Cuba Libre

So, anyone traveled to Cuba before?

I’d like to go there sometime, certainly, and today’s news makes that more likely.

Never been, but I knew lots of Marines that were stationed in Gitmo and every single one of them loved it. They felt pretty isolated, since most of them didn’t have phones, and there aren’t many flights back to the states. But their barracks and chow hall was less than 100 yards to the beach, and they said the snorkeling was unbelievable. I never met somebody who was stationed at Gitmo who didn’t want to go back.

Note that this was an intelligence unit, not an infantry or torture chamber unit.

Went to Veradero two years ago (I am Canadian). Stayed at an all inclusive hotel. Absolutely loved it. People were friendly. I went snorkelling, beaches everyday, went on a jeep tour, took a bus tour to Havana (tour guide was amazing).

I just remembered my friend and I went up this abandoned medieval-looking tower, which in hindsight was probably a stupid idea, because the stairs were all rusted metal.

I’m sure it won’t be as cheap once American demand hits the pig out, get drunk and loaf about resorts. Right now its a cheaper spot than Mexico, others, for Canadians to be fat, drunk and lazy.

^Not sure what the average price people pay but it was around CAD$700 for me. We went in May as a graduation trip.

A guy I used to work with said it generally cost less than staying home. Not my cup of tea, but hey, its a free world (at least for us non-Cubans). I won’t give my dollars willingly to support a country that abuses fundamental human rights, however.

If those Cuban people were suffering before, I bet they would be suffering even worse without tourism dollars.

^ Not sure. Its tourism dollars that sustains their corrupt government and much flows to the top. The politburo types do well, the rest sustain. They may face temporary pain from less tourism, but long term would be better off if their communism ended. Remember, all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Cuba is certainly such a case.

I don’t think people in some countries value what we would consider to be fundamental rights as much as people in Western countries do. People in Brunei or Saudi Arabia seem fine, for the most part, provided that oil keeps paying for a decent standard of living. Putin might imprison as many people as he wants, but a recession will hurt his internal influence more than any of his human rights abuses. Let’s not even talk about China, where people in urban regions are experiencing standards of living beyond what their parents or grandparents could ever dream of; they would not trade any of their economic gains for a more democratic government.

Overall, I agree that democratization is better for people and economies. However, a tourism boycott of Cuba would hurt the country more than it would help them by forcing the government to change its autocratic policies. We do not even know if the Cuban government would change anything. They would most likely just let their people become even more poor. If you were to ask 1000 Cuban people if they would want Western tourists to not visit their country to send a political message, I doubt that they would think favorably of this suggestion.


Reminds me of my bleeding heart liberal friend who decries exploitative labor in China. He refuses to buy anything that would add to their woes.

Its the short versus the long game.

it’s not really about communism. it’s more about the economy that tourism creates. without tourism, many of these countries may have better developed their resource or manufacturing sectors, similar to China. take Jamaica or the DR. tourism is the only real industry there. without it, in the world that exists now, they’d be screwed as massive offshore economies for manufacturing, IT and other industries have already developed in the far east and they wouldn’t be able to acheive the scale to compete. however, if tourism didn’t exist back in the early to mid-1900s, they likely would have built out these industries and would have prevented some of China/India’s dominance due to their close distance to market, similar wage structures and more compatible societies to that of the West.

the carribean is screwed b/c the West effectively created their tourist economies and they have absolutely no way to diversify. further, the debt these economies have accumulated, which is primarily foreign owned, means they will forever be trapped in this low income tourist economy trap. only with complete debt forgiveness, plenty of seed capital and enhanced schooling would these economies be able to break from the tourist trap. this could have occured in the 1950s or 1960s no problem, but in the 2000s, the size of the debt and the lack of will for Westerners to change prevents this as being a possibility.

Boycotting the carribean is more about boycotting slavery and imperialism than it is about helping the folks there acheive a better existence. it is catch-22 b/c going there perpetuates the wage slavery in these economies and not going there would increase poverty, malnourishment and disease substantially with little chance of improvement in the future due to the points mentioned. we’ve made their bed. now they have to lie in it, while we drink pina coladas.

the thought of a carribean vacation always makes me a little nauseous.

^True, and not too different from an oil extracting state really.

Why are you trying to reinvent the wheel? Is it just to spew a little more hatred toward the West? Did you get this from Zinn/Chomskey/Ayers, or did you come up with this yourself?

The Caribbean countries have a viable economic product (tourism) that they sell to willing buyers. Not much different from Vegas or Orlando or Atlantis or midtown NYC.

Are you really suggesting that we should not ask for the money back that we’ve pumped into their economy, pump even more money into the economy, and spend billions of dollars to create a false industry that would create LESS wealth for its owners, if it’s even economically viable at all?

I highly doubt that tourism has crowded out other kinds of economic development. Tourism is the primary industry in San Francisco, but this has not stopped north Californians from developing a robust economy. Tourism is incidental to undeveloped countries because nature is unspoilt by industry. Lack of industry is not driven by the presence of tourism.

If we were to boycott tourism to Caribean or similar countries, these countries will not spontaneously develop advanced economies. They will have their same problems of poverty and poor governance, but without revenues from tourism. Trade sanctions on Iranian oil haven’t elevated the status of Iranian people. Without oil, Saudi Arabia would probably not be a great and diversified economy; it would just be a shit hole. I don’t see why a boycott of Cuban tourism would be net beneficial to their economy. In fact, it would only further impoverize the Cuban people and isolate the country from the international community.

If we were to boycott any country that employs people in conditions that would be deplorable in the US or Canada, we would have almost no international trade. Furthermore, without the economic benefits of foreign trade, these countries would just fall further into poverty, with no hope of economic or social improvement. The best way that we can serve people in poor countries is to trade with them in a way that is as open as possible, including in the consumption of tourism.


The bleeding heart liberals of the world always want to boycott a developing country in order to improve it somehow.

You do realize that the US boycotts some countries as a form of punishment, right? That refusing to trade with them is supposed to create some kind of economic hardship on them (and us)?

greenman, ohai. as i stated, there is nothing we can do. to change it now is futile. our forefathers created their situation, and for good cause, the carribean, particularly in the mid-1900s was beautiful. now its generally kind of gross due to overpopulation and poverty relative to the West. i choose not to go for the same reason i choose not to go to subsaharan africa on vacation.

my key point is that the carribean is in perpetual wage slavery. china is breaking free due to heavy industry. the problem with tourism is it doesn’t instigate the creation of better education systems as does manufacturing and IT, as seen in China, and lesser so India, and better education is a key building block to acheiving a better existence. this is why SFers can actually diversify their economy. also, SFers don’t rely on foreign capital to get anything done. plainly, comparing SF, a city in the richest country in the world with near infinite capital and world-class labour, to any carribean nation is completely inappropriate.

^So again, it’s the US’s fault that Caribbean nations are poor? So if we just stopped travelling there, then we would expect its economy to improve?

I actually think you’re onto something there. The US forbids people to travel to North Korea, too. I hear it’s a nice place to live. Other than the starving people and all.

yes, of course it’s our, not just the US, but all Western nations’ fault that they are poor. it may not be 100% our fault but we did bring much of the carribean population from Africa against their will on some ships to harvest crops and then build a tourist economy to meet our selfish and discretionary needs. do you not understand how and why carribean populations got there? and why their economy looks the way it looks? just because they hold national elections doesn’t mean they hold power in world politics, nor do they get to ambitiously plot their country’s course… their cards were dealt, by us, and now they have to play them.

The assumption here is that heavy industry would develop in Caribean countries if these countries did not have tourism. Maybe this is true, but maybe these countries would just become failed economies.