University of Houston business sophomore Sarah Backer is batting 1.000 on the topic of Cuba (her first Op-Ed) and continues to offer a glimmer of hope that all is not lost when it comes to the ignorance that prevails on the campuses of U.S. colleges and universities.
Trip, song an open slap to Cuban refugees, dissenters
Picture a peaceful protest calling for an end to police violence and brutality. Suddenly, a barrage of police batons and gun butts shower down upon spectators and participants. People are then thrown indiscriminately in overcrowded and unsanitary jail cells. On the streets, underfed children walk past decrepit and decayed buildings to go home to their deteriorating homes, which they share with several other families.
These were not the images that hip-hop artist Beyoncé Knowles and her rapper husband, Jay-Z, saw on their bizarre March 31 trip to Cuba in celebration of their fifth anniversary.
At first glance, a celebrity visiting another country is no big deal, unless that celebrity is Jane Fonda or Dennis Rodman; however, the Carters’ trip to Cuba gave money to the oppressive Cuban regime that can now be used to further ensnare its people. Their images are now being used in Communist Cuban propaganda — propaganda that the Cuban people have no way of counteracting due to the lack of freedom of speech. Their careless and indifferent outlook to these issues shows a lack of either intelligence or sympathy in concern toward the Cuban plight.
According to Human Rights Watch, Cuba is the only country in Latin America that stifles all forms of political dissent. In Cuba, political dissidents are subject to criminal charges and are held without due process. Between January and August 2011, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation documented 2,224 arbitrary detentions in which many prisoners were not even presented arrest orders to substantiate the arrest. Cuban citizens live in near isolation from the rest of the world because the Castro regime has control of all media outlets and restricts the use of outside information. Citizens must request from the government the right to travel off the island and requests are typically denied, particularly to outspoken advocates. The list of human rights violations could go on and on.
The Carters’ trip was an exercise in ignorance. Next time Jay-Z decides to rap about expressing his freedom of speech and sticking it to the man, he should avoid it in the context of traveling to Cuba, the land of dictatorial power and restriction of unalienable rights. It just makes him look stupid.
Read the entire piece HERE.