Galveston News travel writer Janice Law joined some sanctioned delegates from the American Association of Museums on a six-day trip to Cuba to meet with Cuban museum officials. No doubt this is most likely part of the “people-to-people interactions” and “cultural exchanges” the Obama administration promised us would miraculously bring freedom to Cuba even though the same interactions and exchanges between other countries and the regime have done the exact opposite. And for the moment let’s put aside the question which asks the purpose behind a travel writer going to Cuba if these trips are only for cultural and religious reasons and look at some comments made by Ms. Law about her trip.
After regurgitating the same nonsense about the beauty behind the crumbling and neglected buildings in Havana, Ms. Law knowingly or unknowingly describes the tourism apartheid suffered by the Cuban people by contrasting their miserable and meager existence with the luxuries provided to foreign tourists.
We ate in upscale restaurants arranged by the travel agency — that, we were told, most Cubans, on their average monthly salary of about $25, could not afford.
I wandered away to bread lines where the clerks scowled at me disapprovingly when I photographed. Our guide said every Cuban is given a free ration book to obtain bread and other staples.
But what locals termed “grocery stores” or downtown markets had some bare shelves — and fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as other standard food, and routine consumer products we take for granted seemed in short supply or absent entirely.
It is at the end, however, where the travel writer’s ignorance and apparent total disregard for Cubans in general shines through.
Havana is too complex, and our experiences there too intricate to relate in a short column.
Next month, I will discuss the many Cuban haunts of America’s nobel laureate writer Ernest Hemingway.
Yes, Ms. Law, Havana is “too complex” and “too intricate” to address in such a short column. So, in your next column you will be talking about Hemingway.
Who really wants to hear about the brutality suffered by the Cuban people and how tourist dollars help finance that brutality anyhow? They are, after all, only Cubans. If a few million of them have to be enslaved so some American tourists can have a nice vacation, well, that’s “too complicated” and “too intricate” a dilemma to worry about.