Wednesday, April 27, 2011

If ignorance were bliss, everyone would travel to Cuba

If ignorance were bliss, everyone would travel to Cuba
By Alberto de la Cruz on 04/27/2011 – 5:50 am PDT -- Headlines

According to an informal survey taken by a group made up of Minneapolis
travel agencies, 75% of Americans would at least consider traveling to
Cuba if travel restrictions were lifted. The keyword here is "informal,"
since the survey was unscientific and conducted on social media sites
such as Facebook and Twitter. Nevertheless, I personally believe that
number is pretty accurate due to the ignorance that permeates America in
regards to Cuba.

While many Americans are familiar with Cuba's beautiful beaches, and
many have read at one time or another that Cuba is a quaint tropical
island paradise "unspoiled" by capitalism and filled with music loving,
cigar smoking, street dancing, Santeria practicing friendly natives, few
Americans know that Cuba is a giant slave plantation run by a brutal and
murderous dictatorship. While many Americans have heard of Cohiba
cigars, few have ever heard the names Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, or Jorge
Luis Garcia Perez "Antúnez," or Sara Martha Fonseca Quevedo. And while
many have heard of Cuba's vaunted "free" healthcare and exceptional
education, very few Americans know that is all a fantasy paid for by the
freedom and blood of the Cuban people.

The pro-Castro advocates in this country have done an impressive job
through manipulation of a complicit media in convincing many Americans
ignorant of Cuba's reality that everything on the island is wonderful.
Education of the American people has been sorely lacking in regards to
this topic, and no doubt this informal survey illustrates that reality.
If I were ignorant and thought Cuba was as wonderful and perfect as the
media portrays it, I would want to travel there too.

Many Americans want to visit Cuba, survey finds
Tourists visit Havana's Jaimanitas neighborhood.

Tourists visit Havana's Jaimanitas neighborhood. Most Americans are
barred from visiting Cuba, except for narrowly defined purposes.
(Aldalberto Roque / AFP / Getty Images)

Most Americans would at least consider visiting Cuba if all travel
restrictions were lifted, according to an informal survey by Travel
Leaders, a Minneapolis-based network of travel agencies. While not
scientific, the survey of nearly 1,000 Americans adds fuel to the debate
over travel to the Communist-ruled island.

The results were released Tuesday, just days after the U.S.
Treasury Department issued new guidelines to implement loosened
restrictions on travel to Cuba that President Obama announced in
January. Even with the new rules, most Americans are barred from
visiting the island, except for narrowly defined purposes.

The online survey of 953 consumers, which relied heavily on social
media such as Facebook and Twitter and was conducted March 10 through
April 10, asked: "If all travel restrictions are lifted, how interested
would you be in traveling to Cuba?"

Among respondents, 20.2% said "I'd go immediately"; 33% said "I
might consider going"; 21.8% said "I would go as soon as I believed Cuba
was ready for Americans"; and 23.2% said "I have no interest in going."
The rest? About 1.7% said they had already been to Cuba.

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