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Jason Holliston
Thursday, October 23, 2003  
Vacationing In Communist Paradises

The Senate today passed a bill that cuts off all funding for the enforcement of the travel ban to Cuba -- a ban going back over 40 years to the Kennedy administration. Its future is still in doubt, though, with President Bush signaling that he'll veto any bill containing the provision. He should let it pass. If economic sanctions and travel bans don't weaken a regime enough to help it fall in the first several years, then it doesn't end up doing what it was supposed to do. After this long, it's time to let Americans decide for themselves if they want to travel there and spend their hard-earned money.

Take China, for example. Ever since the early 70's, when relations were normalized, China has come into the fold of the internal community gradually, but steadily. You can barely call them Communist any longer -- they're more of a totalitarian semi-capitalist state. It's certainly not attempting to move towards the "worker's paradise" that Mao preached. Certainly they have major human rights issues, and their "free markets" are a pale comparison to the United States, but they're getting there, slowly. Compared to the atmosphere of the Cultural Revolution, they've come a long way, baby.

With Cuba, you have a similar situation. We know that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Communism isn't going to sweep the world like we were afraid of during the midst of the Cold War. Its experiment failed spectacularly, and there's no going back. So, what's the goal? I believe it to be trying to help the people that live there, though good old capitalism (they're already loosening up a bit), and letting American culture and example do the dirty work. Fidel will die someday, and we and the Cuban people will be much better served if when that day comes, Cubans have a good idea of their choices. Attempting to isolate them only takes our example out of the mix.

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