Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Havana, 2005

It seems as though California Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and I share something in common.
We both like to visit Cuba. However, my visit did not include socializing with CIA traitors and assassins.
My visit did also not include a four hour limo ride with Fidel Castro.

Why did I go to Cuba? Curiosity, basically.

I wanted to go see what the United States government was so afraid of.

As it turns out, the US government has nothing to fear.
Fidel Castros Cuba is a complete disaster. I doubt they could defend themselves militarily if they had to.
Most citizens cannot get their hands on simple staples like vitamins.... or toilet paper!
Castros Communism has destroyed the Cuban economy.
Most people have almost no income and most are dependent on the government for housing and food.
He has infantilized the nation and they have no future.
There are no inventions and no progress being made there.

Most buildings are in a terrible state of disrepair. There are American cars from the 1950s still cruising the streets.... out of necessity . The few industries that the Cubans do well.... like sugar and cigars, have fallen to pathetic levels.
Occasional brownouts shut things down, as the Cuban power grid cannot support everything it needs to.

I read a travel guide before leaving and as requested, I brought an extra suitcase filled with vitamins, tampons, condoms, aspirin, toilet paper, razors and other hard-to-get items for the Cuban people.

There was a funny moment in Mexican customs where I had to explain why I had 20 boxes of tampons in my suitcase... I told them they were gifts for my friends in Cuba... that said it all.
No further explanation was necessary.

I enjoyed my time in Cuba. I would gladly go back, but it is difficult to see people suffering like that.
For all their personal struggles, the Cuban people are very warm and friendly.
I'll never forget the first night I stayed there... in a Casa Particular on Avenida De Los Presidentes.
I was hanging out the window of the 14th floor room, and looking down at the young Cubans on the street. They were playing a radio and singing and dancing in the park ... without a care in the world.
I've been in over 40 countries and I had never seen such a carefree, happy, and open people like the Cubans.
But that is because they don't know what they are missing. They have never experienced real freedom. They have no hope or expectations for a better life, so they tend to live in the moment.

As one of my Cuban friends told me, even if Castro lifted the travel ban... most Cubans could never leave because they couldn't pay to get out of Cuba. They have no real money. Cuban pesos are worthless.

I know this travel could get me in trouble, but I don't care.

The US government has no right to tell me what countries I can and cannot visit.
Once you start doing that, you are no better than the commies.
The Soviet Union, Communist China, and Communist Cuba.... they get to tell their people where they cannot travel.

I am an American. I will go wherever I want.

I'm an Oathkeeper. The order denying me that travel right is an illegal order, and I will not follow it.