[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Dissidents Want Travel Restrictions Eliminated (UPDATED)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Dissidents Want Travel Restrictions Eliminated (UPDATED)

H/T Phil Peters:

AFP released a report on Saturday indicating that four leading Cuban dissidents have released a statement which suggests that they would be in favor of lifting travel restrictions to Cuba in order to facilitate the delivery of aid and money to dissidents.

I don't have the link to the original AFP article, but Phil has provided a partial translation, which was also posted on Western Hemisphere Policy Watch.

UPDATE: Here's the link to the AFP article (in Spanish).
UPDATE 2: The above link is broken. Try this one from Cubanet.
The statement was signed by four dissidents who represent the full spectrum of dissident opinion: Martha Beatriz Roque, of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society, Elizardo Sanchez, of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, Vladimiro Roca, spokesman of the Todos Unidos group, and Gisela Delgado, leader of the Independent Libraries Project.

The dissidents called for errors in the program to be corrected so that “a greater amount of aid may reach the pro-democracy activists.” They said it is “very important to achieve greater efficiency in the use of those funds.”

“We believe,” they said, “that one possible way to achieve that would be to eliminate a series of existing restrictions on the sending of aid and travel to Cuba, which don’t at all help the struggle for democracy that we are carrying out inside our country.”

The statement, read by Vladimiro Roca on Radio Marti, was also critical of the media for its over-emphasis of the GAO report highlighting the inefficiencies in the USAID program to send goods to dissidents. Roca was quoted as saying that the dissidents lamented that the paragraph of the GAO report which considered the delivery of items such as crab meat, Godiva chocolates, sweaters and jackets as excessive was being used by "some U.S. media to place doubt on the credibility and integrity of certain organizations and individuals (which have provided aid)...in suspicious coincidence with the Cuban regime's interests and its repressive outlets."

Anyone else thinking of the Miami Herald report? The dissidents said it, not me.

About the usefulness (or lack thereof) of the travel restrictions: it's obvious that there has to be a better way to get goods and other critical items delivered more efficiently to the dissidents. How much of this is a result of the travel restrictions, and how much of it is a direct result of the regime's own restrictions? I think it's safe to say that even if we were to lift all travel restrictions, it's doubtful that the regime will suddenly let goods flow uncontrolled through the island. I wonder what the dissidents' opinion is of this.

For the record, I think the restrictions pertaining to the frequency of family visits is excessive. One visit a year seems like a better, more humane policy. Keep in mind that I'm not advocating a full lifting of the restrictions. Besides, people find ways to get around the restrictions all the time, the island's resorts are filled with tourists, and what good has it done? The potential impact of American tourists on the island is frequently overhyped, in my opinion.

Still, do the dissidents have a point? The battle needs to be fought from within. Whom better than these brave dissidents to receive the aid that they deserve to accomplish the goal.

1 Comments:

Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

How much of this is a result of the travel restrictions, and how much of it is a direct result of the regime's own restrictions? I think it's safe to say that even if we were to lift all travel restrictions, it's doubtful that the regime will suddenly let goods flow uncontrolled through the island. I wonder what the dissidents' opinion is of this.

Don't ask so many pesky questions. You're supposed to pretend that lifting travel restrictions is going to magically change the nature of a stuborn regime that has been in power for going on 48 years.

3:15 PM, November 27, 2006  

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