http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba

http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/cu.html

http://www.netforcuba.org/ [Broken]

Here are some general sources on Cuba. Yes one of them is Anti-Castro (two if you automatically catagorize the CIA factbook as such but it seems rather impartial to me). I link the Net For Cuba site because it discusses the issues that people have with Cuba from the perspective of Cubans.
Cuba and Castro et al have been mentioned a number of times here and at least some people seem to indicate that they believe Cuba is a rather successful socialist experiment. These same members don't seem to have much idea why certain people feel such a strong desire to leave Cuba that they risk their lives to immigrate illegally to the US on make shift rafts. Ofcourse no one here has made a case for why they would want to do so either.

At least one member has stated that she will not accept any information from Net For Cuba since they are obviously anti-cuba and anti-castro. To this, if it is an issue, I would have to say that while they may be anti-castro they are not anti-cuba unless you would like to invoke Bush logic and say that any one who is anti-castro is anti-cuba. This ofcourse is Castro Logic as well. From browsing the website though I have not found them to be foaming at the mouth extremists. They appear to have legitimate grievences against the government regarding such things as Human Rights Violations, Suppression of the Freedom of Speech, Inequality, Suppression of Political Freedom, and the general tyranny that wont even allow them to leave the country. So if these people (the ones that are fleeing the country) are not to be believed then please explain to me why.

Please share your sources on Cuba and any experiences you may have with Cuba. If you think that the allegations of suppression and abuse are inacurate please provide sources of information to support this.
Lets also discuss the "success" of a country where it's citizens are purportedly abused, brainwashed, oppressed, and unable to even leave all owing directly to the actions and policies of the state.

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Related General Discussion News on Phys.org
I don't think there's going to be any argument on the suppression of freedom of speech one. Kind of a moot point.

alexandra
Good idea, TSA - let's talk about Cuba... I don't have time right this moment to start an intelligent response to what you have posted; I logged on because there is another pressing issue I would like us to talk about and want to start a thread on. I'll return to this discussion later, though...

Well, I found an interesting website.
Their obsession to discredit the Revolution with that uncontrollable migratory outflow had one of its most abhorrent episodes in "Operation Peter Pan" - whereby 14,000 Cuban children were deceitfully separated from their parents and taken to the United States. Parents were led to believe that the Cuban Government would remove their parental authority and the illegal exit of Cuban children to the United States was organized from that country.

I'm going to look into this peter pan thing some more.

alexandra
Let's commence the discussion proper, then:
TheStatutoryApe said:
I link the Net For Cuba site because it discusses the issues that people have with Cuba from the perspective of Cubans.
Pardon me, TSA - I'd like to make a slight modification to what you write here: the Net for Cuba site discusses the issue from the perspective of some Cubans - to be accurate, it discusses the issue from Cubans who are no longer living in Cuba, who are now living in Florida, in fact. They do not know what daily life in Cuba is like right now. The view of Cubans living in Cuba is as follows:
In June of 2002, the Cuban National Assembly, after a petition by the population, amended the Cuban constitution to make socialism irrevocable. More: http://cubamigo.org/webcuba/socialismo.html [Broken]

98.97% of the Cuban voters voted "Yes" for this amendment.
TheStatutoryApe said:
Cuba and Castro et al have been mentioned a number of times here and at least some people seem to indicate that they believe Cuba is a rather successful socialist experiment. These same members don't seem to have much idea why certain people feel such a strong desire to leave Cuba that they risk their lives to immigrate illegally to the US on make shift rafts. Ofcourse no one here has made a case for why they would want to do so either.
Let's talk numbers - how many 'refugees' are we talking about and, relatedly (to put it into perspective), what is the population of Cuba? From the CIA factbook, I see that the population of Cuba is numbered at approximately 11.3 million. I did a google search but can't seem to locate any figures of how many Cubans risk their lives annually to cross over to the 'paradise' of Florida.
TheStatutoryApe said:
At least one member has stated that she will not accept any information from Net For Cuba since they are obviously anti-cuba and anti-castro. To this, if it is an issue, I would have to say that while they may be anti-castro they are not anti-cuba unless you would like to invoke Bush logic and say that any one who is anti-castro is anti-cuba. This ofcourse is Castro Logic as well.
Touche, TSA. No, I'm not saying that because they are anti-Castro, they are anti-Cuba. I am saying that anyone that is for capitalism is anti-people, so it is my particular perspective that leads me to make the statement that people who want to bring unbridled naked capitalism to Cuba (which seems to me to be what these characters want to do) are anti-people and therefore ‘anti-Cuba’.
TheStatutoryApe said:
From browsing the website though I have not found them to be foaming at the mouth extremists. They appear to have legitimate grievences against the government regarding such things as Human Rights Violations, Suppression of the Freedom of Speech, Inequality, Suppression of Political Freedom, and the general tyranny that wont even allow them to leave the country. So if these people (the ones that are fleeing the country) are not to be believed then please explain to me why.
Ok, perhaps some of their grievances may be legitimate (we need to discuss this in more depth, obviously). But some initial comments/observations regarding:
* “Suppression of political freedom” ("If you're not with us, you're against us" - a quote from a world famous and the most powerful politician; quiz question: who said that?)
* "Suppression of Freedom of Speech": *cough* excuse me: from a citizen whose country lives by the Patriot Act?
* General tyranny: can't comment - this is too general. Perhaps I can point to the general tyranny of life in the USA if one cannot afford health insurance, if one does not have a job, if one cannot strike for better working conditions?
TheStatutoryApe said:
Please share your sources on Cuba and any experiences you may have with Cuba. If you think that the allegations of suppression and abuse are inacurate please provide sources of information to support this.
Lets also discuss the "success" of a country where it's citizens are purportedly abused, brainwashed, oppressed, and unable to even leave all owing directly to the actions and policies of the state.
The key word here is 'purportedly'. It seems to me one has to choose whom to believe: for every one ex-Cuban person who makes such claims, how many Cuban people do not? Note the results of the vote I mentioned above.

And if we really want to discuss Cuba and the miserable living conditions there, we'd better also have a look at the role the US has played in the embargo against Cuba. This role stretches way beyond merely an economic embargo that has lasted 44 years [Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._embargo_against_Cuba] [Broken] and which the US administration still insists on despite ‘overwhelming opposition’ from the ‘international community’ [Reference: http://www.g77.org/Speeches/110805.htm] [Broken].

Here, read the US administration’s attempts to sabotage the sharing of medical knowledge between medical workers:
Right now though, I'd like to talk about a pressing issue that has been on my mind for some time -- Cuba and the President's new restrictions on travel and trade.

Initially, we believed that the Bush administration's new restrictions on trade, travel and remittances would not seriously harm ordinary Cubans. That belief was wrong. On this last trip, I witnessed first-hand the impact these new regulations are having on the citizens of both Cuba and the United States. Family visits to Cuba from the U.S. are now limited to once every three years, even in the case of a sick or dying relative -- a ruling which I cannot begin to fathom. Even the definition of family has been curtailed to include only immediate family members, excluding cousins, uncles, aunts, etc... Moreover, new limits on remittances prevent Cubans from obtaining the hard currency they need to buy essential goods, such as soap, clothing and food.

On a personal level, one that impacts our work directly, American doctors are no longer allowed to teach their Cuban counterparts during surgical exchanges. The impact of these intensified restrictions is apparent, and they are simply cruel and inhumane.

http://www.disarm.org/newsroom/bobsblog/index.html
Infomed - Old Computers Find Second Life in Cuba
By Kellie Schmitt | Mercury News

When Palo Alto handyman Dudley Lewis sees old computers on the Peninsula, he thinks of all the potential they could have -- in Cuba.

"Here I am, running into people all the time with old computers,'' he said.

"I started collecting computers and I would get truckloads.''

Lewis is part of a group of local volunteers who gather valley leftovers and donate them for the Cuban medical community.

"I was really shocked at how many lives you could save with such little equipment,'' he said.

The Santa Clara-based group, USA-Cuba InfoMed, formed nine years ago to support Infomed, a health information system in the island country. The goal was to donate computers to help develop a network for medical information and databases.

The group selected Cuba because it was impressed with the outreach medical work done by Cuban doctors, such as staffing South African hospitals and treating Chernobyl victims.

Lewis was collecting computers on his own to donate to local non-profit groups when he heard about USA-Cuba InfoMed and decided to focus his efforts there. Since he had volunteered time with Central-American medical missions, he thought the Cuba program would be a good fit.

<snip>

However, as the Infomed network grows in Cuba, the demand grows for newer and more powerful computers. That has become a problem because the Bay Area group's license limits the power of the computers it can donate, Wald said. Many of the computers it receives are too advanced to comply with the government requirements, he said.

As USA-Cuba InfoMed lobbies Congress to adjust the limits, it's also working on a different mission: connecting Cuban doctors with educational resources in the Bay Area.

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alexandra
TheStatutoryApe said:
Lets also discuss the "success" of a country where it's citizens are purportedly abused, brainwashed, oppressed, and unable to even leave all owing directly to the actions and policies of the state.
TSA, your own source (Wikipedia), as well as other sources of information, points out the the last claim made above - "unable to even leave" - is false if you mean that Castro is preventing them from leaving:
In April 1980, over 10,000 Cubans stormed the Peruvian embassy in Havana seeking political asylum. In response to this, Castro allowed anyone who desired to leave the country to do so through the port of Mariel. Under the Mariel boatlift, over 125,000 Cubans migrated to the United States. Eventually the United States stopped the flow of vessels and Cuba ended the uncontrolled exodus. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba
Note, it was the US government (the altruistic, pro-humanitarian and thus opposite to Castro, democratic, humane government) that stopped the flow of vessels. How intriguing...

EDIT: More relevant information from Wiki on the above point (emphasis my own):
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 dealt Cuba a giant economic blow. This led to another unregulated exodus of asylum seekers to the United States in 1994, which was slowed to a trickle of a few thousand a year by the U.S.-Cuban accords. Now it is increasing again although at a far slower rate than before [16]. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba

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alexandra
An inaccuracy in Wiki:
Cuba remains one of the few countries in the world, and the only one in the Western Hemisphere, to deny the International Committee of the Red Cross access to its prisons. [30]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba
Not true!
US bars access to terror suspectsThe US has admitted for the first time that it has not given the Red Cross access to all detainees in its custody.
Reference: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4512192.stm
Hypocrisy, no?

and missiles, there are good and bad revolutions. The American
and French Revolutions were good. The Cuban Revolution is bad.
It must be bad because so many people have left Cuba as a result
of it.

But at least 100,000 people left the British colonies in
America during and after the American Revolution. These Tories
could not abide by the political and social changes, both actual
and feared, particularly that change which attends all
revolutions worthy of the name: Those looked down upon as
inferiors no longer know their place. (Or as the US Secretary of
State put it after the Russian Revolution: The Bolsheviks sought
"to make the ignorant and incapable mass of humanity dominant in
the earth.")

The Tories fled to Nova Scotia and Britain carrying tales of
the godless, dissolute, barbaric American revolutionaries. Those
who remained and refused to take an oath of allegiance to the new
state governments were denied virtually all civil liberties.
Many were jailed, murdered, or forced into exile. After the
American Civil War, thousands more fled to South America and
other points, again disturbed by the social upheaval. How much
more is such an exodus to be expected following the Cuban
Revolution? -- a true social revolution, giving rise to changes
much more profound than anything in the American experience. How
many more would have left the United States if 90 miles away lay
the world's wealthiest nation welcoming their residence and
promising all manner of benefits and rewards?
bill blum has written probably the definitive work on the cuban revolution, in killing hope:
http://members.aol.com/bblum6/cuba.htm [Broken]

edit: here's some more, an article about cuban political prisoners... in the united states
President Bush has assured the world repeatedly that he will not heed the many calls to lift the Cuban trade embargo unless Fidel Castro releases what Washington calls "political prisoners". Bush tells us this while ten Cubans sit in US prisons, guilty essentially of not being the kind of Cubans George W. loves. If a political prisoner can be defined as one kept in custody who, if not for his or her political beliefs and/or associations would be a free person, then the ten Cubans can be regarded as political prisoners.
http://members.aol.com/bblum6/polpris.htm [Broken]

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Art
fourier jr said:
bill blum has written probably the definitive work on the cuban revolution, in killing hope:
http://members.aol.com/bblum6/cuba.htm [Broken]
edit: here's some more, an article about cuban political prisoners... in the united states
http://members.aol.com/bblum6/polpris.htm [Broken]
A good article. Makes for an interesting read. When one sees what the CIA does one wonders do they not qualify as a terrorist organisation several orders of magnitude greater than any other on the planet?

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Cuba does have a rather high prison population (compared to Europe and Canada) with a rate of .297

However this is rather small compared to the US rate of .686 (highest in the world)
http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/r188.pdf [Broken]

It seems a lot of countries that are more democratic than cuba have higher prison populations.

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I don't have much time at the moment so I will just hit a few of the comments made so far. First off I should probably say that I do not agree with everything the US does and I have not at all argued that I think the US's policies in regards to Cuba are "good" or any such thing.

Alexandra said:
Pardon me, TSA - I'd like to make a slight modification to what you write here: the Net for Cuba site discusses the issue from the perspective of some Cubans - to be accurate, it discusses the issue from Cubans who are no longer living in Cuba, who are now living in Florida, in fact. They do not know what daily life in Cuba is like right now.
They are people who lived there and had a problem with the government. They are also the ones who support the individuals who want to leave, have left, and stay there trying to make a difference. The fact that they are not all there RIGHT NOW makes no difference. You've never even been to the US yet have no compunction about decrying the standard of living and state of freedom in the US to those people who actually live there.

Alexandra said:
The view of Cubans living in Cuba is as follows:
And Saddam Hussein was voted in by a 100% vote. "Votes" taken in countries where only one political party is legally allowed to exist I find a bit suspicious, sorry.

Alexandra said:
Let's talk numbers - how many 'refugees' are we talking about and, relatedly (to put it into perspective), what is the population of Cuba? From the CIA factbook, I see that the population of Cuba is numbered at approximately 11.3 million. I did a google search but can't seem to locate any figures of how many Cubans risk their lives annually to cross over to the 'paradise' of Florida.
I'll apologize here for the mistake. Cuba, in conjunction with the US, allows for a minimum of 20,000 immigrants per year on top of those who have relatives in the US already under the http://www.ailf.org/ipc/policy_reports_2003_CubanMigration.asp [Broken]. There is an increasing demand to have the figure of 20,000 raised and the US has not done so. I'm still looking for anything on immigration from Cuba in general(not just to the US). This still shows a desire by many to leave Cuba in any event.
As for the number that leave by sea per year the number is approximately 2,000 and rising according to the wiki article.

Alexandra said:
Touche, TSA. No, I'm not saying that because they are anti-Castro, they are anti-Cuba. I am saying that anyone that is for capitalism is anti-people, so it is my particular perspective that leads me to make the statement that people who want to bring unbridled naked capitalism to Cuba (which seems to me to be what these characters want to do) are anti-people and therefore ‘anti-Cuba’.
Ah... I see. So you don't think they are anti-Cuba but anti-people. So I guess we can safely say that they are against the US and the UK and any other place where there are people? They must hate themselves too unless they aren't people.
Pro-Capitalism = Anti-People is a rather weak argument and one for one of the threads already in existence on the subject.

Alexandra said:
The key word here is 'purportedly'...
Which is why I added it. I started this thread to give you and smurf and whom ever else the opportunity to show us that Cuba isn't as bad as people make it out to be.

Alexandra said:
It seems to me one has to choose whom to believe: for every one ex-Cuban person who makes such claims, how many Cuban people do not? Note the results of the vote I mentioned above.
Very true you do have to be careful who and what you believe. You may also want to note the number of executions of persons who spoke out against the government in Cuba in the past and the persons IN Cuba who have voiced dissenting views and have been thrown in prison for it. "Ex Cubans" though they may be they are more importantly in a position to not worry about speaking their minds.
If you look at the Net For Cuba site you will find a long list of independant journalists (along side a long list of ones in prison) and a list of humanitarian organizations (all illegal by the way) who try to carry the dessenting voice. There is also that list of Cuban political prisoners who were people IN Cuba protesting the government. So we see what happens to people who express their dessenting views in Cuba and why there aren't many who do.

Alexandra said:
And if we really want to discuss Cuba and the miserable living conditions there, we'd better also have a look at the role the US has played in the embargo against Cuba.
Is there an embargo with any other country aside from the US?
I'm not here to argue US policies that I likely wouldn't agree with myself. The points I have been making so far are in regards to the oppression of the people in Cuba. I haven't touched on their economics and how well off these people are economically at all. If you want to say that Cuba only violates human rights because of the US then I don't think there is much point in carry on this discussion.

Alexandra said:
Note, it was the US government (the altruistic, pro-humanitarian and thus opposite to Castro, democratic, humane government) that stopped the flow of vessels. How intriguing...
Again I would like to point out that I have not held the US up as any sort of paragon of rightousness. Perhaps you feel making it seem so helps your argument but it really doesn't get us anywhere in our discussion.

Alexandra said:
An inaccuracy in Wiki:
Not true!
Hypocrisy, no?
What hypocracy? Do you think that Wiki is somehow a shill for the US government or something? I may be an American but I'm not trying to say that America has never done anything wrong.
I would also like to point out that there is a vast difference between the US's one exception (I am not supporting only pointing out it has only been one) versus Cuba never letting Red Cross into any one of it's two hundred some odd prisons.
Again I would like to suggest that you not treat my points or sources as pro-america rehtoric that needs to be torn apart but actually discuss the issues. Saying "Well the US wont let the Red Cross into Gitmo" does nothing to further the discussion.

I'll need to come back to this later.

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Alexandra said:
Ok, perhaps some of their grievances may be legitimate (we need to discuss this in more depth, obviously). But some initial comments/observations regarding:
* “Suppression of political freedom” ("If you're not with us, you're against us" - a quote from a world famous and the most powerful politician; quiz question: who said that?)
Political rehtoric which is more or less meaningless.
Here in the US (since you are bringing up the US president) we have more than one political party and none, as far as I know, are illegal. There's even a communist party here. There are plenty of political organizations that operate without having to be politically alligned with the current political party in office. The laws in place regarding such organizations having nothing to do with political affiliation and what party supports them but only with their activities as an organization. There are several that the president probably does not like and says things against but he has no power to illegalize or disband them just because they don't conform to his political ideology.

Alexandra said:
* "Suppression of Freedom of Speech": *cough* excuse me: from a citizen whose country lives by the Patriot Act?
You're joking I hope. Do you know how my life has changed at all since the PATRIOT Act went through? Not one iota. I have no fear what so ever that advertising a dissenting view point (some seem to think that I wouldn't but I do trust me) will land me in jail or any other such thing. When I turn on the radio I hear people discussing politics and saying what they think about the president and the republican party and even the conservatives still voice critical opinions of the admin. I can watch Bill Maher, or any other of the countless comedians, make fun of the president and the administration. Speakers and famous persons publicly condemn the admin regularly and even go so far as saying he hates black people or hates america or is a nazi. Cindy Sheehan camps out outside of the president's ranch and the White House and calls Bush a murderer.
Do you see any reason why I should think there is any lack of freedom of speech here in this country? I live here and I don't see any reason.

Alexandra" said:
* General tyranny: can't comment - this is too general. Perhaps I can point to the general tyranny of life in the USA if one cannot afford health insurance, if one does not have a job, if one cannot strike for better working conditions?
I have a job that provides health insurance and it's not a high level or high paying job either. The law states that most employers must provide health insurance for most employees. If I don't have a job I find a new one. I've never had trouble with that not even in places where people complain that there aren't enough jobs. Most of the sorts of people here who can't find jobs are probably the sort that would likely wind up in UMAP labour camps and treated like the scum of the earth if they lived in Cuba.
People here in the US DO strike for better working conditions. CUBA on the other hand is a place where workers CAN'T strike for better working conditions. In the US there are labour unions which aren't tied directly to the party in office where in Cuba there is only one labour union and it is only allowed to exist because it is alligned with the party. Personally I'd think you would be very unhappy about the idea of a labour union only being allowed to exist because it is tied to a particular political party. Aside from that here in the US if you are not satisfied with your job you can find a new one and if your employer doesn't treat you properly and provide a safe working environment there are several government agencies and non-profit organizations that you can contact to report them. There are free clinics, some run by the government and others run by non-profit organizations, for people who are poor and you're even more likely to find even more help if you happen to be female or a minority.

I live in Miami
we have about a million cubans here
with more coming every day

the rafters are now largely a myth, today most come in speed boats
run by smugglers paid huge sums by family members here
sure there were rafters but thats not how most get in NOW
that is in addition to the 20,00 legals every year

Miami is now a third world city with lowest income and highest poverty rates in the USA for a major city
pay rates are low and droping
coruption is a local sport and dead people voting is recorded in court cases

45 years of unrestricted imigration has been a disaster

the Mariel boatlift allowed castro to empty his prisons and mential wards
and dump his criminals and nuts on Miami in mass thats why it was STOPED
but Miami's murder and crime rates toped the nation for many years after the Mariel boatlift as a direct result of it

if that werenot bad enuff some of the semi-lawabideing ones are the worst rightwing fascist types who have terror bombed and killed people over minor political disputes
even in cuba at it's worst they didnot kill people for speaking out
in Miami they DO
now castro is a commie rat but the Miami cubans are as bad or worse
when it comes to free speach

weather is nice here but pairadice it ain't

Ray B said:
and dump his criminals and nuts on Miami in mass thats why it was STOPED
I think that the shear numbers was the main problem. The Link I posted in an earlier post was to an immigration law site which states that only about 10% of those immigrants which came over in that exodus had criminal records or were mentaly ill. That is still a pretty decent chunk of them though.

Ray B said:
even in cuba at it's worst they didnot kill people for speaking out
Yes they did.

alexandra
ray b said:
I live in Miami
we have about a million cubans here
with more coming every day
the rafters are now largely a myth, today most come in speed boats
run by smugglers paid huge sums by family members here
sure there were rafters but thats not how most get in NOW
that is in addition to the 20,00 legals every year
Miami is now a third world city with lowest income and highest poverty rates in the USA for a major city
pay rates are low and droping
coruption is a local sport and dead people voting is recorded in court cases
45 years of unrestricted imigration has been a disaster
the Mariel boatlift allowed castro to empty his prisons and mential wards
and dump his criminals and nuts on Miami in mass thats why it was STOPED
but Miami's murder and crime rates toped the nation for many years after the Mariel boatlift as a direct result of it
if that werenot bad enuff some of the semi-lawabideing ones are the worst rightwing fascist types who have terror bombed and killed people over minor political disputes
even in cuba at it's worst they didnot kill people for speaking out
in Miami they DO
now castro is a commie rat but the Miami cubans are as bad or worse
when it comes to free speach
weather is nice here but pairadice it ain't
Thank you for this interesting information, ray. I have read some of the stuff you say here elsewhere, but it is good to have it confirmed by someone living there. Bill Blum's article on Cuba that fourier jr linked to previously on this thread discusses the ex-Cuban terrorist groups based in Miami:
Although there has always been the extreme lunatic fringe in the Cuban exile community (as opposed to the normal lunatic fringe) insisting that Washington has sold out their cause, over the years there has been only the occasional arrest and conviction of an exile for a terrorist attack in the United States, so occasional that the exiles can only assume that Washington's heart is not wholly in it. The exile groups and their key members are well known to the authorities, for the anti-Castroites have not excessively shied away from publicity. At least as late as the early 1980s, they were training openly in southern Florida and southern California; pictures of them flaunting their weapons appeared in the
press.{39} The CIA, with its countless contacts-cum-informers
amongst the exiles, could fill in many of the missing pieces for the FBI and the police, if it wished to. In 1980, in a detailed report on Cuban-exile terrorism, The Village Voice of New York reported:
Two stories were squeezed out of New York police officials ... "You know, it's funny," said one cautiously, "there have been one or two things ... but let's put it this way. You get just so far on a case and suddenly the dust is blown away. Case closed. You ask the CIA to help, and they say they aren't really interested. You get the message." Another investigator said
he was working on a narcotics case involving Cuban exiles a couple of years ago, and telephone records he obtained showed a frequently dialed number in Miami. He said he traced the number to a company called Zodiac, "which turned out to be a CIA front." He dropped his investigation.{40}
The Cuban exiles in the United States, collectively, may well
constitute the longest lasting and most prolific terrorist group in
the world. It is thus the height of irony, not to mention hypocrisy,
that for many years up to the present time in the 1990s, the State
Department has included Cuba amongst those nations that "sponsor
terrorism", not because of any terrorist acts committed by the Cuban
government, but solely because they "harbor terrorists".
More: http://members.aol.com/bblum6/cuba.htm [Broken]

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alexandra
Smurf said:
It seems a lot of countries that are more democratic than cuba have higher prison populations.
It seems so, Smurf - perhaps we need to put the word 'democratic' in inverted commas, then? Or maybe we'll just have to accept that 'democratic' is an ironic word, that it does not mean what we commonly hold it to mean.

alexandra
TheStatutoryApe said:
First off I should probably say that I do not agree with everything the US does and I have not at all argued that I think the US's policies in regards to Cuba are "good" or any such thing.
Just as I thought, TSA – I credit you with an independent mind and integrity, even though we argue about so many things in our discussions. But I must add, at this point, that it is impossible to evaluate Cuba without discussing successive US administrations’ policies towards it. Discussing US policies and actions in Cuba is central to understanding how Cuba came to be what it is today; I’m sure you’ll agree as our discussion proceeds. The thing is, Cuba’s ‘socialist experiment’ was bound to be affected by these policies and actions, and we have to take this complexity into account otherwise the whole discussion is pointless.
TheStatutoryApe said:
They are people who lived there and had a problem with the government. They are also the ones who support the individuals who want to leave, have left, and stay there trying to make a difference. The fact that they are not all there RIGHT NOW makes no difference.
I immigrated from another country years ago. I can remember what it was like then, but haven’t a clue what daily life is like there now. I also hesitate to make extrapolations from my past experiences because the world has changed so much since the 1990s. Also, while I lived there I had particular prejudices which I would still hold and which would still colour my view of that society. I think the people who leave Cuba have particular prejudices too (I’m just assuming here) and that these colour their views on life in Cuba. From what I have been reading, much has changed in Cuba ever since the collapse of the ‘eastern bloc’; things have had to change, otherwise Cuba could not have survived given the continuing US-stipulated embargo against the country.
TheStatutoryApe said:
You've never even been to the US yet have no compunction about decrying the standard of living and state of freedom in the US to those people who actually live there.
True, but I speak on behalf of a particular class of people living in the US, and I assume that the people writing what I read do live there and know what they are talking about. I have tried my best to find information about daily life in Cuba written by people actually living in Cuba (rather than ex-Cubans). This has turned out to be rather problematic: a lot of information is written in Spanish, a language I do not know (my bad, not the Cubans’). So it seems if I want to research this topic properly, I will have to teach myself Spanish (a long-term project).
TheStatutoryApe said:
And Saddam Hussein was voted in by a 100% vote. "Votes" taken in countries where only one political party is legally allowed to exist I find a bit suspicious, sorry.
And yet, while by no stretch of the imagination was Saddam Hussein ‘loved’ by his people, it seems to me that many Cubans actually do admire and like their leader (but as I said, I cannot understand Spanish so the amount of information I have about this topic is limited). Here’s a thought: if Castro is so hated, how come all CIA and Miami-exile backed attempts to assassinate him have failed? The Bill Blum link points out that the reason the ‘Bay of Pigs’ attempt to overthrow Castro failed was that it depended on the people rising against him on mainland Cuba, and they didn’t: they fought for him. Just some musings…
TheStatutoryApe said:
This still shows a desire by many to leave Cuba in any event.
In context of world events: while the eastern bloc still existed, Cuba’s economy was supported. From the readings I have done, it seems that living conditions became infinitely more difficult after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its allies because of the ongoing economic blockade. It is no wonder that more Cuban people decided to leave; as ray_b points out, however, many of them didn’t actually find the ‘land of milk and honey’ they expected to in the US.
TheStatutoryApe said:
As for the number that leave by sea per year the number is approximately 2,000 and rising according to the wiki article.
But, also according to the Wiki article, rising “at a falling rate”.
TheStatutoryApe said:
Ah... I see. So you don't think they are anti-Cuba but anti-people. So I guess we can safely say that they are against the US and the UK and any other place where there are people? They must hate themselves too unless they aren't people.
Pro-Capitalism = Anti-People is a rather weak argument and one for one of the threads already in existence on the subject.
I concede that this is a weak argument. I already stated that this is based on my particular, subjective perspective, my understanding of what capitalism is. At least I admitted this
TheStatutoryApe said:
I started this thread to give you and smurf and whom ever else the opportunity to show us that Cuba isn't as bad as people make it out to be.
Yes, and I was really happy to see you’d started the thread. I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this topic at length, and I am hoping that our discussions will reveal that Cuba under Castro, and its version (stunted as it is for obvious reasons) of ‘socialism’ is not as bad as some people make it out to be.
TheStatutoryApe said:
Very true you do have to be careful who and what you believe. You may also want to note the number of executions of persons who spoke out against the government in Cuba in the past and the persons IN Cuba who have voiced dissenting views and have been thrown in prison for it. "Ex Cubans" though they may be they are more importantly in a position to not worry about speaking their minds.
If you look at the Net For Cuba site you will find a long list of independant journalists (along side a long list of ones in prison) and a list of humanitarian organizations (all illegal by the way) who try to carry the dessenting voice. There is also that list of Cuban political prisoners who were people IN Cuba protesting the government. So we see what happens to people who express their dessenting views in Cuba and why there aren't many who do.
No comment at this stage, TSA – I must research that site, much as I’m loath to. I’ll reserve this part of our discussion until I’ve looked at what they write more carefully, then.
TheStatutoryApe said:
Is there an embargo with any other country aside from the US?
Yes, as a result of pressure from the US government.
The commando raids were combined with a total US trade and credit
embargo, which continues to this day, and which genuinely hurt the
Cuban economy and chipped away at the society's standard of living.
So unyielding has the embargo been that when Cuba was hard hit by a
hurricane in October 1963, and Casa Cuba, a New York social club,
raised a large quantity of clothing for relief, the United States
refused to grant it an export license on the grounds that such shipment
was "contrary to the national interest".{14}
Moreover, pressure was brought to bear upon other countries to
conform to the embargo, and goods destined for Cuba were sabotaged
:
machinery damaged, chemicals added to lubricating fluids to cause rapid
wear on diesel engines, a manufacturer in West Germany paid to produce
ball-bearings off-center, another to do the same with balanced
wheel gears -- "You're talking about big money," said a CIA
officer involved in the sabotage efforts, "when you ask a
manufacturer to go along with you on that kind of project because
he has to reset his whole mold. And he is probably going to
worry about the effect on future business. You might have to pay
him several hundred thousand dollars or more."{15}
More: http://members.aol.com/bblum6/cuba.htm [Broken]
TheStatutoryApe said:
I'm not here to argue US policies that I likely wouldn't agree with myself. The points I have been making so far are in regards to the oppression of the people in Cuba. I haven't touched on their economics and how well off these people are economically at all. If you want to say that Cuba only violates human rights because of the US then I don't think there is much point in carry on this discussion.
We have to discuss US policies, else we cannot understand Cuba. It’s not fair to exempt the US government from these discussions, TSA; I hope you’ll agree, else we may as well just stop talking now.
TheStatutoryApe said:
Again I would like to point out that I have not held the US up as any sort of paragon of rightousness. Perhaps you feel making it seem so helps your argument but it really doesn't get us anywhere in our discussion.
True, TSA – I’m afraid I am not always able to eliminate the undertone of anger I feel when discussing US foreign policy. I should not let this emotional undertone cloud our discussions. I’ll try to be more dispassionate, ok?
TheStatutoryApe said:
What hypocracy? Do you think that Wiki is somehow a shill for the US government or something?
Oops, my mistake, TSA. I don’t think I communicated what I was trying to say too clearly there. I do not think that Wiki is a shill for the US government at all :tongue2: I linked to two different sources there and, in a spirit of indignation, pointed out that Wiki was actually wrong on this point. I said it very badly, though.
TheStatutoryApe said:
I may be an American but I'm not trying to say that America has never done anything wrong.
I would also like to point out that there is a vast difference between the US's one exception (I am not supporting only pointing out it has only been one) versus Cuba never letting Red Cross into any one of it's two hundred some odd prisons.
Again I would like to suggest that you not treat my points or sources as pro-america rehtoric that needs to be torn apart but actually discuss the issues. Saying "Well the US wont let the Red Cross into Gitmo" does nothing to further the discussion.
I'll need to come back to this later.
As I mentioned earlier, I do not believe you are using pro-American rhetoric. I’m sorry if many of my comments have come across as if I believed this. I will try to reduce the undertones of indignation that creep in to my responses in future.

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a few more facts
the major source of funding to cuba is miami cubans
they hate castro but send massive amounts of cash to family members still on the island
this cash has two effects it supports cuba and is a drain on the local econ
esp when you add in all the other people from centrail and south america who are doing the same for family in their own countrys
local one way drain of many billions has a disastereus effect on miami

CIA and the worst nut rightwing cubans are a on going problem
spin offs lead to the crack cocaine explosion in the 1980's
CIA needed cash to fund the contras so they smuggled ton loads of cocaine and dumped the cocaine thru their local cuban buddys from the bay of pigs days
it was funny to watch but the nation suffered as the price of cocaine
droped from 50k to under 20k a key overnight and supplys became unlimited as suddenly every older cuban with bay of pigs / CIA connections began to try to sell the stuff
suddenly a yuppie high price drug became cheap and every where
btw this is not a legend I knew people [now dead] who fixed the CIA aircraft
and complained about the white power all over the inside and its numbing effects

in addition to the effects on the users, the local cop coruption, turf wars
and other effects were very bad and long lasting

Art
Wiki is not reliable in regard to Cuba. As shown on a previous thread some rightwing dorks were screwing around with the information on the site for fun.

alexandra
ray b said:
CIA and the worst nut rightwing cubans are a on going problem
spin offs lead to the crack cocaine explosion in the 1980's
CIA needed cash to fund the contras so they smuggled ton loads of cocaine and dumped the cocaine thru their local cuban buddys from the bay of pigs days
it was funny to watch but the nation suffered as the price of cocaine
droped from 50k to under 20k a key overnight and supplys became unlimited as suddenly every older cuban with bay of pigs / CIA connections began to try to sell the stuff
suddenly a yuppie high price drug became cheap and every where
btw this is not a legend I knew people [now dead] who fixed the CIA aircraft
and complained about the white power all over the inside and its numbing effects

in addition to the effects on the users, the local cop coruption, turf wars
and other effects were very bad and long lasting
This is an interesting aspect of the CIA's operations as it shows the agency's utter callousness concerning human lives. I found a 1988 PBS documentary titled "Guns, Drugs & the CIA" which looks at the CIA's involvement in international drug trafficking. This is relevant to our discussion on Cuba because it shows that criminal nature of some members of the anti-Castro lobby:
The most controversial chapter in this report focuses on connections between the CIA-backed Contras in Nicaragua and drug dealers. Ramon Milian Rodriguez, a Cuban-American convicted of laundering drug money for the Colombia drug cartel, tells how he funnelled $10 million in drug profits to the Contras. He alleges he was solicited to do so by a CIA operative claiming to report to Vice President George Bush. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/archive/ A full transcript of that program, or the online video of it, can be accessed here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/archive/gunsdrugscia.html alexandra Health Care in Capitalist and Socialist Systems It may be informative to start off with some comparative health statistics. I thought comparing this information may be useful, not only in discussing Cuba but also in comparing capitalism with the Cuban version of ‘socialism’. Both sets of statistics come from the World Health Organisation. Best Capitalist: USA Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 75.0/80.0 Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2002): 67.2/71.3 Child mortality m/f (per 1000): 9/7 Adult mortality m/f (per 1000): 139/82 Total health expenditure per capita (Intl$, 2002): 5,274
Total health expenditure as % of GDP (2002): 14.6
Figures are for 2003 unless indicated. Source: The world health report 2005
Reference: http://www.who.int/countries/usa/en/
Cuba
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 75.0/79.0
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2002): 67.1/69.5
Child mortality m/f (per 1000): 8/6
Adult mortality m/f (per 1000): 137/87
Total health expenditure per capita (Intl $, 2002): 236 Total health expenditure as % of GDP (2002): 7.5 Figures are for 2003 unless indicated. Source: The world health report 2005 http://www.who.int/countries/cub/en/ Note the relative efficiencies of the two systems. And now a note about priorities and altruism (which, according to some, is foreign to ‘human nature’): Today, according to Cuban government statistics, Cuba has over 71,000 doctors [58], with 20,000 health workers in Venezuela, and 5,000 more spread around the world in over 60 additional countries, as it views such missions an important part of its foreign policy. They offer medical services to 85,154,748 people; 34,700,000 in Latin America and the Caribbean and 50,400,000 in Africa and Asia. Cuba has sent doctors to underdeveloped nations and educated foreign doctors since the early 1960s. It dispatched physicians to help Nicaragua and Peru, then hostile to Cuba, recover from earthquakes. [59] Cuban doctors played a vital role in the health-care system of Sri Lanka in the 1980s, particularly in the war-torn North-east province, when a crisis in that country's education system limited the number of doctors coming out of universities. Cuba has also given treatment on the island to more than 14,000 children and 4,000 adults damaged by radiation in Chernobyl, which is actually more than the rest of the world combined has done for the victims during that catastrophe. And during the UN's general assembly in 2000, Fidel Castro offered the United Nations 6,000 doctors for service in the third world. "But one of Castro's most respected achievements is the establishment of a comprehensive health system producing one doctor for every 170 people, compared to 188 in the US and 250 in the UK. Teams of Cuban doctors assess applicants for eye surgery before sending patients to Havana on special flights from ten Caribbean countries and more than 15 Latin American nations. On August 20, Cuba achieved what is almost certainly a world record - performing 1,648 eye operations at 20 hospitals in a single day." More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba - and all this despite the obstacles put up against Cuba by various US administrations! Compare the above attitudes and actions with the way in which (as posted earlier in this thread) the US actively stops US doctors from teaching Cuban doctors medical/surgical techniques and the way severe restrictions are placed on what medical computer technology can be donated to Cuba. alexandra Is the failure of ‘socialism’ inevitable, or is it engineered? Thanks again for another excellent Bill Blum link, fourier jr; he says it so clearly, doesn’t he? I just wanted to emphasise a part of this article (though all of it is excellent) as an explanation of why the development of Cuba’s socialist project has been stunted: And so it went ... reaching a high point in April of the following year in the infamous CIA-organized invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Over 100 exiles died in the attack. Close to 1,200 others were taken prisoner by the Cubans. It was later revealed that four American pilots flying for the CIA had lost their lives as well.{9} The Bay of Pigs assault had relied heavily on the Cuban people rising up to join the invaders,{10} but this was not to be the case. As it was, the leadership and ranks of the exile forces were riddled with former supporters and henchmen of Fulgencio Batista, the dictator overthrown by Castro, and would not have been welcomed back by the Cuban people under any circumstances. Despite the fact that the Kennedy administration was acutely embarrassed by the unmitigated defeat -- indeed, because of it -- a campaign of smaller-scale attacks upon Cuba was initiated almost immediately, under the rubric of Operation Mongoose. Throughout the 1960s, the Caribbean island was subjected to countless sea and air commando raids by exiles, at times accompanied by their CIA supervisors, inflicting damage upon oil refineries, chemical plants and railroad bridges, cane fields, sugar mills and sugar warehouses; infiltrating spies, saboteurs and assassins ... anything to damage the Cuban economy, promote disaffection, or make the revolution look bad ... taking the lives of Cuban militia members and others in the process ... pirate attacks on Cuban fishing boats and merchant ships, bombardments of Soviet vessels docked in Cuba, an assault upon a Soviet army camp with 12 Russian soldiers reported wounded ... a hotel and a theatre shelled from offshore because Russians and East Europeans were supposed to be present there ...{11} These actions were not always carried out on the direct order of the CIA or with its foreknowledge, but the Agency could hardly plead "rogue elephant". It had created Operation Mongoose headquarters in Miami that was truly a state within a city -- over, above, and outside the laws of the United States, not to mention international law, with a staff of several hundred Americans directing many more Cuban agents in just such types of actions, with a budget in excess of$50 million a year, and an arrangement with the local press to keep operations in Florida secret except when the CIA wanted something publicized.{12}

<snip>

The commando raids were combined with a total US trade and credit
embargo, which continues to this day, and which genuinely hurt the
Cuban economy and chipped away at the society's standard of living.

http://members.aol.com/bblum6/cuba.htm [Broken]

What undoubtedly was an even more sensitive venture was the use of chemical and biological weapons against Cuba by the United States. It is a remarkable record.
More: http://members.aol.com/bblum6/cuba.htm [Broken]
This whole article is riveting reading; like reading about some kind of nightmare, really. It is disgusting, inhuman, inexcusable – not even for profits, Messieurs Capitalists!

Note: all Blum’s statements are referenced.

More of the same:
Washington's strategy to undermine Cuba
Protect terrorists, preach human rights

By Gloria La Riva
While the Bush administration is attempting to obtain the release of four anti-Cuba terrorists from a Panamanian jail, it is at the same time trying to force through a resolution against Cuba in the upcoming UN Human Rights Commission.

Since the 1959 revolution, over 3,400 Cubans have been killed by U.S.-supported terrorism, by invasion, blockade, bombings and assassination. Cuba is the victim of human rights violations, not the perpetrator. It is the U.S. government that belongs in the dock for its countless anti-human crimes around the world.

But shame never stopped Washington from hypocritically accusing its victims of its own genocidal crimes.
More: http://www.workers.org/ww/2002/cuba0321.php

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TheStatutoryApe said:
I would also like to point out that there is a vast difference between the US's one exception (I am not supporting only pointing out it has only been one) versus Cuba never letting Red Cross into any one of it's two hundred some odd prisons.
Woah! Woah! Cuba may not let the Red Cross into all of their prisons all the time, but if you want to state that Cuba has never let the ICRC into any of their prisons you're going to have to back that up!

Smurf said:
Woah! Woah! Cuba may not let the Red Cross into all of their prisons all the time, but if you want to state that Cuba has never let the ICRC into any of their prisons you're going to have to back that up!
It's in the Wiki article Smurf. If you dispute this then please back your dispute up.
The Commission also adopted a resolution on the situation of human rights in Cuba, by a roll-call vote of 21 in favour to 17 against, with 15 abstentions, in which it invited the Personal Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report to the Commission on the current status of the situations addressed in the resolutions of the Commission concerning the situation of human rights in Cuba.

Cuba said everyone knew that the real cause of attempts to stigmatise Cuba at the Commission was Cuba's unyielding rebelliousness against the world's imperialist unjust order and because of its unflinching defence of its independence and sovereignty. Cuba would not get tired of fighting; would not surrender; and would never make concessions.

http://www.unhchr.ch/huricane/huricane.nsf/view01/01C0DBBA49D9D58BC1256FE4002A7D0C?opendocument
Cuba has consistentlt refused to let anyone from the UN Human Rights Commission visit the country for an inspection.

http://www.icrc.org/Web/Eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/57JPJK?OpenDocument
This article discusses how the ICRC was allowed into Cuban prisons shortly before and shortly after the revolution but was denied there after. Since then the ICRC was eventually allowed back but I have found no mention of admittance to the prisons. So far though the only other trips by the ICRC to a Cuban prison I have found are for Guantanamo.
HRW are the ones that claim the ICRC has been denied access to Cuban prisons. There is however a Cuban Red Cross which keeps in contact with the ICRC and presumably investigates the prisons.

http://www.cubafreepress.org/art2/cubap000626.html
This article claims that the ICRC has not been back to Cuba since 1989.
It also points out that the UN Special Rapporteur was never allowed to visit Cuba in the time that he held this office between 1994 and 1998. Most up to date the commissioner of the UN Human Rights Commission(mentioned above) has been denied visitation to Cuba for the last two years.

Here are the reports from the UN Special Rapporteur...
http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/FramePage/Cuba En?
Since he was never allowed to visit these are the sources of information he claims...