENTIFIED AS A POSSIBLE HOSTAGE TO TRADE FOR THE CUBAN 5 SPIES DUE TO HIS WORK WITH USAID! HE HAD A RECEIPT FOR WHAT HE BROUGHT IN AND THAT FACT CAME OUT IN THE TRIAL! THIS WAS SOMETHING THE CASTROFASCISTS WERE NOT PREPARED FOR! THAT IS THE REASON THEY CHANGED HIS CHARGES FROM BRINGING IN A “SATELLITE” PHONE TO “CRIMES AGAINST THE STATE”!! MR. GROSS DOES NOT SPEAK SPANISH! SOME SPY! AN IF THE CASE WAS SUCH A “SLAM DUNK” WHY WAS THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS BARRED FROM HIS TRIAL AND THE SUBSEQUENT APPEALS? JUST ASK YOURSELF THAT SIMPLE QUESTION!

    SAN DIEGO CHANNEL 10 : With American In Cuban Prison, Wife Hopes For Clemency- Alan Gross Convicted Of Trying To Subvert Cuban Gov’t – From Jill Dougherty,CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent

    “The equipment is illegal in Cuba without government permission, but a source close to the case told CNN that “at trial, the defense presented a receipt from Cuban Customs to demonstrate the Cubans were both aware of and approved what Alan brought in.””
    http://www.10news.com/news/29066339/detail.html

    CBS NEWS: Cuban Jewish leader knew imprisoned American-First member of Cuba’s small Jewish community admits knowing and talking to American Alan Gross, imprisoned for allegedly smuggling illegal satellite communication devices-By Portia Siegelbaum

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/24/501364/main20036259.shtml
    NPR : In Cuba, Jailed American Alan Gross Faces Trial

    BLOCK: Now, foreign journalists, I understand, are not allowed into the courtroom to cover the trial. You were outside the courthouse today. What were you able to learn there?

    MIROFF: That’s right. He’s being tried in a small municipal courthouse far away from the city center.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/03/04/134272743/In-Cuba-Jailed-American-Faces-Trial

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: DOCUMENT – CUBA: ROUTINE REPRESSION: POLITICAL SHORT-TERM DETENTIONS AND HARASSMENT IN CUBA- 2012

    The Cuban government wages a permanent campaign of harassment and short-term detentions of political opponents to stop them from demanding respect for civil and political rights. Since Amnesty International’s last report on the respect for the freedom of expression in Cuba, published in June 2010, (Restrictions on freedom of expression in Cuba, Index: AMR 25/005/2010) the situation has further deteriorated with a steady increase in the number of arbitrary detentions. Criticism of the government is not tolerated in Cuba and it is routinely punished with arbitrary and short-term detentions, “acts of repudiation” (demonstrations led by government supporters with the alleged participation of state security officials aimed at harassing and intimidating government critics), intimidation, harassment and politically motivated criminal prosecutions.

    The authorities continue to deny those wanting political change in Cuba their right to express and share their ideas freely and without reprisal or retaliation. Repression is routine. Peaceful demonstrators, independent journalists and human rights activists are routinely detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement. Activists are often detained as a preventive measure to stop them from attending public demonstrations or private meetings.

    In spite of the repression, the restrictions to the exercise of these rights are continuously challenged across Cuba resulting in thousands of detentions. Two organizations monitoring human rights in Cuba reported on a monthly basis hundreds of short-term detentions during 2011.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/007/2012/en/ccc6aeba-e892-4079-9e4a-63eebecd8a76/amr250072012en.html

  • Posted by Bill Carlson

    This is a wrong-headed approach that does not work. Cuba policy in the US is controlled by three billionaires in Miami who fund PACs to pay off politicians and fill the airwaves with untruths.

    The Cuban people are suffering because of US policy and the people of Florida and the US are suffering.

    The embargo and travel bans have not worked in 50 years and they need to end.

    The politicians supporting the embargo should listen to the people instead of easy money from Miami.

  • Posted by Rita Whitt

    I’m a “regular” citizen who was fortunate enough to travel to Cuba twice through a legally licensed “People to People” program. Mr. Abrams, have you been a participant or are you just guessing? I can give you first hand accounts of interaction with local people. I learned so much during our days there and there was little down time. We were scheduled into schools, hospitals, community projects, art institutes, tours of historical sights and museums. Each visit was 8 days with a tightly packed schedule. I came home with a new appreciation of the struggles of the Cuban people and admiration for their resilance and determination in the face of overwhelming obstacles. As soon as licenses are renewed I plan a third trip. I loved the Cuban people, the music, the art, the architecture, and the whole experience. If Americans want to spread democracy, we need to be able to interact with those from whom it is being denied. and ps to Humberto- no need to shout by using caps. We can read your rant just fine. #endthetravelban

  • Posted by Greg LaMotta

    Attacking the right of Americans to travel by describing human right abuses in Cuba is quite dishonest. Americans travel to many countries that supposedly abuse human rights. It seems that the issue of human rights is a pretext to prevent Americans from educating themselves.

  • Posted by Rhonda

    End the embargos. If we can do business with China, which has serious human rights issues, we should be able to visit and trade with Cuba. Cuba needs to free Alan Gross. By continuing to hold him hostage without proof of his guilt, they are showing the world their ignorance and stupidity.

  • Posted by Walter

    [Sorry, please post this one. Thanks for your patience.]

    Readers of this article, did you come here to have your existing opinion of Cuba reinforced or to find out more about Cuba issues? If you wanted more fuel for disliking Cuba, don’t read it too carefully. The author who seems well read, nonetheless repeated some popular untruths about current Cuban issues. For example he stated that Alan Gross’s crime was “trying to help the tiny local Jewish community get on the internet.” If you just want to hate Cuba more, you can stop right there.

    But if you care to know more of what really happened, they you will Google the charges against Gross for yourself and you will quickly find out Gross was paid a huge amount of US government money to make a number of trips sneaking into Cuba extremely expensive and special encrypted equipment only available to CIA, State Department Agents, etc. His own writing revealed he knew he was breaking Cuba law. The program that paid him was to help overthrow the Cuban government. That is criminal behavior in all countries. Helping the Jewish community was being used as a cover and still is.

    So if you want to know more, Google and check out the AP Businessweek article:
    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9SSHGPG2.htm

    And the reasonably objective article in Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Phillip_Gross

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    THE COMMENTATOR Walter IS WALTER LIPPMAN, ONE OF THE CASTROFASCISTS’ BIGGEST CHEERLEADERS! HE ALWAYS TRIES TO CONFUSE PEOPLE BY SAYING THAT WE WHO ARE ANTI-CASTRO ARE ANTI CUBA AND OR CUBAN WHICH IS THE CONTRARY! THE CUBAN “GOVERNMENT” NEVER ALLOWED THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS TO COVER ANY OF THE ALAN GROSS PROCEEDINGS NOR SHOWED ANY OF THESE EVIDENCE, THAT SHOULD SAY IT ALL!

    Summary of State Dept-John Kerry Q&A- USAID

    Excerpt: “These programs are comparable to what we and other donors do to support democracy and human rights in repressive societies all over the world. Possible counterintelligence penetration is a known risk in Cuba. Those who carry out our assistance are aware of such risks. …the Cuban government arbitrarily arrests and detains citizens who try to exercise basic freedoms…Unfortunately, given these circumstances, we are not always able to publicly convey the details and impact of our programs.”

    2) Question: Democracy programs were supposed to evolve under the Obama administration. How is that happening?
    Answer: This isn’t regime change anymore. We’re helping Cubans “freely determine their own future.” Also, the emphasis has shifted. We’re channeling as much aid as possible directly to Cuba rather than spending outside the island. We’re helping a wider range of people, not just legacy dissidents, but LGBT groups and the disabled.

    TO FIND ORIGINAL ARTICLE COPY AND PASTE TITLE BELOW TO BROWSER AND SEARCH, NOT ACCEPTING LINK!

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    Greg LaMotta!! WHY IS THE ISSUE OF HUMAN RIGHTS CUBA IN CUBA NOT A FAIR ARGUMENT? EVERYONE AGREES ON THE TIBET PROBLEM, WHY NOT THE CUBAN PROBLEM? LETS NOT BE HYPOCRITES! AND CHINA’S RESTRICTIONS PALE IN COMPARISON TO THE CASTRO FAMILY OLIGARCHY’S HOLD ON CUBA’S ECONOMY, FREEDOM OF TRAVEL AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES!

  • Posted by Rhonda

    “The program that paid him was to help overthrow the Cuban government.” HUH? What program? Are you saying that the US wants to overthrow the Cuban government and take control of it? Well if that is true, then that would splain why we have not been kind to them all of these many years….

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    Rita Whitt!! YOU WERE TANKEN (if yours is a true story and/or rant) TO THE PLACES THE CASTROFASCISTS WANTED YOU TO GO AND TALKED TO THE PEOPLE THEY WANT YOU TO TALK TO! FUNNY THAT SINCE OPENING THE PRISON ISLAND OF CUBA TO TOURISM IN 1994, ALL THE EUROPEAN, RUSSIAN, CANADIAN AND OTHER TOURISTS HAVE HAD VERY LITTLE EFFECT ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN CUBA, BUT MAYBE THE AMERICANS HAVE SOME SPECIAL POWERS THAT THOSE OTHERS DONT! AND FYI Rita Whitt, I’M CUBAN, I SPEAK LOUD AND TYPE LOUD SO DONT TREAD ON MY FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, WE ARE NOT IN CUBA! NOW LETS HEAR FROM THE EVERYDAY CUBANS AND NOT SOME TOURIST!

    YOUTUBE : Documentary : ” Cuba y los Elefantes ” – Versión completa- Complete film (with English sub-titles)- A look at Cuba, in reality beyond its tourist attractions. A documentary that takes us to reflect on the achievements of the socialist system and proclaim what the Cuban people really live. A production of the Political Institute for Freedom Peru

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCIk66EPIV4&list=PL336A24E33F0891C1&feature=player_embedded

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    PRETTY TIRED OF THE CASTRO APOLOGISTS RANTING ABOUT “LIFTING THE BAN” ON CUBA TRAVEL AND NEVER DO THEY MENTION ABOUT THE TOTAL CONTROL THAT THE CASTROFASCISTS HAVE ON THE RIGHT TO TRAVEL FOR THE ORDINARY CUBAN CITIZENS LIVING THERE! HYPOCRITES!

    HAVANA TIMES : The (Non) Right of Cubans to Travel -Haroldo Dilla Alfonso-February 1, 2010-

    The situation in Cuba concerning the freedom to travel is unfortunate. What I’m describing here is not for Cuban readers (who are all too familiar with this issue), but for those who are unaware of the matter and are forced to accept the information of those who close their eyes to this flagrant civil rights violation, a veritable wedge driven between the Cuban nation made up of both émigrés and those residing on the island.

    Above all, travel for Cubans is not a right, but a legal privilege. It is a condition that can be granted or rescinded. It is a revocable concession by an unappealable power and is without a defined judicial framework.

    In all cases, the departures of these people imply considerable fees that can end up in well excess of US $500, an immense sum for a population with exceedingly depressed wages that average $20 a month. In short, to leave, each person must be able to pay for a letter of invitation, a passport and an exit permit.

    On top of this, once in the destination country, the traveler must make payments to the Cuban embassy in that country a sum that varies each month they remain in that country, which is a highly uncustomary practice. This sum fluctuates between $40 and $150 a month.

    There are no laws or clearly written regulations covering these processes; rather, there are arbitrary and discretionary practices that mix starkly fascist reins of political control with mercurial motivations of the worst kind. In this way, the Cuban government denies a right that it alternately sells to those who can afford it.

    But we must pay them, and pay them well, so they can continue reproducing their power with the same parasitic style they’ve displayed over the last fifty years.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=18972

  • Posted by Rhonda

    @ Humberto Capiro
    Dude calm down, it will happen. Just let us get over there, let us visit and spend our dollars, and we will insist that Cuba become as Puerto Rico. But dude, Castro’s selfish, controlling regime must die out first….yes this can happen. And what a wonderful thing it will be for everyone..

  • Posted by Rhonda

    Dear God,

    I know that you must love the Castro brothers, because you have allowed them to live such long lives. But, the Cuban people are suffering because of their selfish controling regime. Please please allow the U.S. to come to Cuba and lift the people out of poverty, and into the 21st century! Thank you God!

  • Posted by John McAuliff

    Elliott Abrams is correct. Group tours, a format required by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, do not offer opportunities to see dissidents. Group tours to the US seldom if ever expose visitors to our deep social and economic problems and radical voices that call for doing away with the political system and US government.

    Nevertheless any penetration of the fifty year barrier of mistrust and misunderstanding is to the benefit of both nations. Did Abrams oppose Harvard alumni programs to China or Saudi Arabia or Egypt before the overthrow of Mubarak?

    Abrams either doesn’t know or doesn’t care what Alan Gross was actually doing in Cuba and thus why he is in prison. It would be wonderful if both governments released covert operatives of the other who violated national laws for political reasons as part of the enduring cold war conflict. Alan Gross is as guilty as the Cuban Five, even if he was only a very well paid civilian subcontractor of the US government and they were intelligence professionals.

    The blurring of lines is evident in an Associated Press story based on reports by Alan Gross available here http://uscubanormalization.blogspot.com/2012/06/alan-gross-from-his-own-reports.html

  • Posted by luis segui

    50 year USA/Cuba Embargo an act of war = Terrorism American Style http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/jul/17/great-western-will-pay-cuba-trade-sanctions/
    The world gets penalized on behalf of the Batistanos in Miami and El Burro Humberto.

  • Posted by Dr. Edith Goell

    From a European perspective it is amazing that the U.S. government controls the travelling of its citizens. This comes close to what the same government accuses the Cuban government of – that is not funny. The same holds for the alleged human rights abuses – I am thinking about the 700 prisoners who were held in Guantanamo, and the remaining 250, who did not get any “due process”. That the subversion and pressure from the superpower U.S. against the “red island” produces defenses from Havanna seems only natural. Imagine, some Cuban groupd yould throw anti-US-leaflets over Washington,DC or would locate bombs in hotels in New York — sure, the U.S. government would not stand by a smile, would it? That Mr. Abrams is not reflecting these context conditions, is alright, but that he does not mention the reasons for the imprisonment of lan Gross, is not right. He withhold substantial facts: that Gross was several times transporting intelligence communication equipment to groups in Cuba who fight their government. Remember, not even the U.S. stand above laws.

  • Posted by PBerrios

    The end of the cold war is way over. We even have China as a favored trade partner a country that is also cimmunist and sending subpar, even poisonous products to our consumers. There is absolutely no reason to continue a travel ban on Cuba. It just gives their current government more power and leverage over their citizens. We have nothing to gain by continuing this.

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    Dr. Edith Goell!! I THOUGHT THIS WAS AN ARTICLE ABOUT CUBA AND NOT THE BAD OLD U.S.A.! THAT IS SUCH AN OLD PLOY BY YOU CASTRO AGENTS/APOLOGISTS! AT LEAST THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS IS ALLOWED INTO GUANTANAMO WHILE THE CUBAN “GOVERNMENT” DOES NOT ALLOW EITHER THE U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY NOR THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS TO CHECK THEIR JAILS!

    HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Prisoners generally are confined in poor and abusive conditions, often in overcrowded cells. Officials frequently punish political prisoners who complain about poor conditions or do not obey prison rules with long periods in punitive isolation cells, restriction on visits, or denial of medical treatment. Cuba does not permit the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to visit prisoners in Cuba; the last ICRC visit to a Cuban prison was in 1989.

    http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/features/hrc2009/cuba/cubasummary.html

    MIAMI HERALD: Cuban inmates complain of poor conditions, food in video smuggled from Havana prison – Inmates at the Combinado del Este — Cuba’s largest and possibly most notorious prison — complain of prison conditions and lousy food. – By Juan O. Tamayo

    Ten videos smuggled out of Cuba’s biggest and reputedly worst prison, in an unusually daring operation by a dissident, show grotesquely dirty toilets, grimy walls, leaking sewage and food described as worse than “animal feed.”

    “Show this video to the international community, how this miserable dictatorship commits cruelties against humanity,” says the videos’ main narrator, an India citizen serving a 30-year sentence in Havana’s high security Combinado del Este prison.

    Havana dissident journalist Dania Virgen García, who writes the blog “Cuba por Dentro” — Inside Cuba — said the videos were shot in late January with a digital camera smuggled into the prison “so that everyone can see Cuba’s reality.” They were provided exclusively to El Nuevo Herald.

    The videos — which also showed several inmates, including a U.S. citizen complaining about prison conditions — appeared to be the first ever smuggled out of Cuba’s 200-plus prisons. Their views of prison buildings matched those of the Combinado del Este prison.

    The videos show a string of almost unimaginably filthy toilets, little more than holes on the floor of prisoners’ cells, many of them with walls so moldy from the humidity of the leaking sewage and water that they were nearly black.

    One inmate used a blue plastic 55-gallon drum in his cell to capture the leaking water and use it to flush the toilet and bathe. He also had rigged an electrical wire to heat up a five-gallon bucket of water for his bath.

    VIDEO #1: La cárcel por dentro – 1ra parte (The prison from inside part #1)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYJewyAtEcY&feature=player_embedded

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    John McAuliff!! SINCE YOU ARE SUCH AN INTELLIGENT MAN, PLEASE ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

    1. WHY WAS THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS NOT ALLOWED INTO THE COURTROOM FOR THE ALAN GROSS TRIAL AND ITS SUBSEQUENT APPEALS?

    2. WHY HAS THERE NEVER BEEN ANY PHOTOS OF THE SO CALLED CHIP AND SPECIAL EQUIPMENT THAT ALAN GROSS HAS BEEN ACCUSED BRINGING INTO CUBA?

    3. SHOULD YOU NOT MAKE CLEAR TO READERS HERE THAT YOU MAKE MONEY BY TAKING PEOPLE TO CUBA SO YOU ARE IN A POSITION TO APPEASE/EXCUSE ANY BAD PRESS ABOUT THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT?

    CUBA: Higher Education Orientation Trip – Led by John McAuliff
    June 15-24, 2012 / 10 days (8 days in Cuba) – For educators, the opportunity to go to Cuba provides and unprecedented way to discover the history, culture, and environments that have been off limits since the Cuban Revolution. This orientation program, led by John McAuliff, is designed to prepare educators to bring students for research across a variety of disciplines. The 8 days in Cuba will feature lectures and meetings with higher education experts as well as the opportunity to interact with Cubans from other professions. Please note: This program is currently available only for participants who qualify under the general license for faculty and staff developing a student program for credit at a tertiary institution or who have a general license for professional research. John McAuliff is the founder and executive director of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development.

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    luis segui!! EMBARGO? ACT OF WAR?? YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING!

    U.S.-CUBA TRADE AND ECONOMIC COUNCIL, INC.
    ECONOMIC EYE ON CUBA- February 2012 – Report For Calendar Year 2011
    2011-2001 U.S. EXPORT STATISTICS FOR CUBA

    The following is the data for exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba relating to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act (TSRA) of 2000, which re-authorized the direct commercial (on a cash basis) export of food products (including branded food products) and agricultural products (commodities) from the United States to the Republic of Cuba, irrespective of purpose. The TSRA does not include healthcare products, which remain authorized by the Cuban Democracy Act (CDA) of 1992.

    The data represents the U.S. Dollar value of product exported from the United States to the Republic of Cuba under the auspice of TSRA. The data does not include transportation charges, bank charges, or other costs associated with exports from the United States to the Republic of Cuba. The government of the Republic of Cuba reports data that, according to the government of the Republic of Cuba, includes transportation charges, bank charges, and other costs. However, the government of the Republic of Cuba has not provided verifiable data. The use of trade data reported by the government of the Republic of Cuba is suspect. The government of the Republic of Cuba has been asked to provide verifiable data, but has not.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    http://www.cubatrade.org/CubaExportStats.pdf

  • Posted by William Harry

    The reason US citizens can’t venture outside their schedule is the fault of our stupid American policy towards Cuba.

    BTW, this guy Capiro sure has a lot of time to write those long diatribes. Somebody must be paying for his time.

    Or maybe he just copies and pastes…??? since It’s the same old worn-out rhetoric we’ve been hearing for the past 50 years…

  • Posted by Dr. Edith Goell

    Working on U.S. Cuba-policy for two decades I am aware of the polarized black-and-white imagery in parts of the U.S. public. I am aware of the general ideological polarization, which often leaves complicated facts out of the pictures. HUMBERTO CAPIRO only selects the opinions which are supporting his negative images of Cuba. What is totally missing is his ability or willingness to acknowledge all the other facts and perspectives. This almost fundamentalist stance worries me – because it is very close to demonize “the other”, and then to use whatever tool or weapon (of the huge U.S. arsenal) wo wipe “the other” out. This is not nice, it is stone-age. Whereas Cuba sent hundreds of doctors and nurses to Haiti after the devastating earthquake, the U.S. mainly sent soldiers. Every year the UN General Assembly votes in favor of ending the U.S. blockade against Cuba – only two governments are against this (US, Israel). And the U.S. does nothing to act according to the will of mankind. That is what Senator James Fulbright was labelling so precisely as “arrogance of power”. President Bush Jr once asked, why do so many countries hate us – he did not dare to listen to those voicese, instead bombed Iraq. That is stone-age. This is a dead-end street.

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    William Harry!! I JUST LOOVE WHEN YOU CASTRO AGENTS/APOLOGISTS START THE MONEY$$$$$$$$ CHARACTER ASSASSINATION, INSINUATIONS, INNUENDOS AND OUTRIGHT CHISMES! IF YOU KNOW I SHOULD BE GETTING SOME MONEY, PLEASE SHOW ME AND TELL ME BECAUSE I AINT RICH! I LIKE TO KEEP YOU CASTOFASCISTS APOLOGIST ON YOU TOES! CAPISCE? NOW IS THAT YOUR REAL NAME? CAN I HAVE A LINK TO VERIFY IT?? YOU CAN VERIFY MINE! JE JE JE!

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    Dr. Edith Goell (is that a real name that can be verified?) !! IM CUBAN, I WAS BORN THERE! I CAN CRITIZIED ALL I WANT THE CUBAN “GOVERNMENT” HEADED BY THE CASTRO BROTHERS, THEY ARE IN CONTROL FOR OVER 53+ YEARS, THEY BETTER GET USED TO CRITICISM! IM ALSO AN AMERICAN SO I CAN CRITIZISED THE U.S.A. GOVERNMENT HERE TOO! IT’S CALLED FREEDOM OF SPEECH! HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF IT? AND PLEASE POST A LINK TO VERIFY ALL YOU COMMENTS/STATEMENTS!

    YOUTUBE ENTIRE DOCUMENTARY: “Grandchildren of the Cuban Revolution” – The Grandchildren of the Revolution gives the youth a voice to share their feelings of hope and despair. Some speak with humor, many do it in defiance. The film tries to capture the vibe of Cubas youth today. Featuring artists like: Los Aldeanos, Porno para Ricardo, Silvito El Libre and bloggers Claudia Cadelo, Yoani Sanchez and Laritza Diversent, the film was directed by Carlos Montaner with the help of young camera men and women who visited the island throughout a span of several months. SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUB-TITLES
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KVqUrOBiQQ

    YOUTUBE : CUBAN Documentary – “Wishes on a Falling Star”- While the Castro brothers face their certain end, an uncertain future hangs over the island. Some people are afraid, many cannot wait, but all shudder and hope that the changes will be positive.
    This documentary leads the audience through the discovery of this hope, through a tourist’s camera which looks to be turned off and oblivious to the conversation at hand, yet is focused on candidly capturing each person’s wishes. There is the old guerrillero who took part in the revolution, the lady who met Che Guevara and lives thanks to the government social card, and also the young boys and girls — those who wish to make a career within the rules, as well as those who only try to escape abroad. Clandestine underground shops, businessmen experienced in all things illegal, dodgy pimps, mothers who force their daughters into selling their bodies — the hidden face of the State which welcomes tourists into its luxury resorts is openly displayed beyond censorship’s control. One special guide is Yoani Sanchez, the independent blogger, a leader of the new, peaceful revolution — the revolution of ideas. The internet is its main instrument, while the government attempts to limit computer use with any means possible in a pushing and pulling of ideals. In the interview, recorded in a secret location, the young writer speaks about her country’s ruin, and where Raul’s reforms have no effect on everyday life. Castro’s supporters and dissidents, young and old — none deceive themselves that the star of the revolution will shine on for much longer. And this is what this project focuses on: the wishes on a falling star.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Afnx7j1m6eA&annotation_id=annotation_725071&feature=iv

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    Dr. Edith Goell!! FUNNY, I GOOGLED YOUR NAME AND NOTHING CAME UP! CAN YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO VERIFY THAT YOU REALLY ARE WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE? GRACIAS!

  • Posted by LindaCubana

    I would like to know what entitles a Middle Eastern expert to blog about Cuba and write such absurdities. Since when foreign study groups to the US would go see Bradley Manning? You know where they go? To Colonial Williamsburg and to the Smithsonian! But more to the point, Council: have a Cuba expert blog about Cuba and do not waste this man’s talent, he should be blogging about his areas of expertise.

  • Posted by Robert

    This article is an absurdity! Yes, there are human rights abuses in Cuba. There are also (many) in the U.S. and in most other democratic countries as well. But this fact does not lead to travel bans on “free” citizens! As a citizen of Canada I am allowed to travel to the U.S. even though there are some human rights abuses there (Guantanamo is part of U.S. policy NOT Cuban policy, for example!). I am allowed to travel to other nations which have much worse records on human rights…and I am free to travel to Cuba. This does not mean that everyone in Canada a Castro supporter! It means my government respects my human rights, including my right to travel. The U.S. travel ban is absurd as is the embargo. It denies basic necessities to innocent Cuban people who did not vote freely for their leaders. And after more than 50 years, it has changed nothing except to make basic necessities more expensive for poor people in Cuba.

  • Posted by Raja M. Ali Saleem

    @ LindaCubana. Mr Abrams has every right to speak about Cuba as he was Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs and Human rights in the 1980s when all the ‘good’ things were happening in Central America. Those were the days….Sadly, now the only interesting game in town is Cuba.

  • Posted by TerryC

    I have a question for Bill Carlson who posted earlier. Who are the three billionaires you refer to as funding US Cuba policy?

    Fanjul must be one of them?

    >> you wrote
    Posted by Bill Carlson August 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    This is a wrong-headed approach that does not work. Cuba policy in the US is controlled by three billionaires in Miami who fund PACs to pay off politicians and fill the airwaves with untruths.

    The Cuban people are suffering because of US policy and the people of Florida and the US are suffering.

    The embargo and travel bans have not worked in 50 years and they need to end.

    The politicians supporting the embargo should listen to the people instead of easy money from Miami.

  • Posted by Humberto Capiro

    TerryC! YOU SHOULD ASK HIM FOR SOME LINKS TOO! DONT KNOW WHY ALL THESE ALLEGATIONS WITHOUT PROOF! AM I THE ONLY ONE WITH LINKS AROUND HERE??

  • Posted by NormK

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