Friday, May 05, 2006

Baby, you're a rich man

Forbes estimates Fidel is worth $900 million. Not bad for a dictator having to deal with an embargo, huh? At least he shares it with his people. And by "his people" I mean himself, and the Holllywood stars that visit to faun all over him. As for the "little people" who inhabit the island with him, well, he did give them all rice steamers or something a few years ago.

Babalu Blog has an open letter to ENCASA, a group of Castro apologists who are asking Bush to remove the sanctions against Cuba. The letter, by [edit- to correct attribution ]Henry Gomez , outlines 8 stipulations necessary to warrant a lifting of the sanctions. Stipulations that Castro would never agree to because, well, look how rideculous they are:

1. That all Cuban political prisoners and prisoners of conscience be released immediately and granted an unconditional amnesty.
2. That all Cubans be allowed to move freely within the country.
3. That the existing system of apartheid-like segregation be eradicated immediately, specifically that all Cubans be treated as equals to their foreign counterparts, such as “prominent scholars and artists” from abroad.
4. That all Cubans be granted access to all sources of uncensored information, whether in broadcast, print, or Internet immediately.
5. That all Cubans be granted the freedom to express their opinions freely without fear of repercussions.
6. That all Cubans be allowed to travel abroad freely.
7. That all Cubans be allowed to live, work, and seek a better life for themselves as they see fit.
8. That all Cubans be allowed to elect their leaders through verifiable, transparent democratic elections as allowed for in Cuba’s last legitimate constitution, the Constitution of 1940.

The problem is, you give these people an inch, they're going to ask for a mile.

The open letter brings up another issue that gnaws at my craw; the tourist business in Cuba:

Additionally, ordinary Cubans are not permitted to openly mingle with foreigners so as to avoid their being “corrupted” by outsiders. We denounce anyone from any country that visits Cuba as a tourist. We feel that it is cruel and inhumane to enjoy beaches and other recreational facilities that are off limits to Cuba’s own citizens which have essentially become a slave labor force.

That, in addition to the fact that the tourist dollars do nothing but prop up the inhuman elements of Cuba - namely, Castro.