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How Canadian tourism sustains Cuba's army and one-party state

daftandbarmy

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And I'm betting that alot of these same tourists won't but 'unethical' products from their local store. Ironic...


Cuban-Canadians say beach resorts popular with Canadians fuel exploitation and repression

Standing on a street corner in Montreal, Reinaldo Rodriguez has a message for Canadians.

"Canadian tourists are feeding the Cuban regime," he told CBC News.

Rodriguez was part of a wave of protests that have swept Canada's 30,000-strong Cuban community since unrest spread across the island on July 11.

"The people don't see (the money)," he said. "The same as happens with the money the government makes from its doctors who work overseas. The Cuban hospitals are unsanitary, people don't have medicines."

Fellow protester Felix Blanco carried a sign that read, "All-included resort in Cuba: 51 per cent dictatorship, 49 per cent foreign company, 0 per cent Cuban people."

Blanco grew up in Varadero, the heart of the country's sun-and-sand industry.

"The regime uses that money for repression," he told CBC News. "We can see how many police cars they have, how well prepared they are to repress. But we don't have ambulances." (Cuban authorities have said they lack gasoline for ambulances.)

Cuban-Canadian activists say many Canadians are not aware of the extent to which the survival of Cuba's one-party regime depends upon the foreign currency tourists bring into the country, or the lengths the Cuban government will go to keep Canadians coming.

And an even smaller number realize just how many of their dollars are going not to Cuba's undemocratic government, but directly to a group of companies controlled by a small group of well-connected generals in Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces.

 

Navy_Pete

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How is Cuba any worse than pretty much anywhere else that has the wealth concentrated in a few people, who use that to reinforce their control over the majority? That applies to pretty much every form of government, even our democracy.

The US embargo has been on for 60 odd years with no actual effect, maybe it's time to try a different approach?
 

PuckChaser

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I dunno about you, but shutting off the internet during protests and arresting dissidents while they're live streaming doesn't scream 1%er capitalism to me. That's Soviet Russia/North Korea crap...
 

daftandbarmy

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How is Cuba any worse than pretty much anywhere else that has the wealth concentrated in a few people, who use that to reinforce their control over the majority? That applies to pretty much every form of government, even our democracy.

The US embargo has been on for 60 odd years with no actual effect, maybe it's time to try a different approach?

Cuba is a nasty little tinpot dictatorship which might, hopefully, collapse of its own accord...



Cuban government continues to repress and punish dissent and public criticism. The number of short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others was lower in 2019 than in 2018, but remained high, with more than 1,800 arbitrary detentions reported through August. The government continues to use other repressive tactics against critics, including beatings, public shaming, travel restrictions, and termination of employment.

In February, a new Constitution of the Republic of Cuba was approved in a referendum, which entered into force in April. Prior to the referendum, authorities repressed activists opposing its adoption, including through raids and short detentions, and blocked several news sites seen as critical of the regime.

On October 10, Miguel Díaz-Canel was confirmed as president of Cuba with 96.76 percent of votes of National Assembly members.

Arbitrary Detention and Short-Term Imprisonment​


The Cuban government continues to employ arbitrary detention to harass and intimidate critics, independent activists, political opponents, and others. The number of arbitrary short-term detentions, which increased dramatically between 2010 and 2016—from a monthly average of 172 incidents to 827—started to drop in 2017, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independent human rights group that the government considers illegal. The number of reports of arbitrary detentions continued to drop in 2019, with 1,818 from January through August, a decrease of 10 percent compared to the 2,024 reports during the same period in 2018.

Security officers rarely present arrest orders to justify detaining critics. In some cases, detainees are released after receiving official warnings, which prosecutors can use in subsequent criminal trials to show a pattern of “delinquent” behavior.

Detention is often used to prevent people from participating in peaceful marches or meetings to discuss politics. Detainees are often beaten, threatened, and held incommunicado for hours or days. Police or state security agents routinely harass, rough up, and detain members of the Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco)—a group founded by the wives, mothers, and daughters of political prisoners—before or after they attend Sunday mass.

In September, in an effort to prevent a demonstration organized by the Cuban Patriotic Union, authorities detained over 90 activists and protestors and raided the union’s headquarters, media reported. The protest supported the Ladies in White and other persecuted groups, and rejected the 2017 Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the Cuban government and the European Union. It coincided with a high level European delegation visit to Cuba.

 

SeaKingTacco

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Cuba is a nasty little tinpot dictatorship which might, hopefully, collapse of its own accord...



Cuban government continues to repress and punish dissent and public criticism. The number of short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and others was lower in 2019 than in 2018, but remained high, with more than 1,800 arbitrary detentions reported through August. The government continues to use other repressive tactics against critics, including beatings, public shaming, travel restrictions, and termination of employment.

In February, a new Constitution of the Republic of Cuba was approved in a referendum, which entered into force in April. Prior to the referendum, authorities repressed activists opposing its adoption, including through raids and short detentions, and blocked several news sites seen as critical of the regime.

On October 10, Miguel Díaz-Canel was confirmed as president of Cuba with 96.76 percent of votes of National Assembly members.

Arbitrary Detention and Short-Term Imprisonment​


The Cuban government continues to employ arbitrary detention to harass and intimidate critics, independent activists, political opponents, and others. The number of arbitrary short-term detentions, which increased dramatically between 2010 and 2016—from a monthly average of 172 incidents to 827—started to drop in 2017, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independent human rights group that the government considers illegal. The number of reports of arbitrary detentions continued to drop in 2019, with 1,818 from January through August, a decrease of 10 percent compared to the 2,024 reports during the same period in 2018.

Security officers rarely present arrest orders to justify detaining critics. In some cases, detainees are released after receiving official warnings, which prosecutors can use in subsequent criminal trials to show a pattern of “delinquent” behavior.

Detention is often used to prevent people from participating in peaceful marches or meetings to discuss politics. Detainees are often beaten, threatened, and held incommunicado for hours or days. Police or state security agents routinely harass, rough up, and detain members of the Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco)—a group founded by the wives, mothers, and daughters of political prisoners—before or after they attend Sunday mass.

In September, in an effort to prevent a demonstration organized by the Cuban Patriotic Union, authorities detained over 90 activists and protestors and raided the union’s headquarters, media reported. The protest supported the Ladies in White and other persecuted groups, and rejected the 2017 Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the Cuban government and the European Union. It coincided with a high level European delegation visit to Cuba.

I have never really understood the love affair that progressive Canadians have for Cuba. As D&B has noted, it is a nasty, brutish, one party dictatorship that oppresses the ordinary Cuban. Yet the “free healthcare, free education” (even if, in reality, it is shit quality) myth is alive.

The tell should be that people are escaping Cuba to the US- not the other way around.

With that said, I actually think that fastest way to collapse the Cuban regime would be for the US to remove all sanctions and travel restrictions. I don’t think the current Cuban regime would survive a year before the contradictions would cause it fall apart.
 

Altair

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Pfffftt...

I hope nobody buys anything made in China either.
 

Navy_Pete

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With that said, I actually think that fastest way to collapse the Cuban regime would be for the US to remove all sanctions and travel restrictions. I don’t think the current Cuban regime would survive a year before the contradictions would cause it fall apart.
Exactly; hard to resist the juggernaut of the American mythos of 'free market'.

I don't get how people generally think one oppresively run county is bad while others are fine. If you want to look at an index, a lot of countries aren't too far off Cuba, and we have free trade with a lot of them (ie China). Just because they are economically small doesn't really change the moral arguement, but if that's the position they are going to take, people need to apply the same to China, India, Turkey etc.
 

Weinie

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How is Cuba any worse than pretty much anywhere else that has the wealth concentrated in a few people, who use that to reinforce their control over the majority? That applies to pretty much every form of government, even our democracy.

The US embargo has been on for 60 odd years with no actual effect, maybe it's time to try a different approach?
The US embargo had a huge effect, the USSR supplemented/sustained Cuba until the early 90's. After that, after a few dry years, Venezuela stepped up and sustained them. They are in a hurt locker, with traditional countries that supported them no longer able to, and, as stated in the article, tourism drying up.
 

CBH99

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The US embargo had a huge effect, the USSR supplemented/sustained Cuba until the early 90's. After that, after a few dry years, Venezuela stepped up and sustained them. They are in a hurt locker, with traditional countries that supported them no longer able to, and, as stated in the article, tourism drying up.
Does the US embargo serve any practical purpose these days?
 

Weinie

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Does the US embargo serve any practical purpose these days?
It depends on your thinking.

If, as the article suggests, that money is flowing into the oligarchy, and propping up an adversarial dictatorship in your close proximity, then it is likely in your best interests.
 

Altair

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Exactly; hard to resist the juggernaut of the American mythos of 'free market'.

I don't get how people generally think one oppresively run county is bad while others are fine. If you want to look at an index, a lot of countries aren't too far off Cuba, and we have free trade with a lot of them (ie China). Just because they are economically small doesn't really change the moral arguement, but if that's the position they are going to take, people need to apply the same to China, India, Turkey etc.
You're exactly right.

Hypocrites all.

Cuba is a small poor nation and thus easy to pick on, but nobody is calling for an embargo on turkey, Saudi Arabia, China or Russia.

Because that would hurt economically and politically. Cuba is an easy target.
 

Weinie

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You're exactly right.

Hypocrites all.

Cuba is a small poor nation and thus easy to pick on, but nobody is calling for an embargo on turkey, Saudi Arabia, China or Russia.

Because that would hurt economically and politically. Cuba is an easy target.
Except for that one small incident in 1962 that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Other than that Cuba is fine.
 

Altair

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Except for that one small incident in 1962 that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Other than that Cuba is fine.
Let's do a tally.

Cuba had 1962. Soviet Russia was right along with them. Equal in that.

Saudi Arabia had 2001.

Turkey has been cracking down on democracy since the mid 2010s.

And China has been engaging in genocide since 2014.

So where is the talk or cutting trade and ties with them? Nowhere.
 

Navy_Pete

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The US embargo had a huge effect, the USSR supplemented/sustained Cuba until the early 90's. After that, after a few dry years, Venezuela stepped up and sustained them. They are in a hurt locker, with traditional countries that supported them no longer able to, and, as stated in the article, tourism drying up.
And yet, the government it is supposed to be hurting is still in power, while individual Cubans are still poor and have really limited options to get ahead. I'd argue that the embargo has really limited any real options for change, and up until a global pandemic that hurt everyone, has only really been affecting the everyday person, not the people in charge. It's a lot easier to oppress poor, hungry people than a well organized, interconnected society with mod-cons (see Hong Kong), and has given them a pretty good us/them narrative to pass the blame. Has also led to some incredible ingenuity in car repair, when you see the kind of genius kludging they are doing to keep 1950s cars running using parts for fishing boats etc.

I think it's still in place just to buy votes in Flordia, and not for any sound policy reasons or practical purposes. Hardly a good moral reason when you are just punching down on a small poor nation, but promoting trade with countries actively engaged in genocide, widespread suppression and some really 1984 style invasive population monitoring and 're-education'.
 

Altair

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And yet, the government it is supposed to be hurting is still in power, while individual Cubans are still poor and have really limited options to get ahead. I'd argue that the embargo has really limited any real options for change, and up until a global pandemic that hurt everyone, has only really been affecting the everyday person, not the people in charge. It's a lot easier to oppress poor, hungry people than a well organized, interconnected society with mod-cons (see Hong Kong), and has given them a pretty good us/them narrative to pass the blame. Has also led to some incredible ingenuity in car repair, when you see the kind of genius kludging they are doing to keep 1950s cars running using parts for fishing boats etc.

I think it's still in place just to buy votes in Flordia, and not for any sound policy reasons or practical purposes. Hardly a good moral reason when you are just punching down on a small poor nation, but promoting trade with countries actively engaged in genocide, widespread suppression and some really 1984 style invasive population monitoring and 're-education'.
By any conceivable metric, China is worse than Cuba.

Yet not a soul would call for a China embargo.

Hypocrisy at its best.
 

Brad Sallows

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The original criticism is just aimed at people.

People can make their own choices. Some hate people who exploit women but they buy their dope through supply chains originating with organized criminals who also deal in forced prostitution. It's difficult to follow principles, which is why its often laughable to stand too firmly astride them.
 
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