"People-to-Castro" Travel

Wednesday, September 7, 2011
One of the most deceptive aspects of the Obama Administration's Cuba policy is its so-called "people-to-people" travel.

The argument behind these trips is that they facilitate non-governmental contact between the American and Cuban people -- and that this will somehow "enlighten" the Cuban people (as if they were ignorant to the realities of the totalitarian regime that represses them).

Yet, even if this were the case, the current "people-to-people" trips barely even provide any contact with non-governmental Cubans.

To the contrary, these trips are approved by the Cuban dictatorship and their itineraries are almost unanimously composed of visits with Castro regime officials.

Moreover, the tour guides are regime officials as well.

Just look at some of the upcoming Fall 2011-Winter 2012 trips:

The trips hosted by the Center for Cuban Studies almost all include meetings with the daughter of current dictator Raul Castro, the Ministry of Culture, the official cultural censors (UNEAC), the Ministry of Public Health, the repressive neighborhood watch committees (CDR), and of course, visits to Varadero beach to learn "how tourism affects the community."

The trips hosted by Common Ground Travel include more of the above, plus a "legal studies" trip that visits with the regime's lawyers guild (perhaps a visit with imprisoned American development worker Alan Gross would be more appropriate), the Ministry of Agriculture and the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (a long-time front for Cuban intelligence).

The trips hosted by Global Exchange follow the same trend and even include visits to the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Tourism to "research opportunities for investment in Cuba."

The Insight Cuba trips are nothing more than tourism - baseball games, rum museums, cigar factories and music.

And finally, Witness for Peace invites Americans to go hear from Castro regime officials just how evil the U.S. and its foreign policy is.

Bottom line: These current "people-to-people" trips are essentially promotion seminars by a repressive regime (on the state-sponsors of terrorism list).

Moreover, they are a slap-in-the-face to courageous Cubans fighting for freedom.