The Cyber-Spy.Com Usenet Archive Feeds Directly
From The Open And Publicly Available Newsgroup
This Group And Thousands Of Others Are Available
On Most ISP NNTP News Servers On Port 119.
Cyber-Spy.Com Is NOT Responsible For Any Topic,
Opinions Or Content Posted To This Or Any Other
Newsgroup. This Web Archive Of The Newsgroup And
Posts Are For Informational Purposes Only.
From: "PEDRO MARTORI"
Subject: How to Preserve Communism in Cuba - Lift the Travel Ban (fwd)
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 08:37:04 -0400
NNTP-Posting-Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 20:34:02 EDT
Organization: Bell Sympatico
Subject: Stephen Johnson: How to Preserve Communism in Cuba -
Lift the Travel Ban (fwd)
Date: Monday, July 29, 2002 12:26 PM
How to Preserve Communism in Cuba - Lift the Travel Ban
The prime beneficiaries of easing restrictions are the Castro
brothers--Fidel and RaÃºl--and the regime itself.
By Stephen Johnson (July 23, 2002)
[CAPITALISMMAGAZINE.COM] Some members of Congress seem desperate
the ban on United States tourist travel to Cuba because they
flooding the island with American vacationers will hasten
Castro's downfall or produce windfall profits for U.S.
Unfortunately, the prime beneficiaries of easing restrictions are
Castro brothers--Fidel and RaÃºl-and the regime itself. Cuba's
Ministry (MINFAR) runs state-owned or joint-venture tourist
Profits from these enterprises partly sustain the private
fortunes of the
Castros and provide revenues to run the government that Cuba's
sugar mills and Soviet-style state enterprises never could
In fact, expanding tourism was the key to Castro's survival after
collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of subsidies of up to
billion per year. Since Sept. 11, however, travel to Cuba has
and island hotels have experienced vacancy rates as high as 30
The recent decline in tourism only adds to Castro's financial
Last year, Cuba defaulted on $500 million in loans, and France
Netherlands froze Cuban credit for nonpayment of arrears. Even
Castro-friendly Venezuela cut oil shipments in April after Cuba
missed payments totaling up to $63 million for petroleum
below-market prices. Lifting the tourist ban would give the
much-needed shot in the arm.
However, Castro is not likely to permit the "flood" of American
that some in Washington expect, particularly the kind apt to
personal rule. His regime arbitrarily controls who may enter and
requirements may be enforced. Tourists with dollars to spend at
resorts are more likely to get a visa than those wanting to talk
dissidents. Current exchanges with academics, journalists and
relatives intended to pave the way for future political reforms
as a result.
Even absent that, tourism won't necessarily encourage political
anyway. A close look at Cuba's existing travel industry shows
why. Most of
the Canadian and European tourists who have visited over the last
came to enjoy low-budget vacations, or set foot in a political
Park, or to seek inexpensive sex with growing numbers of
unable to survive on rations and meager state salaries of $10-$30
month. Such tourism has not helped release political prisoners,
nor has it
forced the regime to change any of its totalitarian policies.
Instead, it has fueled a government moneymaking scam.
tourism enterprises must hire all workers from the state which in
pays them less than 10 percent of the fees it collects for
Sadly, these same Cuban employees may not use the services of or
products sold by these enterprises under a state policy designed
contact between Cuban citizens and foreign visitors.
Claims of potential windfall profits of doing business in Cuba
exaggerated. Cuba must compete with better-developed and more
family-oriented tourist destinations in the Caribbean and
United States. Nor will the island's 11 million inhabitants do
traveling of their own thanks to Castro's own embargo on Cuban
More important, the rule of law-not particularly strong in Latin
America-has no footprint in Cuba. European, Mexican and Canadian
that have attempted to do business there have lost investments
arbitrary changes in policy, sudden demand for hidden fees or
cancellations of projects already in development.
If expanding opportunities for international commerce truly is
to Congress, it should provide trade promotion authority to
to conclude free trade agreements with America's democratic
allies. But if
opening tourism with a dictatorship sworn to bring down western
somehow trumps business with friendly neighbors, then the only
thing to do is condition changes in U.S. law with reciprocal
the Castro regime.
In keeping with President Bush's new policy of encouraging
reforms on the island, the United States should offer to ease
on U.S. tourist travel to Cuba when the regime establishes fair
practices--that is, allow Cubans to work for whomever they wish,
fair-market compensation, organize independent labor unions and
products and use services in facilities currently off-limits to
Such conditions, written into U.S. legislation, would not
threaten Castro's dictatorship. But they would lay the foundation
further reforms and allow American tourists to visit Cuba knowing
who wait on them are no longer receiving prison wages or being
like second-class citizens.
-- Stephen Johnson is a policy analyst for Latin America at The
Foundation, a Washington-based public policy research institute.
Distributed nationally on the Knight-Ridder Tribune wire
Go Back To The Cyber-Spy.Com
Usenet Web Archive Index Of