Is a "stick and a paper bag" good enough for your own children? You certainly have it in your power to make it so. Do you? To free your dear children of materialism do you deny them all luxuries in order to promote asceticism in them and disdain for material things? Or, more to the point, do you deny your dear self anything at all? Of course you don't. You and your children enjoy the best and nothing but the best. But the worst is good enough for Cuba's children because they can have fun "with nothing."
It is every parent's wish to give the best that they can to their children. The parents of the Cuban child who must play with a stick and paper bag for want of toys would gladly lavish all the toys in the world on their child if they could. But in your opinion, their unrealized materialism might spoil that child and is best not realized, whereas your own fully realized materialism is not in the least deleterious to yourself or to your children.
This dualism is easily explicable in light of the fact that you regard Cubans as noble savages who exist to give the world an object lesson on the joys of uncivilized living, sans food, clothes, medicines and toys, sans everything but the baubles that you chose to give them in order to degrade and exploit them as your ancestors degraded and exploited the aboriginal peoples a century ago.
The foregoing comment and my reply appeared on Cubamania, a Canadian forum dedicated to Cuba whose commenters share personal experiences gleamed from their trips to the island, which some of them claim to have visited on more than 50 occasions. There are also a couple of actual Cubans on the board who remain their 24/7 countering the endless stream of Communist propaganda. To assist their Anglo supporters, offering orientation when their own pro-Castro instincts fail to rise to the magnificence of Castro's thought, are so called "journalists" from Granma, including the head of CubaDebate and columnist for Juventud Rebelde, Rosa Miriam Elizalde (aka Mambito), who was recently outed by Peter Pérez, one of the ace anti-Castro commenters. If this is even conceivable, the Australians, British and Canadians (the new "ABC" Alliance) who moor at Cubamania are even more canine in their defense of Castro than his American acolytes because they have benefitted more fully from the perquisites with which the regime rewards its foreign apologists. Cuba is their playground, where they can cavort in unwholesome ways with the natives, howsoever young: there they can feel (and act) like "ugly Americans" without being exposed at home for what they really are.
What struck me most forcefully about them was their disdain for Cubans (the ones on the island even more than those in Miami). No one who degrades a people and exploits their misery can be supposed to feel any real sympathy for them, although they are forever telling us how much they love Cuba and how generous they have been with their Cuban "friends." Not only do they reject the label of "exploiters" but actually claim that it is the Cuban people who "exploits" them. One even candidly admitted that "El cubano es tu amigo hasta el último favor" [A Cuban is your friend only until your last gift.] "Friend" is a euphemism and so is "gift," of course. The commenter went on to elaborate on the ways that Cubans "exploit" foreigners:
"One of the travesties of today's Cuban culture is that it has created an environment where it is morally acceptable to steal, lie and cheat. Like they all went to politician school (sorry, couldn't resist). There are those who do it to just enough to get by, and then there are those that can often be ruthless, their sense of entitlement astounding and their greed unlimited. Like it's their divine right to steal and cheat anyone in their path.
Some of the forms of "exploitation" listed at length include theft from inbound luggage at the airport; ridiculous tariffs on goods set by customs inspectors who want to see the tourists "bleed money"; taxi drivers who don't turn on meters or sell 80 cent beers for $2.00; sales clerks and waiters who give tourist "special prices" which are higher than the "normal price" and pocket the difference; Cubans who ask them to buy milk for their babies or "invent a tragedy" in order to "extort" them for money; brand name water bottles refilled with tap water, and, of course, fake cigars.
My reaction was that I was glad to learn that Fidel Castro has not killed completely the entrepreneurial spirit of the Cuban people. Nothing that they described seemed to me in the least exploitative. The goods that are being sold to the tourists have been stolen from the Cuban people by Castro and they are right to squeeze the tourists for as much as they can. All of this seems triffling stuff to me, which tourists wouldn't even notice if they were visiting any other country but Cuba (where they expect to be the exploiters not the "exploited"). Certainly, none of this is exclusive to Cuba and tourists probably would be taken for a great deal more if they visited any other country because in Cuba the means are few and the expectations lower.
And yet, despite this so-called "exploitation" on the part of Cuban nationals -- not to mention the predations of the Castro regime on their pocketbooks via a bogus exchange rate, which is the only brief that they have against their otherwise accommodating Castroite hosts -- most of them have travelled to the island more than once, indeed the average must be at least a dozen times per individual. Apparently, they are not satisfied with being "exploited" once. They want to be "exploited" over and over again.
Of course most deny that such a thing as sex tourism exists to any great extent, and the few who do acknowledge it insist that they themselves have so such motivation. Here's a typical comment (with my reply) from someone who denies the very reason for Canadian tourism while offering his own prescription for survival in Castro's Cuba without it:
"[Cubans] don't need to prostitute themselves or their family members to live and eat. Just work extra hard, minimize your participation in black market activity and stay out of politics. Most Cubans I know do just that and are more content than the average North American I know, plus the quality of family life is way superior."
Let me see if I understand you. No, let me re-phrase that: I will never understand you; but I can at least release your words from the cozy prison of euphemisms in which you have confined them. Cubans, you allege, are "more content" than North Americans. Is that right? They are content to live in the world's oldest dictatorship, which is run like the Castros' own private corporation. Strange, but I don't see North Americans risking their lives in the world's most dangerous waters for the slim chance of sharing the Cubans' "contentment." In fact, the traffic is all in the other direction. Poor deluded souls! If only they could realize how "good" they have it in Cuba. But you, of course, are far more deluded than they are. For you claim to have found this socialist paradise and yet deprive yourselves of the "contentment" of living there full-time. Why it's so easy. All you have to do is '[j]ust work extra hard, minimize your participation in black market activity and stay out of politics." So, in other words, become more of a slave to the fascist-communist corporate state; forgo the chance to eat as much as you can by not dealing in the black market; and renounce the idea of democracy or the Rule of Law. Yes, that is certainly a fulfilling life which conduces to nothing but "contentment." Certainly, starvation and misery do bring families closer together, but you don't have to be in Cuba to practice self-denial. And, of course, it would be a conscious decision on your part, not one force upon you by the government. Don't be content to envy the Cubans their lifestyle, but adopt it yourselves. It's a lot easier for you to adopt their lifestyle than it is for them to adopt yours (as most of them would if they could). If only it were possible for you to change places with them!
On Cubamania it is not the foreigners who are considered the chief culprits in the sexual exploitation of Cuban children by foreign pedophiles. Nor is the Castro regime held accountable for promoting, sanctioning and abetting such exploitation. Who, then, is responsible for perpetuating it? One (who claims to be married to a Cuban) enlightens us:
"I blame the parents of the [Cuban] children for OFFERRING their children up.....that's completely different than a child who gets molested in Canada. One is where the parents are CONTRIBUTING to the exploitation of their own children.....a child molested in Canada is not being offered up by their parents. Maybe some [Cuban] parents shouldn't be so damn quick to offer up their children as a means to bring in extra dollars for the family."
And there you have it: innocent tourists to Cuba -- for the most part unaccompanied middle-aged males on a pilgrimage to the "Virgin of Charity," no doubt -- bravely resist the enticements of "Lolitas" and "Lolitos" who are literally pressed on them by their rapacious parent-pimps. And why do these beneficent Canadians place themselves in such a compromising situation? Because of love -- the purest kind. For, you see, they have assumed the "White Man's Burden" of teaching the natives the rudiments of civilization. Consented, yes, to be exploited shamelessly by them, even lured into sin, to redeem them from the moral ennui which their carefree and contented lives foster.
We shall leave the denizens of Cubamania where we found them, admiring ominously a little Cuban boy playing with a stick and a plastic bag...
What the foreign pedophiles don't seem to know, or discount because of their insatiable and unnatural lust, is that their every move in Cuba, their every interaction with Cubans, is noted and recorded in the DGI Archives in case it should become necessary to blackmail them (as hundreds have already been blackmailed, even in the highest echelons of the Canadian government). When Cuba is free these records will be made public immediately and used to bring to justice all who have violated the sanctity of Cuban children. Even those who are not prosecuted will still be afraid to set foot in Cuba ever again because foreigners will never again enjoy in our country the rights of conquerors or slavemasters.