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realclearworld

U.S. residents become second largest source of tourism in Cuba in 2012

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-svcQnaOi5Uc/Tl4qTtnBg3I/AAAAAAAAAOM/erK3k_tmJP0/s1600/Caledonia+Cuba+holiday_xmas+party.jpg

According to a report in Café Fuerte, U.S. residents have become the second largest group of tourists to Cuba, second only to Canadians. The increase is an obvious result of the Obama administration's Cuba policy, which relaxed travel restrictions to the island for American citizens and Cuban Americans with the stated purpose of promoting American style freedom and democracy amongst Cubans. Through cultural exchanges and increased interaction with Americans, the Obama White House believed these visits by Americans would improve conditions for Cubans living under the Castro dictatorship's yoke of tyranny by showing them America was not the bastion of evil they had been told all these years and putting a few bucks in their pockets they can use to reduce their dependence on the regime.

Here are some numbers showing the total visits of Americans to Cuba over the years from the Café Fuerte report:

U.S. Market

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

U.S. (Non Cuban Americans)

40,521

41,904

52,455

63,046

73,566

103,112

U.S. (Cuban Americans)

204,178

265,042

334,999

409,562

440,284

475,936

U.S. (Total)

244,699

306,946

387,454

472,608

513,850

579,048

So, with the major increase in American tourists visiting Cuba in 2012 spreading democracy and dollars, one would think the repressive situation in Cuba would have improved last year, right? It would seem obvious that with the numbers of Americans traveling to the island spreading cash and subversive notions about liberty and democracy more than doubling in the past five years, 2012 just had to be a banner year for the respect of human rights on the island and a reduction in oppression, right?

Actually, the exact opposite is happening. Repression in Cuba last year was at an historic high with more than 6,000 political arrests, vicious beatings of dissidents, and an increase in political prisoners. In fact, you can almost draw a direct correlation between the increase in tourism and the increase in repression. The reason for this is clear: More tourists equals more revenue for the Castro dictatorship to fund its repressive machinery. In addition, more tourists equals more lucrative and profitable foreign partnerships for the dictatorship, providing them with even more incentive to hold on to power and quash any dissent.

The Obama administration can fantasize all they want about how their policy of appeasement towards the Cuban dictatorship is helping Cubans, but the numbers and the reality of the situation tell a completely different story.

This is not the first time the Castro dictatorship has cashed in on a soft U.S. travel policy. Not that long ago, the U.S. tried a policy very similar to the Obama administration's and it should not surprise anyone to learn that policy was just as miserable a failure as our current policy.

Capitol Hill Cubans has more on this historic perspective HERE.

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