[OPE-L:7327] Re: Venceremos in Cuba?

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Tue Jun 04 2002 - 10:48:50 EDT

Re David's [7325]:

> Re Carter's visit - even Carter was amazed at the freedom 
he was given to speak to anyone he wanted. His critical speech 
at the end of his stay was produced live on Cuba TV. What was 
the reporting like of the visit in the US? <

It received very extensive reporting in the US, most of which seemed
to concentrate on the alleged lack of human rights in Cuba (and
especially the delivery of a petition to the government by Cuban
citizens) and the changing Cuban economy.  About what you would 
expect, I guess.

Had it not been for President Bush, then at least a partial 
"normalization" of relations between Cuba and the US might have
been possible (indeed, a # of Senators and House representatives 
called for a lifting of the boycott.)  However,  the Cuban exile 
community in Miami is a very powerful lobby and is particularly 
important in Florida politics and G.W.'s brother Jeb is running for
re-election and needs the money and votes of the gusano community. 

Interestingly, the Cuban exile (gusano) community in the US (which
is not just in Miami and Florida) have been the loudest defenders
*and*  violators of the boycott.  That is, it is common knowledge in 
both countries that family members in exile send amounts of dollars
each month routinely in excess of the amount allowed by US law.
This furnishes Cuba with more dollars (and some observers claim 
helps the Cuban economy) and also leads to increasing disparities
in the *standards of living in Cuba*.  In other words, there are very
large differences in *wealth per family in Cuba* between those families
who receive financial assistance from their relatives in the US and
those who don't.  There are even special stores in Cuba that cater
to selling goods to the former group.

Also, there are other interesting transformations happening in the 
Cuban economy such as the growth of the tourism industry.  
[Digression: Increasingly, Cuba is a preferred destination for many 
cruising sailors since it's coastline is less frequented and developed than
most other locations in the Caribbean.  The US government has a
rather strange policy towards US yachts returning from Cuba.  If you
arrive back in the US above a certain parallel then you are OK but if
you return to the US below that parallel then the US Coast Guard will rip
your boat apart allegedly looking for contraband.  In Havana there is
a very large marina for visiting yachts, 'Marina Hemmingway'.  Speaking
of Hemmingway, there is a whole "Hemmingway industry" for tourists
that has developed in Cuba in recent years.  The growth of the tourism
industry is also a major stimulus for the renovation of historic buildings
in Havana.  While it is not a particularly great book either politically or
on sailing, you may find Dave Schaffer's _Sailing to Hemmingway's Cuba_
(NY, Sheridan House, 2000) to be of interest regarding these topics.]

> Are the US newspapers reporting anything on the Miami 5 - the five Cubans 
imprisoned for life for fighting the terrorism directed at Cuba by the Cuban 
American National Foundation in Miami? <

I don't recall any reporting in the bourgeois press in the US about the 
Miami 5.

In solidarity, Jerry

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