Last night, Marc posted a link here on Babalu to a piece he wrote at Uncommon Sense titled “Travel, currency limits reveal absurdity.” Ill admit that I reluctantly agree with most aspects of his take on the issue but I must take exception to the following:
As long as American policies reflect this amorality, the dicatorship will survive, and our influence in a future Cuba will be only an illusion because of the bad example we set.
Not only to I take exception, I wholeheartedly disagree. US policy towards Cuba, while in some respects worthy of criticism, are anything but amoral. On the contrary, the US is the only country that has taken a moral stance against the current regime in Cuba. Despite unending and ubiquitous criticism, the US has been the only country to refuse to cowtow to the Cuban regime without said regime making concessions vis-a-vis its abysmal human rights violations.
It is not amoral to prohibit your citizens to travel to a country where human rights are violated and an apratheid system is in place. Remember South Africa? Remember Nelson Mandela? What is amoral is to allow your citizens to travel to a country to exploit the people of that country. Sex tourism is amoral. Apartheid is amoral. The systematic violation of every human and basic civil right is amoral, and so is the acceptance of same.
To state that the US is setting a bad example is myopic at best. You want to see a bad example? Look no further than the Canadians, the Spanish, the Brits, etal. Not only do they ignore the human rights abuses and apartheid system in Cuba by freeling traveling and vacationing on the island, but they themselves become a de facto element of said apartheid.
We can all criticize much of US policy towards Cuba until we are all blue in the face, but the fact remains that not only is the US the only country that has accepted more Cuban exiles than any other, but it has been the one that has stood its ground from a moral standpoint. There are no US owned hotels in Cuba, there are no US owned businesses in Cuba, there arent a plethora of US tourists in Cuba exploiting the natives and supporting the apartheid. All of this, I am absolutely certain, much to the chagrin of US hotel chains, US businesses and many US citizens.
I have a great deal of respect for Marc and his work on behalf of Cuban political prisoners at Uncommon Sense is exceptional, but on this particular issue, I simply must disagree.