Obama administration lifts some Cuba travel restrictions

2011.01.18

The president has issued his new Cuba travel regulations, and I am disappointed. Despite  what the Cuban government has been doing regarding prisoner releases and opening of their society,  President Obama is still bowing to the hard liners in Miami at the expense of the Cuban and American people.  Then new regulations leave us about where we were under President Clinton, which is better than we were under President Bush, but it’s still a one of a kind foreign policy which only effects Cuba and no other country in the world.

There is no need for our embargo against Cuba, and the travel ban is constitutionally questionable since it allows Cuban Americans to travel to the island, but prohibits the rest of us from going.  I thought this might end under Obama, but I guess we should have known it wouldn’t when he  made a campaign stop at the home of Gloria Estefan, a great singer, but a right-wing hardliner  with direct family ties to the Batista dictatorship  which the Cuban revolution  deposed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/14/AR2011011405476.html

Enjoy them while you can.

2010.11.08

There was a nice piece in the New York Times about the visit of the American Ballet Theater to Havana. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/08/arts/dance/08abt.html?ref=arts

It was the first time the company had been there since 1960, when the U.S. Embargo against Cuba went into effect. The piece talks about expanding cultural ties between our countries. Good luck with that. A slight loosening of the regulations under the Obama administration  has allowed several Cuban music groups to perform in the United States, and brought pianist Chu Chu Valdez and Buena Vista Social Club diva, Omara Portuondo on tours earlier this year. If you enjoy Cuban art and music, I strongly suggest you see them while you can. The dark days may be coming back.

With the Republican victory in last week’s elections, expect more of the anti-Cuban legislation which could limit Visas for musicians like Chu Chu and Omara. Their crime is that they return to Cuba every time they leave. Can you imagine, wanting to return to their homeland?  The radical Miami-Cubans can’t, as long as Raul or Fidel Castro remains in the government.  They insist if you leave Cuba, you must stay away until the Castro brothers are gone. Think about that. A foreign government telling the citizens of a sovereign country who can or cannot be their leader. It’s exactly what we do in the Helms-Burton Act, an internationally ridiculed piece of legislation  which serves to keep the embargo in place until WE get the government we want running Cuba.

With the expected move making Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the election of the equally radical exile Marco Rubio to the Senate, there is no telling what legislation these two will cook up to try once again to reverse the results of the Cuban Revolution.  It does not matter to them that they are taking away your rights as an American to freely visit a peaceful and friendly country.

Since you can’t go to Cuba and see her yourself, here’s Omara performing at the Club Las Vegas in Central Havana. Please be forewarned; there may be actual Socialists in the crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEgXKB8s_l0

How is that Embargo working for you Uncle Sam?

2010.10.24

Cuban students march through the Plaza de Revolution.

The economic embargo against Cuba turned 50 this week. Put in place by President Eisenhower (look him up kids), the Blockade (as it is known in Cuba) was set up to bring down the Castro government and get Cuba back in line as a de facto U.S. colony. Phil Peters at The Cuban Triangle has a good read on it

http://cubantriangle.blogspot.com/

There is also a new book entitle Reconciliation: 78 Ways to End the U.S. Embargo of Cuba , which looks interesting.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2010/10/prweb4682134.htm

Pastors for Peace Founder Lucius Walker Dies at 80

2010.09.08

Americans  who support normal relations with Cuba have lost a great friend.  I had the opportunity to meet the Reverend Walker at Cuba Solidarity Day in Washington D.C. in 2004. His annual US-Friendship Caravans to Cuba in defiance of the immoral embargo against Cuba were an act of true civil disobedience . He brought  computers and medicines to the island, but as  importantly, exposed many young activists to the idea that it was sometimes necessary to act contrary to U.S. policy when that policy (the economic blockade of Cuba)  is wrong.

Lucius Walker

http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=28955