Mar 112011

Can you believe there’s a country that forces its children work in factories? Wages are 44 cents an hour. Unions are illegal. Government enforces censorship with violence. Critics of the government are thrown in dungeons. Tax fraud, theft and smuggling are punishable by death. Newspapers, books, and the Internet are severely censored. Religious and ethnic discrimination are state-sponsored. Women suffer forced abortions and sterilization to control the population.

I’m not talking about Cuba here. I’m describing China.

The U.S. has no problems with Americans visiting China, our chief supplier of poisoned dog food and lead-tainted toys – not to mention off-the-scale pollution and BILLIONS of cases of human rights violations.

But Cuba? Americans can’t come here.

To be accurate, the U.S. does allow some Americans to visit Cuba. Cuban-Americans, reporters and politicians can apply for permission. Last year about 6,000 permits were issued to Americans to visit Cuba. Last year more than 200,000 Americans actually visited Cuba.

Thank you, Canada. While American Customs agents are hassling me over my nail clippers and tube of toothpaste, Canada Customs were allowing me to exercise my free choice. And Cuban Customs agents do NOT stamp American passports. Come on down!

All this is done on a wink-wink, nudge-nudge level. While I’d like to see Canada grow a pair and tell the U.S. to stop this sham embargo, I can understand why Canada doesn’t want to lose the revenue of a quarter of a million round trip vacation packages to Cuba every year.

The United States lies that this is a United Nations-backed embargo. Let’s see, the latest vote was 173 countries against the embargo, and 3 for it. Three. The United States, Israel, and the Marshall Islands. There’s a country called the Marshal Islands?

The Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bill Clinton love their Cuban cigars, but YOU can’t have any. So who’s really being punished?

The details hurt my head – admit it, they give you a headache, too. If we actually paid attention to who’s paying off whom, we’d all demand this absurdity to stop immediately. Or as American voters, we’d have to accept culpability for America’s unjust management of embargoes.

Whoa, that was way too many syllables. I’m on vacation, after all.

Hey Fidel, another mojito over here, por favor.

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