Breaking the status quo

Sapingo deathmatch: CABA vs. Jay Z

April 15th, 2013 | Posted by Alex in Cuba policy | Cuba travel | Hard-line hijinks | People-to-people

Just when you think you have written the last post about Bey and Jay visit to Cuba, along comes CABA (Cuban American Bar Association), with an open letter slash cathartic screed directed at them. And yes, why they would think Bey and Jay will give them one tenth of a second of attention escapes me as well. The letter itself is an unremarkable, cut-and-paste job from the last one. But it’s as good an opportunity as any to debunk a few rote points.

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Contradiction #1: they say Jay and Bey should have gone “beyond the confines of what the Cuban government planned for your visit” to “find your own truths.” That may fly on Babalu, but here we know better. It’s not the Cuban government, it’s the US government who confines people-to-people travel to a tight schedule, cleared in advance with OFAC, with lots of restrictions. Guess what, if Beyonce decides to stray from her itinerary in order to deliver an armload of computer equipment to dissidents, she would be breaking US law.

Stupidity #2: the centuries old “the Cuban government will use your trip for propaganda”. You know what else it uses for propaganda? The embargo, the travel ban, trying to keep Elian in Miami, the judicial process against the spies, the Vigilia Mambisa camera-hungry protests, Ileana “La Loba Feroz” Ros Lehtinen’s every move, your letter, and a long etcetera. Anything and everything, no matter how right or wrong. If CABA is so concerned with Castroite propaganda, they should lobby for the end of the embargo, because that’s propaganda excuse #1, BY FAR, AND it doesn’t work to boot.

Unnecessary lecture #3: about the violations of human rights in Cuba, yes we all know and deplore that. Much good your little self-serving letter is doing to change that situation. Use the damn trip to highlight those violations as many have done. Better yet, lobby for more Americans –especially those enamored of the cigar-and-beaches worker’s paradise– to go and see the reality with their own eyes. It makes a difference. Guess what’s a fantastic environment for a controlling and repressive regime: a closed and isolated country with no visitors.

Navel-gazing #4: “the island we fled”, “the friends and family living in the US”, “our suffering”, etc… It’s not all about you CABAers and please stop cheapening the suffering of exiles. The isolation policies you promote don’t hurt Raul Castro or you in your Coral Gables offices. They hurt the Cuban people allá.

Ignorant statement #5: The money only go to the Cuban government coffers. Really? I know of three private restaurants, one private nightclub and one private concert they attended. God knows how many other places they visited, how many tips they left, how many crafts and souvenirs they bought. BTW, the only reason they had to stay at the Saratoga and not at a case particular it’s because, you guessed, the US regulations don’t allow it!

Come on CABAers. Think before you fire off another by-the-numbers letter. It’s just disappointing when smart people act like sapingos and refuse to contribute in smart ways to find solutions.

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One Response

  • William Vidal says:

    Well stated, Alex. This letter is pure self-serving sapingueria. Jay-Z may be an arrogant idiot, but he’s not Cuban and I’m not surprised he doesn’t appreciate the nuances of the debate. These people on the other hand, are Cuban-Americans, smart (or at least are supposed to be), and really should know better.

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