Steve Sachs Duke


Friday, December 05, 2003


Exchange of values: I'm still not sure what to think about the Cuban embargo. While I'm sure that Castro's regime deserves to be sanctioned, I worry that the ban on trade and tourism may be hurting the wrong people, and perhaps even solidifying Castro's hold on power. Some evidence for the benefits of commercial exchange is provided in today's New York Times:

The need to leave Cuba crystallized for Mr. Valdés this summer, he said. After returning from a tour in Spain, he went to Varadero Beach, a resort east of Havana. While there, he said, he could not rent a scooter because they were available only to foreign tourists. Embarrassed and frustrated, he asked a Cuban-American from Miami, who happened to be at the same resort, to rent the scooter for him.

"There I am, a Cuban, a worker, from a good, responsible family, and I can't rent a scooter in my own country," Mr. Valdés said, suddenly angry, his voice rising at the memory. "And this man from Miami, who maybe left in a raft the year before, gets to do whatever he wants in Cuba and he is treated as a señor. I knew, then, it was time to leave."

It's telling that the movement to build a classless society in fact erects the most rigid divisions between the haves and the have-nots. Perhaps bringing the two into closer contact will make people start to wonder why.




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