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  • Dictators and Enablers

    Posted by Jonathan on December 16th, 2003 (All posts by )

    Steve has a great post about evil dictators and the lefty jerks who enable them. He is discussing Cuba rather than Iraq but the principle is the same.

    Speaking of Cuba, what really frosts me is those ads for tour excursions, where they talk about the decrepit old cars as though these were manifestations of some quaint custom — perhaps a Latin version of the New England covered bridge — rather than tragic reminders of a wrecked society. For these morons it’s all about appearances and posturing, and the old cars serve as props to their immoral power-fantasies. Never mind how Cubans actually live, for “progressive” tourists Cuba is a kind of revolutionary Colonial Williamsburg where they can show solidarity with the inmates people in charge and pretend they’re fighting the evil Yanqui imperialists. Who knows — without those old cars, it might feel like just another third-world country that’s been run into the ground by a bunch of gangsters. That wouldn’t be any fun. (How many of these tourists realize that Cuba was a first-world country before Castro took over?)

    The tourists get to go back to their nice homes in the U.S. and not be bothered by pesky ingrates who would rather risk being eaten by sharks than live in the workers’ paradise. Not to mention that if you don’t spend much time there you don’t have to deal with the Cuban medical system, which functions at around the same level as those old cars.

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    18 Responses to “Dictators and Enablers”

    1. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Actually, some guy in the Guardian explained we embargo Cuba because we’re jealous of their education and health system. No joke. All based on data from the Cuban government, of course.

      It’s not just in Cuba. People the world over are being told, bribed or coerced into stopping their own progress for the sake of the supposedly “progressive” tourists. Politically correct neo-colonialism.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      “Politically correct neo-colonialism” is right. Can’t have those brown people getting ahead in the world if doing so would spoil the fantasies of western leftists. And you’re right that my comments don’t apply only to Cuba.

    3. Rich Reilly Says:

      As a guy who lives in Madison, WI and is part of the Latin dance scene(don’t laugh;), it’s interesting to hear the occassional romanticizing on Cuba. I have had folks coming back with stories of forced participation in pro-government rallies tell me about them as if they were simply different customs to be embraced.
      I had one guy who claims to have Cuban roots phrase it thusly “…everybody there sits in cafes and drinks tea..” Yeah..nothing like an iced tea after being dragged to a rally.
      Every once in a while I encounter someone actually from Cuba. Like Sunday night. This was a man who has been in Miami for the past 10 years after being tailed, observed and routinely visited at his home. Basically expected to leave by the same government that made it difficult to do so. A telling moment, and one very relevant to this discussion, was when he told me “I have more freedom when I visit as a tourist than when I lived there.”

    4. Sandy P. Says:

      I remember that article and sent him an email:

      Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy.”

      – John Derbyshire

      (via Daimnation)

    5. Rich Reilly Says:

      Otra: I have to say it is a poor advert for “freedom” when the only Americans they see have to do it against the US government’s wishes. Of course, folks arriving via Canada or the like aren’t risking 20 yrs but..it would be a cleaner statement to be able to say “We come and go as we please..why not you?”

    6. RonG Says:

      Whenver I manage to get a lefty to talk about Cuba (not exactly hard ) I like to use the line that I approve of the revolution because while before the revolution Cuba may have been a playground and whorehouse for the rich Americans, but since it has become a playground and whorehouse for working class Europeans and Canadians, and now the whores have education and health care as well. I don’t have many leftist friends for some reason.

    7. J.Scott Barnard Says:

      Val sends me this link, click forward or reverse buttons for pics of the “quaint” Cuba as depicted by travel brochures. Sad, really.

      http://www.photoway.com/fr/dest/CU98_32.html.

      –scott

    8. Jonathan Says:

      Scott,

      Nice photos. If you compare them to other photos (from, say, Florida) on the same website, the obvious question is, “Why is Cuba so backward?” Some people prefer not to ask.

      In case it’s not clear from my post, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with visiting Cuba. What I object to is when people who should know better pretend that Cuba’s backwardness is quaint and ignore its obvious cause, and ignore the avoidable misery of the people who live there. (I doubt that those ladies pictured doing laundry in a stream think their poverty is quaint.)

    9. Scott Barnard Says:

      Jonathon, I have mixed feelings about traveling there. It’s easy to do through Mexico but I’m concerned about spending money there that may just be used to prop up the regime. On the other hand, what do you think would happen if I flew in, drank some mojitos, hired a driver to take me to the prison where they hold Dr. Oscar Biscet and asked to visit him? –scott

    10. Jonathan Says:

      Scott,

      I don’t want to prop up the regime either, and I think it’s a mistake to go there and ignore the political and moral context of local conditions. But I can’t blame people who want to visit their families there, and I’m sure it would do a lot of good if more foreigners tried to visit opponents of the regime.

    11. ArtD0dger Says:

      “Enablers” sounds so pedestrian. I prefer to call them “dictator fellators.”

    12. Rich Reilly Says:

      Otra otra: Another bit gleaned from recent discussions is that if you travel legally you wind up being assigned by the Cuban government to accomodations of their picking…@ around $150/night when you can rent an entire apartment for around $10 on the “black market”.

    13. Jonathan Says:

      Rich,

      See RonG’s comment above. The Cuban regime runs the country like a whorehouse staffed by slaves.

    14. Scott Barnard Says:

      I think we’d be shipped off to the airport faster than you can see “un otro mojito” if we tried to visit imprisonded dissidents…but you’ve made me re-think the whole thing. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if like, every day a tourist showed up at a dissident’s prison? Would they shut down the tourism industry? Set up road blocks? I’m going to investigate this.

    15. Rich Reilly Says:

      “The Cuban regime runs the country like a whorehouse staffed by slaves.”

      I agree. But I wonder if the tourism restriction doesn’t play into Castro’s hands. Especially since other countries are not participating in it. It means only those Americans willing to circumvent the law will represent us there. Meaning…a good share of those people are more sympathetic to Castro’s “ideals”. Makes it seem strange to condemn castro for his restrictions of his people by placing restrictions on ours.

    16. Jonathan Says:

      Rich, you have a point.

    17. Miguel Says:

      Sorry, but there are no “brown” people in Cuba. All of the Siboney indians died of measels, by 1500 there were hardly any left. Cuba is a country of whites and blacks, as simple as that (and a few asians too). Fidel is a mass murderer that will have to account for that either on this world or in eternal hell. He won’t scape doing harm to sooooo many people for such a loooong time (44 years this coming Jan 1, poor Cuba).

    18. Miguel Says:

      RonG: Cuba was the brothel of the US before, now it’s the brothel of Mexico, forget about Europe or Canada. So many middle and upper middle class Mexicans have told me with delight how they used (that is the real word) Cuban women (many times as young as 14) for all kinds f pleasures and degradation. Really disgusting :( It costs 1000 (one thousand) dollars for Mexicans to spend a week in Cuba, all expenses covered, so a lot of people here can go there. I have relatives there, but I won’t set a foot in that concentration camp until the tyrant is gone and dead.