Beyonce and Jay-Z will not be punished for visiting Cuba

August 22, 2014 | Print Print |

Beyoncé and Jay-Z with Danza Contemporanea de Cuba. Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — Beyonce and Jay-Z did not violate US sanctions against Cuba by traveling to the island last year, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Treasury Department, dated Wednesday, reported-Reuters.

“We found no indication that American sanctions were violated, and we conclude that (…) the decision not to pursue a formal investigation was reasonable,” said the review.

Two Cuban-American Congress people, supporters of a hard-line stance against Cuba, had requested information from the Treasury Department on the type of license the couple obtained for the trip.

Beyonce and Jay-Z celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in Havana, where they visited Cuban artists.

The famous couple in the American music industry is part of a group of US performers who have visited the island in recent years, including actors Bill Murray, Sean Penn and James Caan.


What's your opinion?

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    How incredible that a married couple visiting Cuba should have their action examined by the Office of the Inspector General of the US Treasury Department. Where is the liberty of US citizens who claim to live in a free country when travelling to another country can be subjected to such examination? The action only serves to make free people in other countries which are friends of the US shake their heads because the US describes itself as: “The home of the free.” Shame!
    Surely the Inspector General’s office of the US Treasury Department has other better things to do?

  • ronbobel777

    we all should have unrestricted travel to cuba. to have cuba on the list of state sponsors of terrorism is ridiculous.

    • Moses Patterson

      ….and the part about Cuba smuggling weapons to North Korea, training and giving safe haven to FARC, and giving aid and comfort to Hamas. Is that ridiculous too?

      • ronbobel777

        The peace talks with FARC are being held in Cuba and if peace comes Cuba should be given credit. Cuba sends doctors and teachers to poor countries and we send sophisticated arms to Israel which uses them to bomb civilians in Gaza.

        • Carlyle MacDuff

          Credit for what? Credit for aiding and abetting Hugo Chavez to fund a terrorist organization that captured rural children to force into becoming child soldiers? FARC’s hands drip with the blood of the innocent. If it were not for FARC and it’s communist supporters there would be peace!

  • Serge T

    i am glad Americans visit cuba , they should make it Legal to everyone.

    • Moses Patterson

      Sure, because the money that an estimated million more American tourists would deliver to the Castros treasury would really help convince the Castros to schedule open and free elections, legalize an independent media and encourage free speech. There is nothing like more money to turn tyrants into good people.

      • Hubert Gieschen

        Moses,
        please pause to consider the difference between Germany
        and Korea, The prospect of Korean unification seems like a pie in the
        sky and when it comes it won’t be pretty. In contrast the amount of
        money West Germany used to pumped into East Germany was incredible. Effectively, East Germany had a credit card that never maxed out or had to be paid back. And now look where we are now. It was the success of the policy of change through ever closer contacts (detente). Think Roberta Flack and ‘killing them softly’.
        Btw, how did you ever get to Cuba legally bearing in mind your support for the embargo? Saludos cordiales

        • Moses Patterson

          Given East Germany’s satellite relationship to Russia, the support given by W. Germany to their eastern brethren served as bait effectively used to entice the separation between East Germans and their own government as well as their Soviet overlords. As you point out, it worked. In Cuba, however, the ‘support’ that increased American tourism would provide would not largely end up in the pockets of everyday Cubans but instead with the tyrannical regime. Airline fees, state restaurants, state-owned hotels, even discos would be the biggest beneficiaries. In Cuba, State means Castro. My trips to Cuba were and still are on a family visa. My wife is Cuban. My support for the embargo doesn’t come up in the conversation when I pass through Cuban immigration.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            But Moses it would also mean more Cubans coming into contact with more people from the free democratic world. The USSR did not suddenly snap, but broke following many many years of erosian. There is more than one way of killing a cat.

          • Moses Patterson

            What you are suggesting is that the already 3 million tourists who will visit Cuba from all over the “free democratic world” aren’t enough. Your theory suggests that the estimated 1 million more American tourists who would likely visit Cuba if there were no travel restrictions would somehow be the tipping point. I share what you seem to believe about US tourists, that is to say, we are “special”. I just don’t think that if the 3 million Canadians, Spaniards, Italians, Brits and Latin Americans have not caused the Castros to budge one iota toward a more open and democratic society, an extra one million more Americans would not make any difference. This is not the way to “kill the cat”.

          • dani

            Lets say a million more American tourists arrive and it makes no political change. So where is the downside or the loss? On the other hand the extra revenue will help the economy and perhaps wages can be increased or the crumbling buildings dealt with.

            I’ve asked this many times to people on this site and have never had an answer. What is stopping the Cuban people pushing for change after the embargo etc were lifted? I mean it’s like you people are scared that if the economy gets slightly better then Yoani is going to regret everything she has said and start reading Das Capital and the Damas de Blanco will join a volunteer brigade and the workers will start singing happy communist songs on their way to work.

            If the government is as unpopular as you like to make out, then the revenue of American tourists isn’t going to make a difference one way or the other.

          • Moses Patterson

            Okay, you are almost there. When the Castros, I repeat Castros, get more money, the people will get more repression. When you write “the extra revenue will help the economy and perhaps wages can be increased or the crumbling buildings dealt with”, you should ask yourself when the Castros received millions of rubles each year from the Soviet bloc, why weren’t buildings maintained or wages increased. It has been estimated that even with the increased revenue from unrestricted American tourism, the amount will not exceed the subsidies Cuba once received from the Soviets. That implies that if the Castros did not do right by Cubans when they had Soviet rubles, what makes you think they will do anything any different with USD? The pro-embargo side is not fearful. On the contrary, support for the embargo is simply common sense.

          • dani

            It isn’t common sense, it is cold-war paranoia. The heyday of the Soviet era was nearly 25 years ago and yes the wages and standard of living were decent at the time ie higher than most carribean countries and the buildings issue wasn’t as prevalent. In hindsight not all the benefits of Soviet aid were used wisely, but then no one including Soviet analysts and observers anticipated the complete collapse of eastern Europe. The current government is well aware of the need for increasing wages in the official economy in order to undermine the black economy. They have managed to do this to some extent. They raised the pensioners, construction workers, teachers and health workers have had pay rises. Since farmers can sell surpluses on the open market they have also increased their income. So there is good reason to think that wages would increase post embargo.

            Where is the evidence that given more money the Castros will increase repression. Has this happened with Vietnam for example. If you follow your rather incoherent logic, the embargo has little or no effect on the Cuban economy in general, but Minint are severely underfunded. The truth is they don’t need to increase repression as the average Cuban has shown no inclination to overthrow the government and dissidents remain bitterly divided and constantly shoot themselves in the foot. As some observers have noted, most of the dissidents are out of the country doing global tours.

          • Moses Patterson

            Have you talked to a Cuban doctor since the Castros increased wages for the medical community? My best friend in Cuba is a neurosurgeon at Calixto Garcia. How about the teachers? My sister-in-law teaches young teens in Guantanamo. The extra 70 – 200 Cuban pesos (approx. $3 – $7) per month has made little difference for workers in these professions. Especially in light of the increase in food prices. The evidence that the Castros can not be trusted with the money received from increasing US tourism is historical. Dictators do not evolve. Especially when economic conditions improve. The recent economic reforms in Cuba have been forced upon the Castros out of necessity. The threat of economic collapse looms large and only, in part, due to the embargo. The greatest obstacle to Cuban progress is the Castro-style socialism. Lacking the freedom of press and assembly has severely stifled the public expression of discontent with the Castro dictatorship. On the other hand recent private polls have shown Cubans to be unhappy with their current government (http://www.iri.org/sites/default/files/2011%20April%20Cuba%20Poll%20Final%20Survey%20Slide%20Presentation.pdf).

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Moses I am suggesting that more Cubans coming into contact with more visitors from the free democratic world would aid the eventual implosion of the Castro family regime. In 1950 my late father said to me that the only way in which the communist regime in the Soviet Union would be defeated would be when it rotted from within and that in the interim period the west would need to pursue a policy of containment. He lived to see it happen. In the interim period there were wars in Korea, Vietnam, sundry Arab countries, Angola and other African countries (Cuba had military involvement as a Soviet satellite in 13 countries). But in the end the Soviet Empire did implode from within. As the Head of Station for MI6 in Vienna my father having entered Vienna in May 1945 and his agents covering much of eastern Europe experienced the reality of communism on a daily basis. Later in his career he went to Saigon in 1957 to advise the US upon how to combat the insurgence there, modelled upon the successful ten year campaign run by the British in Malaya which has remained free and democratic. He found that the Americans would not listen, preferring to depend upon “fire power”. That became their downfall and they were defeated.
            Where the Castro family regime has an advantage even compared with the USSR, is in the way that the family controls the economy not just through power over the people but through investment and economic control. The more visitors from the free democratic world that visit Cuba the better – the more contact that Cubans have with those visitors the better. Encourage the rot!

          • Juan

            . “My trips to Cuba were and still are on a family visa”
            What a hypocrite – happy to travel there yourself but support an embargo that makes it difficult or impossible for others from the land of the unfree to travel there.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            I have never supported the embargo and you cannot demonstrate otherwise. Get your brain into gear!

          • Moses Patterson

            You don’t realize it but we agree on most of the points you made. I also believe that the Castros, literally and figuratively, will rot from within. I agree that the USSR suffered more of less the same fate. Please note that Ronald Reagan and his successors kept the Cold War pressure on the USSR until the very end. We “encouraged the rot”! So, here is where we likely differ: The embargo is the best way to facilitate the “rot” in Cuba. Imagine if during Perestroika if the US had reversed our policy and began to pump hard currency into the Soviet economy. Reagan demanded that the Soviet bloc “tear down the wall”. He didn’t say, “Let me help you repair it”. By lifting the embargo with Cuba now in their own version of Perestroika, this is exactly what you are suggesting we do with the Castros. You have yet to address my earlier point that if the 3 million tourists for 2014 from “the free democratic world” have not brought democracy to Cuba, what is it about an estimated 1 million more US tourists that will make a difference?

          • dani

            I don’t think the fall of the Soviet Union is a good example of how things should be done. It was good for the east European states and the Soviet republics that they were able to decide their own future. And was good for the US that they were able to asset strip the country, expand NATO and a free reign in the third world. But for Russia it was a disaster. Under guidance from Washington experts the Kremlin privatised the whole of industry in one go, sending the economy plumetting for a whole decade including massive unemployment and inflation. Organized crime and the new Oligarchy took over (mostly ex-members of the nomenclatura). The last time Yeltsin came up for election he only managed 2% in the polls. It’s good to know what America has in store for Cuba.

          • Moses Patterson

            Most Russians were nonetheless better off after the breakup. Some much better off and yes, a few fell into a new kind of poverty. But now, 20 years later, the overwhelming majority of Russians do not want to go back to the old Soviet system. So even if this is what is in store for Cuba, it would be better than where they are headed today.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Isn’t it good of you to say that the fall of the Soviet Union was good for the east European states and tha Soviet republics that they were able (to then) decide their own future.
            You fail to explain which country “was good for the US that they were able to asset strip”.
            Yes, thankfully for Russia it was a disaster that they no longer held all those other sovereign nations in thraldom. The Russian Bear has always throughout history been a bad neighbour but under communism it became an evil.
            Your view that the good old USA provided “guidance” to Russia is so ridiculous that it would make even the pet Kremlin cat laugh!
            You and I completely disagree about the fall of the Soviet Union. I think that it is an excellent example of how an evil regime can rot from within and is far preferable to having millions die in military action to achieve the same end.
            Under the autocracy of Vladamir Putin, the Russian Bear is again annexing, threatening and bullying its neighbours. Fortunately its GDP (which is less than that of Canada) limits its options. But Putin will mercilessly deny his own people even food to achieve his grandiose ambitions. His actions prove that the KGB when denying him promotion recorded their reason as:
            “He has a lowered sense of danger.”
            They got that right!

          • dani

            Talk about jumping out of a plane without a parachute. From wikipedia –

            “In late 1991, Yeltsin turned to the advice of Western economists, and Western institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the U.S. Treasury Department, who had developed a standard policy recipe for transition economies in the late 1980s. This policy recipe came to be known as the “Washington Consensus” or “shock therapy”, a combination of measures intended to liberalize prices and stabilize the state’s budget. Such measures had been attempted in Poland, and advocates of “shock therapy” thought that the same could be done in Russia.

            At the same time, Yeltsin followed a policy of ‘macroeconomic stabilization,’ a harsh austerity regime designed to control inflation. Under Yeltsin’s stabilization program, interest rates were raised to extremely high levels to tighten money and restrict credit. To bring state spending and revenues into balance, Yeltsin raised new taxes heavily, cut back sharply on government subsidies to industry and construction, and made steep cuts to state welfare spending.

            In early 1992, prices skyrocketed throughout Russia, and a deep credit crunch shut down many industries and brought about a protracted depression. The reforms devastated the living standards of much of the population, especially the groups dependent on Soviet-era state subsidies and welfare entitlement programs.[26] Through the 1990s, Russia’s GDP fell by 50 percent, vast sectors of the economy were wiped out, inequality and unemployment grew dramatically, while incomes fell. Hyperinflation, caused by the Central Bank of Russia’s loose monetary policy, wiped out a lot of personal savings, and tens of millions of Russians were plunged into poverty.[27][28]

            Some economists argue that in the 1990s Russia suffered an economic downturn more severe than the United States or Germany had undergone six decades earlier in the Great Depression.[26] Russian commentators and even some Western economists, such as Marshall Goldman, widely blamed Yeltsin’s Western-backed economic program for the country’s disastrous economic performance in the 1990s.”

            So is this what you want for Cuba?

            Why the sarcasm? Anyone who has read my posts on this site should know that I believe strongly in self-determination and I apply the principle across the board not just when it suits.

            Your logic regarding Putin is also faulty. Though he technically anexed Chrimea this is academic since the vast majority of the population wanted to join with Russia and with Doniesk he is bound to help the Russian speakers in the east of the country, who are being coerced and killed by the Kiev government. He hasn’t encouraged them to grab the Ukranian west of the country only helped them in self-defence and has called for a political solution to the problem. The best solution would probably be for the east to have autonomy within the current borders, but they also have a right to independence or to merge with Russia. Self-determination.

            What I find strange is that right wingers like yourself can’t see the difference between the situation here and what happened in Chechnya. There Putin raised a whole city to the ground killing thousands yet noone cared because Putin was in the west’s good books at the time.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            So, as you consider Putin is bound to help Russian speakers in Ukraine you no doubt consider that similarly Adolf Hitler was bound to similarly assist German speakers in Czechoslovakia and the Sudetanland. Whereas I agree wih you regarding Putin’s action in Chechnya, there is an obvious difference in that Checnya was part of Russia until 1991. Ukraine is a sovereign nation. You endeavor to justify Putin’s aggression in Ukraine by saying of him in mitigation that: “He hasn’t encouraged them to grab the Ukrainian west of the country” eg; “the country” being Ukraine.
            I comprehend Putin’s paranoia regarding Ukraine deciding that it wants to be a member of the free Europe. The history of Russia under almost all its leaders has been of expansion whenever possible and of paranoia regarding its neighbours. I give credit to the KGB for their conclusion about then Colonel Putin. I repeat: They got it right!
            I would rather see the Russian Bear caged than see it let loose again to savage its neighbours. Putin as the initiator should rightly suffer the consequences of his actions. We are told that 80% of the Russian people support his actions, as you sow, so shall you reap..
            The Cubans are not eligible “to be plunged into poverty” they are already there.

          • dani

            If the German speakers in Sudetenland were under aerial bombardment and attacked militarily then any German leader would be bound to offer support. The French would do the same in Quebec. But you know perfectly well that Hitler used that issue as an excuse to invade the whole of Czechoslovakia. There is no comparison.
            I’d like to meet the person who decides who is a sovereign nation and who isn’t. This is a really 19th century concept. Is it any better what Saddam did in Kurdistan just because it was part of the Iraqi sovereign state.
            Putin may not like the encroachment of the EU but he is not the initiator of anything. The west is just using that as an excuse. The real issue is the break up of the country between the Ukrainian west and the Russian east. This has been brewing for years, but has been heightened by the government in Kiev and its neo-Nazi friends. Divorce is messy and painful, but it happens and you can’t keep people in a state against their will.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Firstly you are correct in saying that we have many points of agreement. We obviously disagree about the US embargo – and it is as I have pointed out previously an embargo not a blockade. I deliberately gave example of where US foreign policy was a complete failure ending in defeat. The US foreign policy is far from infallible. Iraq is another more than dubious action. More than fifty four years after its imposition, no one can describe the US embargo as a successful policy. Time to re-think!
            I understand the political grandstanding by both Reagan and Thatcher regarding their views upon how they jointly overcame the Soviet empire. Thatcher’s words: “I can do business with Mr. Gorbachev.” But that was because he had already determined that change was necessary because the rot had established and was spreading. Yes, Reagan and Thatcher were the heroes of the time but so much went before. Many, many years earlier another US President had said when facing the wall:
            “Ich bin ein Berliner.”
            I know of 247 meetings between the USSR and the allies regarding the status of Vienna and Austria. At the end of those meetings, Austria became a free democratic but neutral country and the USSR withdrew. That is as far as I am aware, the only example of the USSR withdrawing from territory they occupied and controlled. My father’s cover role was as a diplomat!
            My family has a picture from a well-known Austrian artist:
            It is inscribed: ‘To ……… in exchange for the Burgenland’
            The Burgenland lies to the east of the Danube and stretches to the Hungarian border – which became marked by the Iron Curtain. As the evil of communism affected my life from 1945 onwards as a child, as a student, as a serving officer in occupied West Germany and as a British Army Emergency Reserve officer until the age of 45, I detest the creed.
            The US embargo is opposed by 182 countries at the UN including my own and my former country (whose Official Secrets Act I had to sign). The only supporter is Israel.
            Whereas thos opposed include many whose policies I deplore, they also include the NATO allies! It could possibly be that the US is right, but upon balance the reverse is more probable!
            So, you and I will have to disagree.

          • Moses Patterson

            Still no response as to how the estimated 1 million more American tourists will trigger a sea course change toward democracy? That can happen when we parrot a propaganda line before thinking it through.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            Firstly Moses the nice round figure of 1 million is dubious. You and I both know that US citizens desirious of visiting Cuba did so in justifiable contempt of US official policy – an increase of 1 million is therefore unlikely.(but as a latter humorous aside it may be the reasoning behind the Gaviota SA decision to build 14,000 more hotel rooms)
            Secondly I thought I had clarified my view that the more contact there is between people from the free democratic world and Cuban citizens the more rapid the development of the internal rot.
            The difference between you and I is which of us is parroting a propaganda line?
            I went to the trouble of explaining and demonstrating examples of failed US foreign policies. In my view fifty five years of embargo has failed in its purpose of unseating the Castro family regime and a policy revision is necessary. It can be argued also that the embargo has proved to be the best possible tool for the regime to explain to Cubans their multitude of failures.
            The US tends to be a touch dogmatic in terms of recognising its own weaknesses and failures.
            I look forward to a parroted response!

          • Moses Patterson

            It should be easy for you to accept that once US tourism to Cuba is unrestricted, in the first year alone more than one million new American tourists are expected to visit Cuba for the first time. More than 400,000 Americans and Cuban-Americans will visit Cuba in 2014 even under current restrictions. Consider that 14 million tourists visited nearby Cancun alone in 2013. During the Spring Break holiday alone, as many as 3 million Americans visit the Mayan Riviera. I can easily see how tourism experts estimate 1 million more Americans for Cuba. What you still have not substantiated is how “more contact” with free people will make any difference to the Castros. Sure, they will take our money but how will these newbies change anything. I contend that with the extra ‘fula’ the Castros will reverse some of the reforms they were forced to implement. Please explain or refrain from using this argument in the future. I don’t disagree that the embargo has failed its original purpose. It has, however, served to limit the Castros extraterritorial adventures. Consider the damage they have done to Venezuela. Imagine if the Castros had had the money to replicate their failed policy elsewhere. Still, with acolytes in Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, even without money, they have still managed to spread their venomous totalitarianism to several other countries. I say keep the embargo in place a few more years. At least until Fidel croaks or Raul retires. I believe all bets are off in either circumstance and negotiating the lifting of the embargo with non-Castro leadership is more likely to yield better results.

          • Carlyle MacDuff

            It is as you know, US policy to restrict tourism to Cuba. I don’t anticipate the rot being very effective during the lifetimes of Raul and Fidel Castro Ruz – and therefore I do not anticipate any change in US dogmatic policy regarding the embargo.
            My view as I have explained is that the system will rot from within. That will take a prolonged period with the first chink being when Raul retires, Diaz-Canel succeeds him and and about the same time Maduro is rejected by the Venezuelans. As you will be aware, the US has been unable to dislodge the Castros by force following their agreement with Kruschev not to do so and to remove any nuclear weapons from Turkey. Yes, despite the embargo being in place the Castros were very effective in fomenting or assisting to foment revolution in the Middle East, East Africa and Central America.Back in 1981 Central America was of increasing concern to the US because of the growing success of Soviet/Cuban activities. It was not the embargo but the implosion of the USSR which reduced the Cuban activities there but did not end them.
            I think it makes sense to encourage the rot from within Cuba of the Cuban regime. There are few ways of doing so but one of them is in my view to maximise contact between Cubans in Cuba and visitors from free countries to enable Cubans to be more aware of the differences. It is apparent that your view is that such contact affects no difference. We differ but I shall invoke my freedom to express my opinion despite your remonstrations.
            Regarding non-Castro leadership, Diaz-Canel is hand-picked and the Castros have their enormous level of economic clout built up with care over many years. It remains to be seen whether the Castro Ruz family undr the leadership of Espin and General Rodriguez will be able to exercise that clout to control Diaz-Canel’s political intentions.

          • dani

            I’m well aware that the pay rises are inadequate and I agree with you totally regarding the skilled professionals but I was pointing out the principle that the government has made some pay rises where possible. They find themselves in several catch 22 situations. In order to increase productivity they need to raise wages, in order to raise wages they need to raise prices, but then they need to raise wages to compensate for the raised prices and so on. No option exists where someone isn’t going to lose out. Well actually there is, dropping the embargo injects money into the economy without a loss to anyone. Other than that they can only take baby steps.

            The right to assembly is not as severely stifled as you try and make out. Havana Times has reported on several political meetings and the Catholic Church negotiated a route for the Dames de Blanco to march every Sunday. Nelson Mandela never needed either of those rights to build up his movement. It’s worth reading again the damning inditement in wikileaks of the dissidents themselves. Look also at the actions of Guillermo Fariñas – first he hob-knobs with Luis Possada Carilles, calling him a fellow oppositionist, then he lays flowers down at the grave of someone who fought for the American side in the Bay of Pigs alongside some of the worst torturers of the Batista regime. And then there is Berta Soler with her little golden cup and Yoani embracing Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who you yourself said was certifiable. No wonder these people don’t resonate with the vast majority of Cubans.

            I’m interested in the poll you mention however the link is dead. You have to be wary of polls like this – I mean if you asked people in the UK how they rated politicians the approval rate would be in the single figures, but people still go along with them because there isn’t a viable alternative.

          • Moses Patterson

            The answer to the economic conundrum the Castros have created is simple. Innovation and entrepreneurship. OK, that’s two words. If Cuba could produce something the world really wanted, new money would flow in. However to encourage innovation, Cubans would have to be optimistic. Optimism will not come until the current leadership leaves town. China is a good example here. Once Cubans believe that there is hope for a better future IN CUBA, production will go up without a corresponding increase in wages. Increased production will then trigger an increase in wages. That is how it has worked since time immemorial. It will work in Cuba.

          • Terry Downey

            But what took you to Cuba in the first place…before you met and married your cubana esposa? Why on earth would someone like you…who hates Cuba so much (the Castros) and who supports the American government’s tyranical, imposing policies designed to lord over Cuba….ever want to go there at all? Did you have a weak moment at one time? Moses, I hope you realize that your negative attitude towards the Cuba of today is more than a bit ‘over-the-top’ considering you also have family there. Surely someone as bright as you must know that your negative attitude, and that of your government’s, is a lost cause. Yet you persist…you’re really quite an enigma. All of that negative energy and hate…to the point of being ridiculous. There’s no balance with you…and that’s when you lose credibility with this poster…and many others as well, I’m sure. While there is obviously much room for improvement, Castros Cuba does have many redeeming qualities. And there would be many, many more should and if the US government ever reverse it’s repressive position and allow Cuba to fully blossom as a sovereign nation…free of US interventionalist policies and manipulation that are only meant to force their government to bow before empire.

          • Moses Patterson

            As I have written many times here at HT, I LOVE Cuba. I LOVE Cubans (well, not all Cubans) but I hate the Castros and their despotic rule. There is a difference. I do not seek balance in my opposition to that tyrannical dictatorship. Every month that I pack a care package with shampoos, clothes, DVDs, dry foods, medicines and various sundries for shipment to my wife’s family of engineers, teacher and lawyer my “over-the-top” attitude is renewed. These are hard-working, well-educated people who deserve a better life. When I send money to them every month by mules, Western Union or whatever is most expedient at the time my negative attitude is validated. Enigma or not, I have personal experience with everything that is good about life in Cuba and everything that is bad. The US policy towards Cuba is not Cuba’s biggest problem. The Castros are…

  • JOHN RYAN

    when trade was started with russia, private business followed. when trade started with china private business followed.you don’t have to stay in hotels.you don’t have to eat at govt restaurants cubans are free to travel to usa yet 99.5% of americans are NOT free to travel.embargo only hurts average cubans not castro 50 years of failure. time for plan B..

    • Vahe Demirjian

      Private enterprise in China and Russia didn’t occur because the US opened trade with those nations. To give you a snippet of this argument (from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1994/11/bg1010nbsp-why-the-cuban-trade):

      “Those who favor lifting the embargo often point to the examples of Vietnam and China to justify their position, claiming that eliminating the embargo will encourage the growth of a free-market economy which will undermine the communist regime. Such comparisons are not valid. Capitalism is destroying communism in China, but the driving force is not international trade. It is a strong domestic market economy tolerated by the communist government. China’s market economy is dominated by many millions of small entrepreneurs who are devouring the communist command economy. Moreover, China’s market economy has been growing in depth and diversity since the mid-1980s. Free trade is promoting faster market growth and expanding the personal freedom of millions of Chinese, encouraged by entrepreneurs and investors from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere who are providing the capital, entrepreneurial skills, and international trade contacts which are compelling China to transform its economy. In the process, a vast and prosperous middle class is being created.”
      All of this serves to highlight the fact that it was not US trade that led to private business in China and Russia, but instead the recognition by Deng Xiaoping and Mikhail Gorbachev that their countries’ command economies were failing to meet the basic needs of the Chinese and Russian peoples and needed market mechanisms in order to prosper and ensure a better life for everyone.

  • Brrr

    It’s patently ridiculous that a country that bleats platitudes about being the “home of the free” neither affords their own citizens the freedom to travel where they choose, nor their own businesses the freedom to do business with whom they choose.

  • Vahe Demirjian

    As I had predicted, the Beyoncé/Jay-Z trip to Cuba was not a thinly veiled tourism vacation. After all, I didn’t see any photographic evidence that Beyoncé and Jay-Z took US money with them during the trip to Havana.
    The photos of Beyoncé and Jay-Z with Cuban children are awesome. That reinforces the belief that every Cuban, old or young, is friendly with Americans who visit Cuba. Next time when Beyoncé and Jay-Z visit Cuba, they can ask the Cuban gov’t for a photo session where Beyoncé holds a little Afro-Cuban girl in her arm in the same manner that Gelya Markizova was photographed in Stalin’s arms in 1936.

  • Carlyle MacDuff

    MESSAGE TO THE EDITOR

    The new system being used by Havana Times is juxta-positioning the various comments and responses or even ommitting some. This makes contributions almost irrelevant – which in turn means that contributors will cease making them!

    • Circles Robinson

      Dear Carlyle and other readers. There was an automatic update of Disqus and there appears to be problems. I hope we can get it worked out as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience.