We respectfully disagree with the 10 Cuban Americans who paid for a full-page ad in the Miami Herald to highlight why they support “the policy of engagement” between Cuba and the United States. They say that they went to Cuba to confront the “myths that can only persist in the absence of first-hand knowledge.”
Lucky are those who can travel freely with an American passport and a visa from the Cuban government. Sadly, they had blinders on, so they did not see the poverty, misery and oppression.
Not all exiles are as lucky.
Good impartial journalists need not apply for a visa.
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Fabiola Santiago, a columnist for the Miami Herald, explains why she and others like her are not allowed to go to Cuba: “A journalist who points out … [Cuba’s] shortcomings and who gives voice to the repressed opposition is not welcomed.
“In Cuba’s eyes I’m the devil incarnate. … A tour guide or media handler would find it difficult to feed me the propaganda they routinely peddle to others,” Santiago wrote in a recent column.
If life in Cuba is so good, as these Cuban Americans say, then why are more Cubans leaving the island now than ever before? It is incomprehensible that a group of successful businessmen visit Cuba and there is not a word in their manifesto about dissidents like the Ladies in White, Antonio Rodiles, Sirley Ávila León and Jorge Luis Garcia Pérez “Antúnez.”
Are they myths?
Just over a year ago, Raúl Castro and President Obama agreed to re-establish diplomatic ties as a first step in an effort to normalize relations between the two countries.
The United States has done much to move the process along. Cuba is not willing to change in any way, shape or form. Expecting Castro to negotiate in good faith — that is the true myth.
Emilio Palomo, chairman, FACE, Facts About Cuban Exiles, Miami