Fidel Castro Resigns... How Can the U.S. Assist Cuba's Tranisition to Democracy?

Posted by Frederick Jones
February 19, 2008
Cuban Flag Hanging From Balcony in Havana

In 1959, Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista government and installed himself as Cuba’s sole dictator. Today, after almost 50 years, Fidel Castro has decided to resign and step down as leader. The United States severed diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1961 but has always maintained its staunch support of the Cuban people.

Now that Fidel Castro has relinquished his dictatorship, how do you think the United States can assist the Cuban people in transitioning to a free democracy?

Comments

Comments

Ralph
|
Greece
February 20, 2008

Ralph in Greece writes:

During a round table dinner party with several Greek friends of mine here in Athens, I asked this same question (regarding Cuba) to my host and the other guests.

Their answers were shocking. Although I disagree with them, I thought to pass on their comments for the State Dept Blog to review:

My Greek friends said that since America has helped many countries all over the world and lately it doesn't seem like the "HELP" they have given truly has helped those countries, that maybe in CUBA's case, we ought to NOT Help them and maybe they will actually succeed. They also referred to a bumper sticker in Athens that reads "Don't Mess with AMERICA or they will bring Democracy to your Country."

I found this point of view offensive, and tried to explain how over the years, America has tried to assist Cubans who have fled the tyranny of Castro, and it's only natural that AMERICA will now assist Cuba to getting back on the path of Democracy.

I was shouted down by my Greek hosts, and again, they said "Hands Off" Cuba to me.

Any help for a response I can use to debate these Greeks?

Syrian P.
|
Syria
February 20, 2008

SNP in Syria writes:

How to? That is no brainer for Americans. Shock and Awe Cubans into Iraq-Afghanistan style Democracy. After all, one can read on this very blog about the incredible progress Iraq and Afghanistan going through today.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
February 20, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

This is one case where Capitalism will have to prevail I'm afraid. Sooner or later the people will want more and the only way to get more is with a true Democratic capitalist based economy.

Sanctions don't work and haven't worked.

As a dictator Castro only made his people suffer instead of working to improve Employment, Health Care and Education to the citizens, etc. He used Americas Sanctions only as a method of propaganda to make it seem the USA was the cause of his failed proposed Socialistic agenda. Raul has followed that thought pattern.

In reality, Castro was a dictator. Wealth was not distributed fairly, poor planning, poor decision making, extremes prevailed and more of a feudal system evolved with Fidel on top. Cuba would have run better under Mafia control than with Castro. Where is the proof of his success?

In our favor is the fact that democracy has taken root well in South America and with Chavez going by the wayside to some extent, Cuba's only refuge is going to be limited. Castro's last effort to socialize outside his country in an effort to negotiate fuel and other commodities in exchange for Physicians, health care and military advice is at an end to a great extent; which is probably why he is stepping down. Chavez's loss is his loss.

What can we do? Keep Cuba's tentacles to South America cut for one thing and expose the failure of his government to the world and his people and simply wait at this juncture. Sooner or later the people will fight and win their freedom back from a family dictatorship that is as harmful in the long run as the one Batista ran and Castro deposed. In the long run, he became what he despised; only the outside image was different.

Ronald
|
New York, USA
February 21, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

If the United States really wants Cuba to transition to a free Democracy, it needs to set the following expamples at home:

1- Free and fair elections, unhampered by backroom deals. Special corporate or private interests, super-delegates, or vote-rigging party operatives.

2- A free and transparent media; un-biased by the invisible hands of political and/or corporate interests.

3- A balanced and reasonable approach to security and privacy.

4- Equitable systems for education, health and social security.

5- A mature and proactive diplomatic position within the international community.

Cubans probably hunger for these elements of a free democracy, and have been denied them; while they've seen the USA failing to maintain them.

Was Cuba so great under Batista?

Nobody
|
Pakistan
February 21, 2008

NB in Pakistan writes:

If a dictator's ideas and his system didn't uplift the masses in 50 years, they will never work. This awareness must be developed among the masses of Cuba.

John
|
Greece
February 21, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Ralph in Greece -- I am Greek too.

If your friends had read a little -- just a little -- history, they would know that the USA is the only nation that helped Greece not only during, but also after the 2nd World War, as well as since the beginning of the Greek Revolution ...back in 1821. And the U.S. keep on doing this, I mean helping Greece.

Tell the guys that more than 2 Million Greek-Americans -and second and third Greek generation Americans- live in the States. And they are happy, Free and the majority of them wealthy. And they love the country and the nation.

Like so many Cubans that stay safely in Florida and other US places remaining out of Cuba jails, but of course waiting for the time that the dictatorship will "allow" them to go back home. Of course when decisions will be made by the real Cuban people for themselves.

When Democracy will be back. Unfortunately, now is like a relay race among dictators.

Ask them their opinion about the political prisoners that sadly remain in Cuba's jails and moreover why they do not protest outside the Cuba's embassy in Athens burning some Cuba flags, as they are used to do outside the American Embassy, so often.

My dear friend, next time you meet the guys, tell them simply and clear that many many other Greeks -like me- have long ago begun to understand the anti-American propaganda that is on the air for many years by... "mysterious" channels.

Our deep problem in Greece is that we deal with problems in this way:
whatever happens here due to our "weaknesses," we blame the U.S. That's the easy blame! I'm sure that your friends also say that during the recent snow in Athens, "bad American planes" spread some "bad" liquids over the air and made it happen.

Sure!

Many are affected, from the anti-American propaganda.

Others remain sober.

Thatãs the best way to see things: staying sober.

Keep on answering them.

They may think they are Greeks.

However, are they?

Because, I strongly believe that if you check their passports you will face the word ANTI-AMERICAN, not Greek.

(PS: don't call us "these Greeks". They are some Greeks. We are not all the same. By the way, where are you from?)

Zharkov
|
United States
February 21, 2008

Zharkov writes:

Cuba already has a rough form of parliamentarian democracy now. As the question correctly states, there are free democracies and unfree democracies. American is in the transition from free to unfree democracy. Cuba is in the reverse situation. The bigger problem is with America not Cuba.

America's federal government is increasingly regulating and restricting travel of U.S. citizens, militarizing the local police, setting up driver checkpoints along streets and highways, requiring U.S. citizens to declare all currency movements and bank accounts located out of the country, seizing money and property without court hearings or probable cause, placing cameras on every street to watch citizens, setting up informer networks in banks and other businesses to spy on citizens, and creating new laws which are designed not to protect Americans but to impoverish them.

The federal government repeatedly failed to protect U.S. borders, failed to investigate massively open election fraud, and routinely ignores public opinion on the North American Union plan. It would seem the federal government is taking lessons from Castro's Cuba, and it reinforces the notion that America is headed toward a federal dictatorship. Under this circumstance, the best State Department plan to help Cuba would be to leave it alone and hope Cuba does not copy the U.S. model of "democracy."

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 22, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Communism as an ideology based upon economic distribution of wealth has only proven to keep people impoverished, and greed and corruption are historically endemic to it's structure as a form of government.

Over time, history has shown that Communists are actually Capitalists at heart, when given the opportunity to (and the motivation) to seek a better future.

Lot easier to change an economic system of government than a theocratic one, and whereas it concerns tyrany in general as a system of government and its ability to be influenced to seek democratic reform; Sanctions can be effective as a tool to coerce as needed, isolate as appropriate, and peacefully promote behavior change if not ultimately fostering regime replacement therapy through seeking as the intent of sanctions, free and fair elections by the will of the people.

I think taking the attitude that Castro's brother now heads only a "transitional" team of leadership for the Cuban people would be a proper attitude for the U.S. to adopt, with policy and diplomacy tailored to suit negotiations to achieve a smooth transition to democracy and normalizations of relations with a properly elected government in the foreseeable future.

Perhaps a "retirement plan" should be offered w/ convincing incentive too good to ignore by the leadership, at risk of wishing they had later if they don't accept reasonable terms now.
 
The "non negotiable demands of human liberty" are just that, non-negotiable. Folks have a choice to make now whether a free Cuba will happen as a result of reasonable people striving to find common ground and solutions, or some other way far more painful in the long run for the current leaders of Cuba.

Nobody
|
Pakistan
February 22, 2008

NB in Pakistan writes:

Some quite unfair comments have appeared in the postings related to this topic. Tougher laws to protect the peace-loving innocent people of the world doesn't mean "unfree democracy", it's the same in other democracies in Europe and of course it's terrible in many of the third-world countries. My Pakistani origin American friends, when they come visiting their relatives in Pakistan, within a week end up saying, "God Bless America."

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
February 22, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Same old game Zarkov:
1. QUOTE:Cuba already has a rough form of parliamentarian democracy now.END QUOTE. No, it has fudel representation that is limited in every respect; from who runs for office to ballott stuffing.

2. QUOTE:America's federal government is increasingly regulating and restricting travel of U.S. citizens, militarizing the local police, setting up driver checkpoints along streets and highways, requiring U.S. citizens to declare all currency movements and bank accounts located out of the country, seizing money and property without court hearings or probable cause, placing cameras on every street to watch citizens, setting up informer networks in banks and other businesses to spy on citizens, and creating new laws which are designed not to protect Americans but to impoverish them. END QUOTE.

Sounds like old Russian propoganda twist. We were too open and any adjustment to control borders would simply seem more restrictive. The new monetary laws governing bank transactions are to restrict counterfiting, find laundering and limitation of funds to terrorist organizations from the US. The cameras help more than hurt in many instances. Crime is crime. PROTECT OUR BORDERS? Since 9-11 how many problems have you seen? Someone is doing their job much better now.

3. Zarkov, it is because the PEOPLE want the government to step in that so many laws are created. I agree, that some are verging on invasion of privacy unless there is due cause; but Congress is only reacting to the peoples needs and wants more often than not.

Since I presume you see Capitalism as evil: Tell me why Russia, who is now the second richest country in the world has 1/3 of its citizen in sub standard living situation? Why do they proportunitely give less to impoverished countries and peoples? Why do they limit free press? Why does the Govt. now own 75% of all National Banks again? Why does the Govt. now own over 80% of all Energy concerns?...I could go on, but tell me a better system where people have as much as the average American and gives as much as America gives to the Free world?

Ralph
|
Greece
February 22, 2008

Ralph in Greece writes:

@ John in Greece -- John, I'm from the USA. Your advice is good. I've used the Marshall plan argument with my Greek friends and acquaintances, but they always have the "what have you done for me lately" argument.

Cyprus and the Junta are always things that they throw in my face that the America did wrong.

So, when these friends were telling me how wonderful their vacations in Cuba were and why haven't I went? Well, I then elaborated on the wonderful time my American friend had in Northern Cyprus and how gracious the Turks were. That shut them up for a bit. See, if they want to bait me with Cuba, it's quite easy to bait them with Northern Cyprus.

Unfortunately, Greeks are just Greeks and have made anti-Americanism into a sport.

But, it's all about jealousy. They seem to have an inferiority complex when dealing with America because we run the show and they don't!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 22, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I often think of the Polish fellow who fell into a 19 year coma due to a rail yard accident during the Soviet era, only to find the bread lines gone when he awoke in a democratic Poland.

A totalitarian system of governance based upon an economic ideology always will be more susceptible to change from within than a theocratic one for the simple fact that communists are really capitalists at heart, whereas the current brand of Mahdi worshipers who have risen to power in Iran through a soft-sell military coup in 2005 are capitalists on the face of it, but communists at heart as they want all to think like themselves. Indeed insisting on it via the use of repression at home and terrorism abroad.

Castro too has tried to export the revolution, but only managed to pass the torch to Hugo Chavez.

What defines the notion of democracy more than the individual's freedom to think, and to put voice to thought?

I think in answer to the notion that somehow tangible support for those seeking their non negotiable rights to liberty somehow justifies an abysmal system of governance to further repress their people, (as a general parameter of cause and effect), I would propose that history by many example leads logicly to the conclusion that successful internal political and social change comes both from within and from help from those outside sympathetic to a people's human condition foisted upon them by any given totalitarian mindset.

The parameters of help run the gamut, but I believe to achieve religious, political, or any other form of freedom measurable as "reform" , the choice to stand back and do nothing is not an option for free nations who wish peace and prosperity. Bottom line essential is the public delegitimization of a system of governance and individuals that engages in crimes against humanity. It is not enough to express concern when condemnation and involvement on a spectrum of levels is required, as implemented to achieve a just solution that brings hope to those without voice in the matter.

The Cuban and Iranian people share the unfortunate circumstance of opression brought to them by the few, the proud, the unelected.

They share decades of enduring corrupt officialdom, arbitrary disrespect by the state for the individual to determine the terms of one's existence in every basic aspect.

Choice is snuffed out by the state, as lives are snuffed out in response to peaceful protest.

Murder and intimidation of civil society through violence conducted by the state upon its own people to remain in power for political purposes, is by definition terrorism conducted by the state, not simply state sponsored.

Perhaps the greatest crime against humanity would be for other nations to simply do nothing about it.

JOE1
|
Tennessee, USA
February 22, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

I have to make a point that there seems to be more than one JOE in TN. I read a post not written by myself and while it may be coincidental, I do not support pro cold war Soviet mentality and see where it is being reinstituted with rigor.

1. Poland? If you view a larger picture ... as the Russian think tanks do -- and understand a basic old parable found in many countries: The tide may ebb and flow, but the ocean remains. You may understand the profile better:

Poland and most of the Slovak States were simply dead wood, representing problems to Mother Russia, not solutions or aid. Other than a few Ship yards what did Poland actually produce for Russia that went beyond a false self sufficiency? The Warsaw Pact was violated to begin with; but Russian mentality to keep what it has taken prevailed and not to its best interest. All the fringe countries were always viewed as military buffer deterrents, no more, no less. All to be used for the State when needed. They were not self sufficient and to this very day had inter conflict on the western borders that Russian for decades did not have to participate and waste military resources on. They all played out their hands and left Putin with an easy victory on all fronts, Kosovo being the only real exception lately. They played their cards and did what with themselves? Bosnia? Serbia? Kosovo? They killed each other like sheep, is that better than a bread line in reality? It was like the French Revolution where the people may have taken their freedom, but killed all the people who knew how to economically run the country, then turned on each other. Freedom may well be fought for, but preparation is as important. If you stack up the bodies and measure development, who won anything? They can't even purchase their petrol and natural gas without Mother Russia. Russia lost nothing. They all begged Putin and Mother Russia to HELP U.S. throughout the 90s. When they did not, only then did NATO and the US intervene.

2. Greece. What a sin. What have they done for themselves besides becoming the most favorite drunk tank for kids worldwide, heroin storage and arms shipments? Why blame the U.S. for their non development. They are situated perfectly for profit and trade. It is more like -- what happened to their culture? You can't develop today on just history and cheap vacations...or can you?

This is the largest threat to Democracy in the free world:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that Iran's determination to continue its nuclear program had brought major powers 'to their knees,'" reports The Washington Post. "In a speech broadcast live on state television, Ahmadinejad repeated his assertion that Iran would ignore demands by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council that it suspend sensitive nuclear work or face new sanctions."

Zarkov -- Say hello to Nadia for me; if in fact you be who you may be. I must admit, you were correct in one presumption regarding an old situation. American National Security should not rest on the shoulders of people whose vanity is put before TRUTH.

Zharkov
|
United States
February 22, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

America could have become a paradise of liberty, a beacon to the world of what is possible without socialism, communism, or elitism; American could have become a tax-haven for everyone, a place where life, liberty, and property, was respected and protected by government, a place where public servants actually served in the public interest rather than the interests of the globalist elite.

There are always logical reasons why your freedom must be taken from you forever. In most cases, it is for the same reasons that sheep must be controlled by dogs. Give a sheep it's freedom, and who knows where it might go.

Castro gave reasons why Cubans could not be allowed to freely travel to America, just as a succession of US presidents gave reasons why Americans could not be allowed to travel to Cuba.

In Cuba's case, we say it is a prison because people cannot leave without government permission, yet our own federal government's permission is required to obtain an American passport. It has nothing to do with capitalism or communism, but it has everything to do with control.

There are always plausible reasons why federal officials believe you should report your neighbor to the authorities, or why your money should be seized without a court order, or why strangers should search your home without a search warrant. There are always nice-sounding excuses to stop and detain you. Castro has a million excuses, and so does Mr. Bush - terrorism, money laundering, drug trafficking, tax evasion, pick one. There is never a shortage of government excuses to explain why you are no longer free.

Indeed, the FBI has called people who believe in the Constitution "domestic terrorists", according to an FBI brochure. Because they have dangerous ideas that there are any limits upon the federal government, these citizens cannot be trusted and must be investigated.

The Bush Administration believes Americans are willing to trade their liberty for security, or the mere illusion of security, which is what you have with rules that impact Americans more than terrorists.

Automobile accidents kill more Americans every year than all the terrorist attacks combined, yet nobody would do to automobile passengers what the TSA does to airline passengers. Nobody wants all automobile drivers to be searched before entering the highway. Nobody would place you on a "no drive" list even if you can't read English. If an automobile was used to commit a crime, the police should not stop all automobile drivers for interrogation or seize every automobile.

The U.S. Constitution limits the power of the federal government regardless of whether federal officials agree with it or not. When these officials attempt to abolish your liberty, privacy, and property, they can easily find a reason. Just for fun, review the complaints against the British King set forth in the Declaration of Independence and compare with our own federal government.

If you think Cubans want this kind of democracy for themselves, I think you are mistaken. Let them find their own way. Liberty is something you lose if you decide you no longer want it, and you are now losing a little more freedom each day.

Eliot
|
Hawaii, USA
February 22, 2008

Eliot in Hawaii writes:

America should lift the embargo against Cuba. It gives us no actual leverage over Cuba's internal politics, and only forces the Cuban government to align itself with anti-American states such as Venezuela. The U.S. government harbors no illusions about its ability to foster democracy through sanctions against states like China and Saudi Arabia. Why is Cuba any different? It seems to me that the embargo is an ill-conceived legacy of JFK's persistent revanchism towards Castro following the Bay of Pigs failure.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 24, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"Nobody would place you on a "no drive" list even if you can't read"
-Zarkov

Aye Zarkov, you are indeed a confused fellow, I don't suppose you know that it is illegal in the US to drink and drive, nor that checkpoints are occasionally set up by local authorities to catch those that do, before they actually kill someone by falling asleep at the wheel.

Indeed, there is a "no drive" list, just get a few DUI's and you'll see for yourself. In this, I do Not speak from experience, since I don't drink, so I'll refer you to any county jail to find an expert should you have doubt.

One of I think the great freedoms we Americans enjoy is the right to self inebriate in a responsible manner.

As such, one should avoid operating heavy machinery as a matter of common sense.

You are basically correct in your figures on auto fatalities, but they are due to many factors, some of which are human error, weather conditions, and the like. That is why they are called auto accidents.

Now perhaps you have found an unhappy vision of America that works for you because you yourself are inherently unhappy in your life, I don't know, and I can't assume that.

What I can see from your ramblings is that you have a very narrow concept of what concepts are involved in the American mindset, especially where it concerns American influence abroad.

You'll pardon me then if I use your agiprop (agitative propaganda) as a foil to make a point.

And if the real JOE IN Tennessee will please stand up...(chuckle), he might just agree with me...LOL!

We the people don't generally worry about the checks and balances of government , as we are the ultimate hook for bad actors on stage.

We the people demand results, and policy changes accordingly if an incumbent wishes reelection.

We the people protest the unjust, as an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and our civil rights movement was an education for all, globally. Both our friends and detractors witnessed a nation moving in an ethical motion to better the human condition, and fully implement the notion that we the people are created equal.

And as a premise, this philosophy inherently extends to foreign policy intent and implementation.

So now you may properly understand why the U.S. gov. employs sanctions on leaders of governments that repress their people and deny their basic human rights.

We can encourage folks to learn from our mistakes forming a "more perfect union" or they may learn from their own, as circumstance dictates.

History is littered with the bleached bones of ideologies that failed the people's "lemon test".

Folks will ultimately choose what works for them, and knowing this the U.S. government endeavors to promote the freedom of people to think for themselves, because democracy must be "of, by, and for the people", and chosen as a system of government by the people, of their free will.

Totalitarianism however, is always imposed upon the people.

Whereas in a democracy, the people impose their will upon the government. We designed it that way from the start.

In my memories of Watergate, what made me proud to be witness to, was watching as the laws of this nation kept it intact, as the people demanded accountability.

So too, the debate about proper nation building requires that our laws be the guide, history our teacher, and the free-born individual, our inspiration to others.

Freedom sells itself Zarkov, so why do you insist on being convinced?

Trudy A.
February 24, 2008

Trudy writes:

I've often wondered why so many were against the Cuban ideal, sure, it's not our cup of tea but so what? If it worked for others who lived there, then why not have them take it upon themselves to change the dynamic. Still, with Fidel stepping down after 50 years, it would be a good time to make a change. Will U.S. citizens be able to visit Cuba soon? Let's all hope so.

Laura
|
New Jersey, USA
February 24, 2008

Laura in New Jersey writes:

I do not feel that Castro's "relinquishing of his dictatorship" has many far-reaching implications for the present. Raul, as in the past, remains more of a figure head while Castro's regime (including his methodology and strategy for maintaining power) -and partly Castro himself -is still running the show. Raul has suggested a sort of China-type opening of the Cuban economy in the future, and perhaps this on its own will spur a gradual transition to democracy. Since it is unclear at the moment that any real changes will take place in Cuba in the near future, I think the U.S. should proceed cautiously.

On the one hand, I understand and agree with the argument that Castro has used U.S. sanctions in order to legitimize himself to his people. On the other hand, the U.S.. head of commerce makes a valid point as well, mainly stating that it is difficult to measure how much damage the U.S. has prevented by disallowing so much cash-flow from the U.S. to Cuba since it is clear that Castro is able to maintain an apparatus in which such wealth never reaches the people but greatly funds corruption. He points out that even while other states such as Canada, Spain, etc. trade openly with Cuba, the Cuban people still do not reap the benefits of these transactions as they should.

Therefore, I am torn as to how much of the embargo should really be lifted, but I do feel that a transitioning to democracy could greatly be promoted by common American students by the approval of the U.S. government for U.S. students to study abroad in Cuba for at least a semester. Also, certain changes could be made with regards to the number of times and length of time Cuban nationals are allowed to visit their families in Cuba as they already have the trust of their families back home.

John
|
Greece
February 24, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Ralph in Greece -- Is it a Rat or a Ralph? (I am joking).

Anyway, this Blog is Free.

I presume that you mean you are an AMERICAN, because many people in Greece use to say "I am from the U.S.A.", but they are not. I mean they do not feel Americans. And that counts for many Greek-Americans too, returning "home". They "loose" the meaning of the word home on the way back "home".

After all, the "Home" is ideas. And if we do not protect these ideas we will all end up homeless.

I understand you have plenty of problems dealing with the guys. The most probable, they are "aristeristes" (left wings) as it's called locally.

However, you should also "ease back on the stick" because the United States do not run any show.

It's important, obvious and honest to say "A new order of the ages", but it"s bad and suspect to call it "New World Order".

I hope that you understand my point now, that" it"s not a show.

It's life, politics, Democracy. And during this "show" there are plenty of other "anti-shows".

In other words, the U.S. are not Executive Producers working for a Hollywood film. According to my opinion, they protect their thesis, they protect worldwide Freedom and Democracy and they have the right to have an opinion on global issues, like many others who logically should be "stand by-ed" by "bad" history they attempted to write in the recent past.

Advice2 (I mean after our first State Blog "meeting"): There are two ways "only 2 ways- to make a dialogue. Either the diplomatic way, full of arguments and class,

Or the conspiracy way"

I prefer the first.

When the guys refer again to Junta or Cyprus tell them that the United States never dealt with the issues. This is a conspiracy myth! And if they remain on the "argument" that the U.S. did, prompt them to bring in the "dialog" proofs.

In the meanwhile (of your answer), tell them about the role of the ...KGB during the Junta. What the Russians were about to do everywhere?

...plus Greece. Did the KGB guys helped in many ways the left wing during that period.

Of course! Period.

During these days, Global dialog, was not a walk in the park! Still, it"s not.

Concerning Cuba, I have spoken with many Greeks here, that have traveled there in the near past. Many of them were "forced" to choose Cuba during a political orientation of themselves.

Nevertheless, all of them told me on the way back "home" that a traveler should pick up this journey only in case he is willing to do sex-tourism.

I am not willing. I do not like sex-tourism.

I prefer Universal studios and Disneyland for vacation. Even a simple trip to Cleveland, Greece, Cyprus, anywhere, but free and of course without having Cuba "government" agents on my back during my vacations!

Kelsie
|
Texas, USA
February 24, 2008

Kelsie in Texas writes:

The people will have to want democracy--and the sacrifices that come with attaining it--first. With Raul's ascendancy, that moment may be farther away than we'd like.

AIJUKA
|
Uganda
February 25, 2008

Aijuka in Uganda writes:

America should use all it takes to bring total democracy in Cuba.

Zharkov
|
United States
February 26, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Eric needs to travel more across America to encounter federal checkpoints in California (San Onofre and Temecula), Arizona (Yuma, among many other places), New Mexico, Texas, etc., and also local police checkpoints with military advisors present at so-called "drunk driver checkpoints", to understand there is a larger picture that he failed to notice. To begin to see a larger picture, one needs to know a bit more of American history, including why the U.S. Constitution was written and who it protects from whom, but it should be obvious that the whole point of constitutional limitations on federal power is to prevent the formation of a police state. As Cuba already has one, the current American model isn't particularly helpful in eliminating state control.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 27, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- You may be referring to weigh stations for truckers, load limits and safety checks, but other than a produce (fruit and vegetable) check points (to prevent certain crop infestations from fruit flies for example), I bet you a hundred U.S. dollars Zarkov, that I can drive freely across the U.S. without being questioned as to my reasons, at anytime I wish (a few toll roads may be the exception, as one pays to drive on them).

Done it many times, so I don't buy into your pale attempt to suggest the average U.S. citizen is oppressed.

Personally, I think you set too many limits on yourself if you are thinking like this. Go then, and get a life.

Also, I pointedly did Not make an assumption about why you think as you do about the U.S., so please don't make assumptions about my knowledge of the U.S. constitution, as I've stretched the limits of it as a citizen, and relied on its tenants to make case in court.

You say it was created to prevent something, a la a "police state", well I believe to really fully understand the larger picture my friend, because that is a pretty narrow and negative rationale (to prevent something, as opposed to initiating something); and is not the basis in fact.

And what was created by the initiative of the founding fathers, but the initiation on paper of a government structure that would stand the test of time and change, with its basic precepts intact?

If you doubt whether it has, here's a little brain teaser regarding the second amendment. There are some 310 million Americans in the U.S., how many registered firearms are there? (and one should note that it is voluntary on the part of the citizen to register a gun for personal use.)

Here's a hint,

In extremis, and it would have to be the most extremely bizarre circumstance, "we the people" not only have the numbers, but the firepower as well to enforce constitutional precepts, and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic as need be.

But hey Zarkov, we get to have a revolution in America every four years or so, maybe eight if "we the people" deem the incumbent worthy of a free place to live for another four... (chuckle) ...so we don't need to start getting up in arms about things when the rule of law serves the people well enough.

See, from my perspective, dictators like Castro only pay lip service to revolution, whereas democracies are founded upon it constantly by loyal opposition.

His brother has said that he will push for a more democratic Cuba, and if so then I believe in all fairness, the U.S. government will allow him the chance to put his words to deeds.

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