Why would they go to Jamaica? There's no vicious dictatorship to suck up to there. Hobnobbing with tyrants provides instant intellectual gravitas to celebrities who don't know a dialectic from a diaphram.
Originally Posted by noonwitch
As for keeping the sanctions, they have achieved quite a bit.
Cuban Embargo - Myths and Reality II
Before we talk about the Cuban embargo, let’s look at a frog that can’t or refuses to learn about the realities of nature in this world of ours. Do you know who Robert Freer thinks is a frog? At least in the gradually heated water, he s starting to believe it is US! Yes, US being you and me or the good ole USA! Let’s hope that we learn from these articles, give up our complacency, and do something about it. Make sure you friends read these articles and feel free to distribute or republish them. Just be sure and follow the guidelines in the last paragraph.
Cuban Embargo - Myths and Reality II
By Robert E. Freer, Jr, President of the Free Enterprise Foundation
The scorpion had been sunning himself when he saw across the pond lots of swarming activity around a carcass. I just have to get there before it is all gone he thought, but how? It will take me all day to go around the pond. Ahh, the frog that sits yonder will take me there. “Oh, frog, you will take me won’t you?” He inquired. “Gosh, I am not that stupid,” said the frog. “I just survived from that pot over there, and have no desire to run that risk again.” “Oh, heavens, I won’t hurt you. If you sink I will die too because I cannot swim,” responded the scorpion. Well, the frog thought that is so. I guess it is ok, and he let him hop on his back and begin the swim. Midway across, the scorpion began to sting him severely, and the frog, as he died, said why did you do that? You will die too.” The scorpion responded, “Yes, I guess that is so, but it is my nature.”
When last we visited the frog he was in the pot whose heat was being slowly turned up. He seems to have escaped but not being very smart, it wasn’t for very long. In similar fashion, liberals in Congress are again returning to the theme of the poor Cuban people who are only held back from reconciling with us by our ill considered embargo on certain financial activity with Cuba and Cuban nationals. “Can’t we see we are starving the Cubans and preventing our entrepreneurs from bringing trade advantages to the U.S.?” they plead.
It is a myth, a well publicized myth, but a myth nevertheless. We should be concerned for the poor Cuban people, but if the embargo was the problem, Cuban Americans would be leading the charge for its removal.
There are more that a million Americans who are no more than one or two generations removed from their flight from Castro’s brutality and theft of all property when he came to power in 1959. The current embargo on certain financial transactions was put into place under President Eisenhower and has been amended over the years to enlarge the permitted financial activity to include trade in foods and agricultural products, humanitarian aid and specified financial transactions in connection with licensed travel to the Island, and it has been tightened to include U.S. subsidiary corporations overseas.
The embargo does not prevent Cuba or its citizens from buying virtually anything they need from any other nation, and for them the world is an open market to obtain anything they need, and they can buy items from us that are approved within our law. The reality is that the Cuban economy is a failed economy. Despite its ideal conditions for agricultural production of a wide assortment of tropical products, gold, nickel and even some high sulfur oil reserves with the promise of more in the offing, the Cuban’s themselves have destroyed an existing economy that, though inequitable in its distribution, was successful. Now Cubans are united only in their misery.
Another myth is that the United States has cut off people to people exchanges, academic visits, religious and humanitarian programs. All those types of contacts are specifically permitted within existing regulations and are licensed when applications are properly filed. The fact is that our government is only half the hurdle. The Cuban government must provide the appropriate visas for such travel and that has been harder to obtain and not as broadly granted as some previous times in our history.
The vision of thousands of Americans just awaiting our government’s permission to stream to Cuba for cut rate tropical vacations is a myth. The Cuban government would never permit a horde of American tourists to overwhelm their brutal, controlled society. In a strange way, the Cubans would look at an act by our government to open the gates of visitors about the same way we would look at another Mariel boatlift of thousands of Cuban refugees.
It is also a myth that the only ones who suffer from our embargo are the Cuban people. The Cuban people would not directly benefit from removal of the embargo. In Cuba, you are doing business with Cuba Inc. You must deal with the Marxist state. With rare exception payment goes to the enterprise through Cuba Inc. in dollars at a 1 for 1 exchange rate when in actuality it is more like a 25 to one rate on the street. The labor paid for in whatever context is then paid in Cuban pesos which in effect is a confiscatory tax on the worker. For significant investors in Cuban mineral extraction operations, I am told it is tolerated to supply an unregulated market bag of groceries or other form of subsistence payment directly to the workers, but otherwise transactions that aren’t “street” transactions only go to enrich the state.
What kind of state would we be enriching? Cuba is not a benign socialist state. It is one of the most brutally repressive regimes in the world. Its documented human rights abuses are out of some horror novel but real. Stoning, beatings both by organized mobs and in prisons, constant harassment not only of the individual but his family and relatives, imprisonment in vermin infested facilities without light, sanitary facilities, or wholesome food is commonplace for nothing more than speaking the truth.
The Report on Human Rights Violations in Cuba 2005-2006 by the Cuban Foundation of Human Rights documents that, “[m]ore than 500 political prisoners remain locked in Cuban prisons. … Almost daily, military officials in all the prisons of the country deal savage beatings to the prisoners in general, and they do not distinguish between common prisoners and prisoners of conscience, or that the beaten ones are handicapped, ill, old people, women, or those who suffer from psychological disorders.”
The report goes further to give some details about the methods of beating, and the conditions of the cells and mattresses infested with bed-bugs.
These physical conditions often cause prisoners the “loss of their teeth and a noticeable loss of vision after being in jail three or four years” The U.N. has documented between 100,000 and 200,000 prisoners in Cuba, a figure that it calls unusually high for its population.
Finally there is the matter of Cuba’s poor reputation as a business partner. Cuba’s debt not only to the U.S. but the rest of the world remains largely unpaid. Not even the payments on interest to its trading partners in “The Club of Paris” have been paid since 1986. The UK has suspended its export credit guarantees as have a number of other countries. Dealing with Cuba is a decidedly dicey proposition.
Like my friends in the Cuban American community, I look forward to the reopening of the Island to peaceful and profitable relations when the facts suggest that an open hand will be met by an open hand not the scorpion’s spike. Cuban American’s who could be expected to scream the loudest if the embargo was the impediment it is made out to be are instead supplying their families in Cuba direct aid in the form of “remittances “ that by some estimates approach between 800 million and a billion dollars a year. That aid itself has become controversial as indirectly propping up the regime. There are those who criticize Cuban Americans as the barrier to open relations. In reality, they should be thanked, not cursed, for they are saving us from a foolish mistake.
Copyright © 2007 by Robert E. Freer, Jr. All rights reserved
About the author: Robert E. Freer, Jr. is President of The Free Enterprise Foundation. He is a Visiting Professor, at The Citadel and elected in 2005 to be their first John S. Grinalds Leader in Residence. A regular contributor to the Mercury, he can be reached at The Citadel . Copies of his earlier columns can be found at The Free Enterprise Foundation.