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Old 05-16-2007, 12:36 PM   #16
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My sister visited Cuba a couple of years ago. She saw some really bad poverty. This is a result of the embargo against Cuba. If they'd lift it and have normal relations, then everythingi would be alright. They can't change it because of the Cuban-Americans. They need those votes to carry Florida. We saw how important Florida was in the 2000 election.
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Old 05-16-2007, 12:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
what do you think is going to happen in Cuba once Castro dies?
Nothing. The majority of people who are living in Cuba are Communists and Castro has more than likely left a long line of succession. Any sort of change in Cuba will have to come from an outside country. And seeing how all other South America are quickly turning Communist too, I don't see any sort of coup happening.

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what do the Democrats need to do in order to start to win the Cuban-American vote (so critical in the swing state of Florida)?
Honestly, nothing. My family are such hellbent Republicans, they won't even consider anyone with a Democrat party alliance.
On the other hand, my mom has always been a Republican. In 2004, she got so fed up with the Iraq war. I took her to see Fahrenheit 9/11 and she got even more frustrated. She never liked Bush from the start, but she voted for him in 2000 because he was a Republican. In 2004, she voted for Kerry, but really only because of her distrust in Bush and the handling of the Iraq war. As of right now, she's in support of McCain.
When my grandmother takes in her absentee ballot, she asks us to fill down Republican for everything because her husband always told her to do so.
It's the same thing that's happening with other groups of people in the country, ya know? It's just so hard to change.

This just brought back my memory of a family party where my dad announced that I would be voting for Kerry. Everyone booed me and they kept talking in my ear about not being a real Cuban.

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what are the best things about Cuba? (and i mean the country, not the people)
The country itself is beautiful. My grandmother talks fondly of what it was like pre-Castro. It was still a poor country, but it was on the rise. My grandfather was a waiter in a hotel and used to serve the likes of Frank Sinatra and other big celebrities. Their tropical forests contain really beautiful birds and animals. Their beaches are also gorgeous.
Just think of being stuck in a time warp. 1950's cars, cattle drawn carts, old buildings from the 1800's, old forts. I'd imagine it's something like St. Augustine, but much more primitive.
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:04 PM   #18
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I've visited Cuba and it's true that it is poor. Nobody is disputing that - however, I didn't see a level of poverty there that exceeded that of other Caribbean nations like say, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico and so on. No matter where you go in the Caribbean, if you stay in a resort, your money is usually going to a European resort owner (most of them seem to be Spanish), and you do not experience the real country. It's important to get into the real cities and towns and I did so in Cuba. The people were lovely. But like I said, if you are against spending tourist dollars in Cuba, then you should equally be against doing so in the other comparable nations, because none of them are benefiting locally either and most have corrupt local and federal governments.
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:04 PM   #19
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Originally posted by verte76
If they'd lift it and have normal relations, then everything would be alright. They can't change it because of the Cuban-Americans. They need those votes to carry Florida. We saw how important Florida was in the 2000 election.
It's not the U.S. embargo's fault that there is such poverty. This poverty existed before there ever even was an embargo.
It's been made worse since Castro's brand of warped Communism has had this pirate-like mentality of taking from the poor to line his own pockets and build up the tourism industry...to line his own pockets up again.
You're not allowed to dissent in your own home, even. They pay people in your own neighborhood to spy on you and report back if you do. If you raise chickens, you have to surrender a large amount of your chickens to the country, with no retribution.
Communism is a dangerous idea because behind its utopian ideas exists a man in charge of it all. There are no elections in Cuba. There was never a chance to change the wrong that Castro was doing. He stole the government and made himself supreme ruler of the land. (Does this sound a bit 1933ish? Without the ethnic cleansing.) He doesn't even need to conquer the world. World domination isn't around anymore because why make enemies when you can make friends? Look no further than Venezuela, Mexico, the guerrilla-ridden country of Colombia. Each of these countries will topple over their neighbors into being Communist as a promise of change to their underprivileged low-class citizens. And these liars who claim to be working for them will only rob from them again. (1933 Germany? Anyone?)

It was the same situation in Africa with Live Aid. How much of that money got to the people? Barely nothing. The dictators who made the promise to help their people kept it for themselves.
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:07 PM   #20
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That's surprising about the health care. Michael Moore's upcoming movie visits Cuba to show the health care, and it'll be interesting to see how it's portrayed.
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:10 PM   #21
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Originally posted by anitram
But like I said, if you are against spending tourist dollars in Cuba, then you should equally be against doing so in the other comparable nations, because none of them are benefiting locally either and most have corrupt local and federal governments.
Yeah, but there's no Hatian/Dominican majority in the U.S. large enough to change that. Obviously there are countries everywhere that you shouldn't visit as a tourist, but you really just have to be like Ormus has stated and not visit them yourself if you don't want to support them.
I just angry when I see films like Miami Vice who paint Havana as a luxury town that is similar to Miami. Or when I see people admire Che Guevara simply because he was a revolutionist. I myself couldn't bring myself to see The Motorcycle Diaries, and I won't be seeing Sicko either. Personal choice.
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:12 PM   #22
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do you think there's a kind of cosmic parallel between the far Left's idealization of Cuba and the right's demonization of all-things Castro? what role does nostalgia for a pre-revolutioni Cuba play in the memories of Cuban-Americans?
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:17 PM   #23
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It's sad because when you drive through Havana, you can see that it was once this really great city (by once, I mean back in the 1920s or so). For example, the Miramar section of town is a place that was obviously steeped in luxury although now you see signs of decay and the landscaping is largely abandoned and so on. But underneath, it's still gorgeous.

It makes sense for somebody who is a Cuban to feel a certain way. For me, to be honest, I don't see any reason why I'd avoid Cuba and then go and sit my ass on the beach in Jamaica, which frankly came off considerably poorer and decayed than the worst slum I saw in Cuba.

I do, however, feel that the Cuban American lobby has not always acted in the best interest of the Cuban people and that a lot of them have a certain stake in the outcome that is more than simply altruistic.
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:29 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
do you think there's a kind of cosmic parallel between the far Left's idealization of Cuba and the right's demonization of all-things Castro? what role does nostalgia for a pre-revolutioni Cuba play in the memories of Cuban-Americans?
I think the sort of things that the Democrats shoot for (i.e. - nationalized health care, for the most part) is all to familiar to the Cuban-American population and it only separates them further from Democrats.
But trust me, we are taught to be Republicans from birth. Growing up, I can remember asking my mom what the difference between a Republican and Democrat was and she'd always give me the same response:
The Democrats lean to the left, which is Communism and the Republicans lean to the right. I never received the rest of the comparison. The word Communism was enough to scare me into supporting Republicans.

Most of the Cubans who live here haven't been back for a very long time. So they either rely on memory of what it was, or reports on how it is now from family members or friends.
While I don't think the embargo is solving any problems right now, I think the country itself is better off with it. I'd venture a guess to say this is how most of the Cuban-American population feels. I know people who want to their coffins moved to Cuba so that they can be buried in their homeland.
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:34 PM   #25
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Most of the Cubans who live here haven't been back for a very long time. So they either rely on memory of what it was, or reports on how it is now from family members or friends.
Do you think there is a disconnect? When somebody hasn't been back there in 40-50 years, to what extent should they dictate public or foreign policy?

The reason I ask is that when I was a little girl, I remember our relatives visiting from Canada and the US, and they'd lived abroad for 20, 30, 40 years and all they had were nostalgic memories. They had no real understanding of what day to day life was and they had no real stake either, because their lives were unaffected. And yet they would always push a certain policy, donate large sums of $ to independence-minded organizations (not to mention largely funding the subsequent civil war). And it always really really bothered us back there, because it's as if they knew what was best for us and wanted to dictate their terms to us via remote control. They were well meaning but it wasn't their hides on the line. Now that I've lived in North America most of my life, I am always very careful about proferring opinions re: my country of birth. My parents refuse to vote from abroad because they think they have no business influencing the political process in a country they no longer live in. I have always admired them immensely for this.

My point is that now, I understand why emigrants feel so strongly about their homelands. But they also need to understand that the country they once knew isn't there anymore, that time doesn't stand still and that they really maybe shouldn't have as much of a say as they think they should. I've encountered this from Israelis I've worked with (who largely can't stand the Jewish American lobbyists), so it seems like it's common across emigrant groups.
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Old 05-16-2007, 01:55 PM   #26
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I think the fact that they are exiles who want to go back is the main difference here. I can't speak for them, since I don't have the desire to visit Cuba or go there even if the Communism were gone. My home is here in the U.S.

I know my mother's side of the family has an interest in Cuban policy because she has family there. There's no way for them to get here unless they come by raft, and they won't attempt that. So I think there's a certain amount of people who have a genuine need and interest in these matters. Especially because those living in Cuba have no voice anyway.
I know my dad's side of the family no longer has a connection with Cuba, as everyone has either died, moved here, or simply become Communist. He thinks from a nostalgic point of view, but he doesn't either support or protest the involvement from Cuban-American lobbyists. He's lost that connection, so all he can do is hope for the best for his country. In the meantime, he focuses on U.S. politics.
But then again, he's one of the very few amount of Cubans who have that certain disconnect.
I think you'll find as time goes on and the second-generation Cubans like myself grow up there would be a different attitude toward the whole deal. There will only be distant cousins and not immediately family left behind.
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Old 05-16-2007, 02:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
For me, to be honest, I don't see any reason why I'd avoid Cuba and then go and sit my ass on the beach in Jamaica, which frankly came off considerably poorer and decayed than the worst slum I saw in Cuba.
I would personally take human rights into account as well, not just economic situation.
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Old 05-16-2007, 02:38 PM   #28
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I think demonization of Cuba means nothing considering how China is given a free pass and is probably worse than Cuba yet enjoys immense trading privileges. But $$$$$$$$ overrides human rights every time.
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Old 05-16-2007, 03:07 PM   #29
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Human what?
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Old 05-16-2007, 04:04 PM   #30
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Originally posted by butter7
It's okay Ormus, I think, for each country to have their own set of social structure. They really don't have to reach the American standard.

The world should be the way it is, and that's why, it's so colorful.

Ever consider to go to Africa?
Celebrate diversity, celebrate slavery
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