Castro's Useful American Students
Malcolm A. Kline, May 23, 2012
For years we have reported on professors who brag that they have done
something worthwhile by taking their students to Cuba. For example in
2006, we reported that "Gustavus Adolphus College is ahead of the curve
"We have funded 'Teaching for Social Justice' trips to Tanzania, Cuba
and Ireland," Professor Eric Eliason, who teaches at GAC, reported to a
panel at the Modern Language Association's annual convention. Dr.
Eliason did not share the Civil Liberties primers that Fidel Castro
"The Cuban government targets those who go there so if you're from
Oklahoma and have never been to Cuba, you'll believe what your professor
tells you," Tania Marstrapa, a research professor at the Institute of
World Politics, said at the Heritage Foundation on May 18, 2012. "Then
they come back and say they met people on the street who say they have
great health care."
"They haven't: They've met plants."
Like Eastern European Soviet satellites of old, whose archives she has
studies, Mastrapa points out that the Cuban government engages in
"disinformation campaigns utilizing media, clergy and Western university
professors to make anti-communism unfashionable."
"Visiting students stay in tourist areas," says Vanessa Lopez, a
research associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies
at the University of Miami. "They don't see the poverty."
Lopez has visited the island nation since Fidel Castro famously ceded
power to his brother Raul and argues that the alleged changes there have
even been cosmetic, at best. "Many people in the media and in some
academic circles are saying that the changes that Raul Castro has
institute in the past six years have led to democratic changes," Lopez
avers. "This is simply not the case."
She notes that there are 181 private sector activities permitted under
Raul Castro. Budding entrepreneurs, for example, can shine shoes, refill
cigarette lighters, be bathroom attendants, and "be a dandy, whatever
"Raul Castro has governed with severe brutality since 2006," Lopez
claims. "This is not a man who is less of a dictator than his brother."
As part of the presentation during which both ladies spoke, the Heritage
Foundation featured audio messages from human rights activists from
within Cuba. "Parallel to this important awakening of consciousness of a
people who resist and refuse to continue living without freedom, the
forces of the Castro-communist dictatorship have increased their
repressive measures against the Cuban people and pro-democracy
activists, beating women, threatening to sexually assault them and their
small children, surrounding their homes, and confining them to house
arrest, proving that they are very fearful of public actions out on the
streets as part of the We Are All Resistance and The Streets belong to
the People campaigns," black Cuban activist Jorge Luis Garcia Perez
Antunez said. "All these repressive politics are increasing, while
various governments and personalities who consider themselves democratic
are openly flirting with our repressors, whether it is by visiting the
island to meet with our victimizers and ignoring the victims, or by
attempting to legitimize the Castro regime in international forums."
"Meanwhile, it is alarming that while activism and Resistance is
increasing inside Cuba and while repression also increases, the
government of Mr. Barack Obama has exercised a political agenda of
approach and relaxation with the regime of Havana, instead of
strengthening the support for the Resistance."
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.