Sousa: Cuba Travel A Right
It's easy to see why anyone would think that a recent U.S. Senate bill to end the ban on Americans traveling to Cuba is a guise to loosen the embargo against the island.
It's true that the measure is more than what it seems, but not for the reasons one might think. Instead, its hidden depth says more about us as a nation than it could ever say about Cuba.
There are many reasons to empathize with arguments on both sides of the Cuba issue. For all their differences, however, the arguments often have one thing in common: they are laden with emotion. There's retributive anger on one side, misguided compassion on the other.
And through the decades of debate, we've been so focused on Cuba that we've overlooked our own principles, trapping them in the abyss that lies between opposing passions, like a child forgotten in the heat of a messy divorce. In more than 40 years of discourse, I've heard only one argument solid enough to justify the impediment of legitimate business activity and an individual's natural-born inclination to explore the world.
Interestingly enough, it came from our very own government, which decades ago successfully argued that it had the right to deny its citizens trade and travel as a matter of national security.
The current policy ultimately derives its legal powers from the Trading with the Enemy Act and President Harry Truman's declaration in 1950 of a national emergency to stem the threatening spread of communism. As a result, any justification for the embargo and travel ban centers on whether Cuba poses a threat sufficient enough to curtail our rights.
Obviously I was disappointed in Sousa's opinion. In an ideal world, we should be able to travel where we'd like. And for the most part, we do. But actions matter. If travel to a country mainly serves to fill the pockets of oppressors, we have a moral obligation to not contribute to the filling of said pockets. That's my opinion, naturally...and your mileage may vary.
I wrote a letter to Ms. Sousa stating my reasons for supporting the travel ban. It was a respectful letter but one that left no doubt where I stand. Here's how I concluded my letter:
I would rather be wrong and be on the side of innocent men, women and children who are deprived of their freedoms every day of their lives, than be right for technical reasons and help support tyrants and murderers. The United States is the only country that stands up for the Cuban dissidents, their families and their cause. Do we want to lose that distinction? Do you want us to lose that distinction?
In light of the Clueless Seven's visit, can there be any doubt about which side we should be on? BTW, haven't received a response from Ms. Sousa.