Last year Castro’s Cuba also received 200,000 visitors from the U.S.—legally. Global Travel Industry News reports that another 200,000 Americans visited Castro’s fiefdom illegally. Every euro, peso, lira, pound, dollar, etc. spent in Cuba ultimately lands in the pocket of the regime.
The anti-“embargo” mantra stresses that a flood of rich Western tourists will magically smother Cuban Stalinism, whereupon the island nation will quickly mutate into a bigger (and more historic and picturesque) Cozumel. This reasoning seems to go something like this: Rewarding and enriching the KGB-trained and heavily armed guardians of Cuba’s Stalinist status-quo will magically convert them into instant opponents of that Stalinist status quo.
As two decades of such tourism have amply proven, any trickle of foreign currency that reaches the Stalinist regime’s subjects (primarily from prostitution) is offset a thousand-fold by the millions ($2.4 billion last year, for instance) crammed into the regime’s military and secret-police coffers.
Nowadays the so-called U.S. embargo merely stipulates that the Castro regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products; no Export-Import Bank (U.S. taxpayer) financing of such sales. Enacted by the Bush team in 2001 this cash-up-front policy has kept the U.S. taxpayer among the few in the world not screwed and tattooed by Fidel Castro. But for how much longer?
President Obama’s executive order will also boost cultural, scientific, religious and educational travel with Cuba. The Clinton administration also made a fetish of fostering such travel, so if Castro is singing “Happy Days are Here Again!” we can’t blame him.
The deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department by an enemy agent resulted precisely from all that “sharing” by the Clinton team with Stalinist Cuba. During the Clinton administration Ana Belen Montes, a champion of cultural and educational exchanges with Cuba in which she partook abundantly, was promoted to head the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Cuba division. She was also awarded the “Certificate of Distinction,” the third-highest honor awarded by any U.S. Intelligence agency.
Thus honored under Clinton, Montes today serves a 25 year prison sentence for "Conspiracy to Commit Espionage." On September 20th 2001 (under Bush), Ms. Montes was arrested by the FBI as a Castro spy and accused of the same crime as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. After conviction, only a plea bargain allowed the Clinton Administration’s top “Cuba Expert” and champion of “people-to-people” contacts to escape the fate of the Rosenbergs. The Montes case is widely considered the most damaging espionage case since the "end" of the Cold War.
These Clinton-era "people to people" exchanges with Cuba got so doggone chummy that in the mid 90's Mobile, Alabama and Havana became official "Sister Cities." In 2003 Castro’s “cultural ambassador” to Mobile, Oscar Redondo, was nabbed by the FBI as a Castro espionage agent and booted from the U.S. For years he’d labored diligently as one of Ana Montes’ top lieutenants.
In May 2003, 14 more Cuban spies were uncovered and booted from the U.S. Most had worked under diplomatic cover while gleefully “culturally-exchanging” with their American hosts.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.