"People-to-People" Trips Are Insulting

Monday, December 1, 2014
In announcing his new "people-to-people" travel policy in January 2011 -- despite an American hostage being held by the Castro regime -- President Obama stated that the purpose of this policy was "to help promote [the Cuban people's] independence from Cuban authorities."

A well-intended goal. But these trips have done the exact opposite.

Every single trip has been pre-approved by the Castro regime and includes official government "tour guides."

Every "people-to-people" traveler stays at the Cuban military's hotels, drinks the Cuban military's booze, smokes the Cuban military's cigars, dines at the Cuban military's restaurants and parties at the Cuban military's nightclubs.

Nearly every "people-to-people" trip approved by the State and Treasury Departments have included visits with Castro regime officials, government ministries and even its repressive organs (e.g. the "Committee's for Defense of the Revolution" and the official censors at the "Union of Writers and Artists").

This weekend -- adding insult to injury -- the "Semester on the Seas" cruise ship docked in Havana, with 600 American students.

The image below shows these students parading through the streets carrying the Castro regime's official posters on behalf of Cuban spies imprisoned in the U.S. for penetrating military facilities and for "conspiracy to commit murder" against American citizens.

Because -- apparently -- a group of over-privileged kids ignorantly regurgitating Castro's propaganda is somehow supposed to inspire and "promote independence" among young Cubans.

Never mind that these trips are taking place while -- in reality -- young Cubans are dying in search for freedom and courageous democracy activists are being violently attacked in their homes.

Reasonable minds can disagree on the "costs v. benefits" of Cuban-American travel to the island, which the Obama Administration has touted as the centerpiece of its policy.

But these "people-to-people" trips are indefensible.