The New York Times has an article on the yet to be announced Obama administration order to relax restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba. As the New York Times and other news sources have reported, it turns out that this “relaxation” is actually a return to Clinton-era academic and cultural exchanges and not an all-out lifting of the travel ban.
Conspicuously missing from the New York Times article, however, is any mention of what, if any, positive effects those academic and cultural exchanges during the 1990s had. As far as I can remember, none of those visits helped the enslaved people on the island achieve freedom and democracy. While all those American artists and academics were hobnobbing with the members of Castro’s elite in Havana during the Clinton days, the Cuban people continued to be repressed and brutally subjugated by the dictatorship. Also missing from the article is any speculation on how people-to-people contacts would be any different this time.
Perhaps these pesky realities were purposely omitted due to the fact that these “exchanges” do nothing to help the Cuban people. They do make the liberal elite feel good though, and in the end, that is all that really matters; who cares about the enslaved Cuban people–somebody has to make the mojitos and roll the cigars.