Cuba not a hardline regime as some people think
To the Editor:
I read Nancy McGowan’s letter to the editor that appeared in the Sept. 29 Finger Lakes Times, and I felt compelled to write to correct her assertion that Cuba is a hardline regime.
I have lived in Havana, Cuba for the last seven years, and I can say that I have a good understanding of the country, its history, and its reality. Since 1959 the perception of Cuba has been articulated by a community of hardline Cuban exiles in Florida, known by some as the “Miami regime.” This group lobbies to drive U.S. politicians to enact draconian measures against the people of Cuba. For over 60 years Cuba has suffered under an embargo.
Cuba provides free health care and education for its citizens, creating housing for everyone, incentivizing entrepreneurs (known as cuenta propistas), assisting other countries with medical aid (Italy during the coronavirus crisis) and allowing for open and public criticism of the government.
This has been done despite enduring one of the harshest sanctions imposed by one country on another. The relentless drive to punish Cubans by the Miami regime denies the citizens of Cuba much needed medicine and supplies. Cuba accepts supplies from Venezuela because U.S. ships prevent food and other items from arriving from other countries. China, Russia, and other countries are beginning to fill the void that Cubans so desperately want the U.S. to fill: that of partner and friend. While Cuba suffers greatly under the sanctions, other countries such as Saudi Arabia act with impunity regarding human rights violations. The irony of this situation is almost farcical.
Even if the U.S. does nothing toward the Miami regime, it can take steps that build relationships with Cuba without damaging its commitment to its notion of freedom. It can condemn the deceased terrorists Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles. Bosch and Carriles claimed responsibility for the bombing of Cubana flight 455 on Oct. 6, 1976, which killed 73 people, mostly Cubans. Yet, despite admitting their complicity these two figures were celebrated as heroes in Miami. Such is the hatred espoused by the Cuban community in Miami.
Most Cuban immigrants arrived in the U.S. through the Mariel boatlift, which occurred between April and October of 1980. While there certainly have been individual attempts to reach Florida via rafts, etc., it is important not to forget that this is only one part of the immigration story.
THOMAS V. MILLINGTON