Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Americans Defy Cuba Travel Ban Before ‘Other Americans…Ruin it All’


Photo by ilkerender via Flickr, (Creative Commons).

World Hum

9.11.07

Yes, this is the peculiar form of national self loathing a number of Americans express in defying the Cuba travel ban. Just how many Americans visit Cuba without U.S. permission? Reliable numbers are hard to come by, but a new AP report citing Cuban government sources puts the number at close to 20,000 in the first half of this year alone. And according to the story, “many say being sneaky is part of the fun.”

One 29-year-old New Yorker who visited last year said, “The fact that you’re not supposed to be there, that was the top for me.”

The story quotes American travelers in Havana who said they wanted to see Cuba before Fidel Castro dies and the country changes.

Take 20-year-old American traveler Bridget, who while visiting Old Havana recently told the AP, “We wanted to get here before all the other Americans come and ruin it all.”

Bridget no doubt imagines Starbucks, KFCs and Best Buy outlets on every other corner in Havana. Plenty of Cubans, of course, are no doubt eager for more foreign investment. One person’s ruin is another’s windfall.

Nobody knows how soon such changes could come, but the story notes that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has expressed interest in loosening travel restrictions for Cuban Americans. Democratic candidate Christopher J. Dodd, who we’ve noted is a former Peace Corps volunteer, has said he would go even further, ending the trade embargo, lifting travel restrictions and opening an American embassy in Havana.

Posted by Jim Benning • 9.11.07

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JG: The last thing that Cubans need or want is a McDonalds to clog their arteries with grease.

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CNN International

Thousands flout ban to see 'forbidden treasure' of Cuba

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