Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Go to (or run a Web site that books travel to) Cuba, receive a fine. It's the law.

Unless you're NOE, Americans who travel to Cuba can expect to be fined by the Feds for Trading with the Enemy. NOE did not receive a fine for his travel to the Communist island. Perhaps it was because he wore a stars and striped bandana the whole time. Or maybe it was because he promised the government he'd never leave the country again (using his Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards to visit "underrated places" like Houston and Lincoln).

But that's not the main point of this post. This is:

Online travel agent was fined by the old white guys (and one young black woman) in Washington for facilitating travel to Cuba over a six-year period. Like most big companies fined by the government, it paid a fraction of the maximum fines for its crimes.

Maybe more of us would have gone if all it took was a few clicks on Travelocity! I'm going to do a quick Travelocity search for travel to North Korea. I will let you folks in the blogosphere know if I come up with anything. Then we, too, can visit Enemy Nations like NOE.


Nemesis of Evil said...

Strong words from a man who's never even been to Buffalo, Erie, Pittsfield, Cleveland, Cody or Cooke City.

And I gave my bandanna away to a little kid shortly after arriving there. I also traded blue jeans and a Che shirt for a government-issued 'Devuelvan a Elian' shirt.

Mike Laursen said...

Please tell me you didn't really have a Che t-shirt. You're too smart to not know about Che's history of cruelty.

Nemesis of Evil said...

Who says I was smart when I was 19?

BigDra said...

Don't tell me you had an American flag bandana. You're too smart to not know about America's horrific history of atrocities.

Anonymous said...

"Strong words from a man", (1) Who sees communist rule and ignores the more accurate term, totalitarian rule, (2) thinks Che looks like Jesus, (3) would travel to a country under totalitarian rule and feel sorry for the citizens.

IMO, we should drop the (fake) embargo and then there will be no excuses for Castro and he will be seen as the crook he really is.

Cuba is a bigger shell than the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, a lot of silly Americans seem to support keeping Castro in power and support his suppression of Cuban residents.

The Professor

BigDra said...


Not sure who your comments are directed towards, but I feel compelled to respond.

1) There is s big difference between communism and Communism (communism in theory vs. the "Communism" that has been put into practice in the world.

2)I never thought of that, but Che does look like Jesus!

3)Who feels bad for the Cubans? I feel bad for Americans! Look at infant mortality statistics for the two countries (let's not even start with those for American blacks...) And there is no way that it is a bigger shell than the USSR. That's just false. And who cares if its a shell anyway? We're the biggest criminals in the world and have no grounds to talk as if we care about the oppression of people in other countries (or even in our own!).

Anonymous said...


Was only responding to NOE's post

1 - Big C little c whats the point. They are not even close. It is a totalitarian state.
3 - My colleague and I have actually done the research. You list mortality (one of 2 that I would also list as better) but this is deceptive since US hospitals choose to deliver riskier babies. Prior to the "revolution" Cuba was the 4th best LA country in terms of quality of life. 40 years later it is 4th from the bottom. The rest of your statement is just pure garbage. In any case, with free exiting, people could decide where it is better to live. Oh I forgot, Cuba doesnt have open boarders. Are they trying to keep people out or keep everyone enslaved?

The Professor

BigDra said...


I agree that "Communism" has been put into practice as a totalitarian state. But communism as originally theorized, is not totalitarian.

Quality of life statistics are too often based on material goods (as are the purchasing power parity used to calculate incomes by groups like the World Bank). I'm not a proponent of what Castro has done, but he has opened up opportunities for blacks, stopped starvation in the countryside, and managed to keep people there relatively well-educated and in good health. That's a lot more than one can say for any other country in the region where the US has had a hand in deciding leadership. Cuba ranks as one of the highest Latin American countries (3rd, actually) in the Human Development Index, which is not bad.

I agree Cuban borders (and "boarders") should be open to movement. However, it would make it more vulnerable to being pressed into "fair" trade agreements just like other countries in the region. Such agreements certainly help to raise living standards if you judge by GDP per capita, but not if you value education and health care, which we in this country clearly do not.

It may not be completely relevant to the Cuba issue specifically, but please do not overlook how this country mistreats its own people and those abroad. We cannot turn a blind eye to that and it is certainly not garbage.

Speaking of enslaved people, how do you feel about China? I couldn't even begin to defend anything that government does (with or without our support).

Anonymous said...

Would suggest watching 20/20 this Friday as John Stossel interviews Michael Moore. As Stossel points out, it is difficult to get accurate information in a closed society. Most of the data is provided by a government with no attempt to verify. Some groups do not even rank Cuba in term of economic and politcal freedoms because they cant verify the information. In terms of political corruption they are in the middle. The democracy index lists them as authoritarian.

Quality of life measures are based on the availability of certain goods ( not just income) and also people ( such as doctors/pop).

As to "fair"(?) trade, voluntary trade is mutually beneficial. Both sides benefit. If not , why exchange?

The Professor