Vacationing in apartheid Cuba: The ideological tourists

It has become obvious that many of the Americans flocking to apartheid Cuba neither have much knowledge of the heinous acts committed by the Castro dictatorship nor do they have any interest whatsoever in knowing about it. Instead, they are “ideological tourists”; people just looking to indulge their leftist political fantasies on the apartheid regime’s fantasy island.

Via The Weekly Standard:

Ideological Tourists

nyt women trip to cubaThe Scrapbook doesn’t fault our peers in the business for looking for creative ways to make a buck in a challenging media landscape. Then again, it’s almost always easy to find fault with the New York Times. For a few years now, the media behemoth has been organizing trips to exotic locales with reporters and writers for the paper serving as tour guides. Nothing wrong with that—we’ve done a version of that with our very own Weekly Standard cruises! (Speaking of which, book now for the December 4 sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, at

But apparently it’s not enough for the Times that such trips serve as enjoyable excursions—their value-added proposition is finding ways for such trips to confirm the political worldview of the NPR-tote bag set and getting them to pay handsomely for having their consciousness raised. For a mere $6,595, for instance, you can learn about “Women and Women’s Rights in Cuba” on an upcoming trip this November:

Visit with female leaders and visionaries to discuss how Cuba is leading the charge in women’s rights, while still confronting many of the same challenges women are facing in the United States.

Since the Revolution, Cuban women have made strides toward full gender equality, but as in most countries, there are still roadblocks and challenges. Discuss the past, present and future of women in Cuba with some of the country’s most impressive activists.

The fact that “Revolution” is capitalized seems to be a tipoff as to where the Times‘s sympathies lie. Certainly saying there are “still roadblocks and challenges” to life in a murderous dictatorship (more than a million people and counting have fled from it) is a choice bit of revisionism. As for the suggestion that Cuba is “leading the charge” in women’s rights, well, Walter Duranty’s employer has long had issues with telling the truth about life under communism. Here’s how Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs—not exactly a right-wing outfit—describes life for women in Cuba:

“In actuality, employed women in Cuba do not hold positions of power—either political or monetary. The Cuban Congress, although elected by the people, is not the -political body that truly calls the shots. The Cuban Communist Party—only about 7 percent of which is made up of women—holds true political power. Markedly, the systems of evaluating gender equality in other countries around the world aren’t universally applicable, as women are much less represented in the true governing body of Cuba than we are led to believe. In addition, the professions that are usually synonymous with monetary wealth and the power and access that come with it (doctors, professors, etc.) do not yield the same financial reward here. Doctors and professors are technically state-employed and, therefore, earn the standard state wage of about $30 per month. This means women employed in these traditionally high-paying fields are denied access to even monetary power as a form of establishing more of an equal footing with men. Evidently, in Cuba, women can be well employed but not where it matters.”

Finally, because subjecting oneself to the whitewashing of Castro’s crimes isn’t enough fun for a week-long trip, the guests of the Times will also get to “discuss female reproductive rights with a women’s health specialist.” We know the Times and enough of its readers are so lacking in self-awareness that this trip will probably be a success by any number of superficial measures. But anyone who cared about the callous treatment of human life in Cuba would insist this trip be aborted.

1 thought on “Vacationing in apartheid Cuba: The ideological tourists”

  1. Yes, useful idiots are a very real species, and by no means an endangered one, but so are the willfully blind and the true believers (albeit the latter have always been the least numerous). Even apart from the obvious moral issues, this sort of thing is deeply embarrassing, not to say utterly disgraceful and disreputable. But of course, it IS a New York Times confection, after all, so it is perfectly in character. The would-be “paper of record” never has and never could “get” Cuba like “those people,” not even if it had sincerely sought to do so in good faith, which evidently was not the case (and don’t even mention its current house Cuba “expert,” the ridiculous little Colombian asswipe).

    However, say what you will about the NYT (and no amount of contempt would be too much), the consistency of its approach to Cuba is quite impressive–in the same sense that the Nazi propaganda of Leni Riefenstahl was impressive (even though Riefenstahl had considerably more talent as such, however perversely she used it). The NYT is ultimately a political outfit operating under false and pretentious pretenses, meaning it’s a glorified fraud. Needless to say, so is Castro, Inc., so the affinity of the NYT for the “Revolution” is hardly to be wondered at, especially since they both play on the same side.

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