from the desk of Annette Walker

from the desk of Annette Walker

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cuba: Beyond Jay-Z And Beyonce's Trip

Colorado Committee on Africa and the Caribbean

                           CUBA:  BEYOND JAY-Z AND BEYONCE'S TRIP
                                                                                April 14, 2013

     After a week of news reports about a possible investigation into Jay-Z and Beyonce's trip to Cuba, their journey has been declared legal.  We should keep in mind that the call for the investigation was the handiwork of Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Bogart, both Florida-based Cuban exiles, both Republicans and members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
     Senator Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican Cuban-American who is often touted as a possible candidate for President, has appeared on many TV programs referring to Beyonce and Jay-Z as "hypocrites"
     This situation raises the issue of the irrationality and absurdity of the 52-year-old U.S. policy towards Cuba and the need to normalize relations with the nation located 90 miles from Key West, Florida.  Our irrational policy includes:   a) a trade embargo intended to make the people of Cuba so frustrated and distressed that they would rise up against the Cuban Revolutionary Government.  Not only has this policy failed, but since 1991 the United Nations General Assembly has passed annual resolutions condemning the U.S. trade embargo.
     Last year 188 of the 193 nations in the United Nations voted for this resolution.  Furthermore, a wide range of international diplomatic organizations have rejected the embargo.  Among these groups are CARICOM (Caribbean Community of nations); the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states (CELAC); the Summit of the African Union; and the Ministerial and Summit meetings of the Non-Aligned Movement.  
     b) categorizing Cuba as "a terrorist nation".  The Missile Crisis is 51 years behind us.  Unlike North Korea, a few Middle Eastern and other nations, Cuba has no missiles ready to launch.
          c)  Travel Restrictions    In violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law, the United States requires its own citizens to obtain a "special license" to travel to Cuba.  Violations may result in huge fines or event incarceration.  Hypocritically, the U.S. government allows its citizens to travel to China, Vietnam, the Middle East and other nations with which the U.S. has political differences.
     From 1953-1958 the 26th of July Movement (among them Fidel and Raul Castro, Che Guevara) led an armed struggle against the government of Fulgencio Batista, who was supported by the United States.  Among other things, the revolutionaries promised to improve the social and economic conditions of poor people. 
     These statistics are verified by United Nations agencies that conduct investigations and issue reports on all nations of the world.
                                      1959                        1999          Rank in Latin America
Literacy                           62%                         98%           #1
Life Expectancy              60 yrs                      76 yrs         #1
Infant Mortality rate        64/1000                  7.5/1000    #1
# Physicians                    3,000                       65,000        #1

     In 2012 the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) declared that Cuba is the only Latin American and Caribbean country without child malnutrition.  On the contrary at least 146 million children are suffering from malnutrition worldwide (Central Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and other Latin American and Caribbean nations).
     In 2009 the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) indicated that despite the fact that Cuba is a poor nation and has been subjected to the economic and trade embargo by the United States, Cuba is outstanding in the health and education of its people.
     Cuba has wiped out the infectious diseases and epidemics that plague other developing nations.  Cuba's public health system, with its comprehensive family doctor program and tertiary care facilities that deliver services on par with many developed countries, is recommended as a "model for the world" by the World Health Organization.
Please visit our website: