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US citizens in Cuba since arrests

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I was planning to go to Cuba in May but since the start of the "war" and Castro recently arresting dissidents, I don't think it's the best place to be right now. However, I would appreciate any comments/advice anyone has on the subject. I'm hoping that the whole thing blows over and I can try to go later in the year. Toronto Steve, if you see this message, can you please email me to my address if you still have it. If you do not, I still have yours so I can write to you. I would rather not put my address on this board. Thanks to everyone. Best regards, Maura

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    Hi Maura:
    While Castro has done some pretty reprehensible things in the last few weeks (the 80-100 arrests you refer to), bear in mind that unless you intend to meet and council political dissidents you should have no problem what-so-ever.

    As reported in the Miami Herald, and I quote....
    ---------------------------------
    "Most of those arrested have participated in activities organized by the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, including a gathering last week at the home of James Cason, the principal U.S. diplomat in Cuba.

    The (Cuban) government blamed Cason for the arrests and accused him of trying to ''forment the internal counter-revolution.'' The detainees, the government said, were linked to ''conspiratorial acts'' carried out by Cason, whom Fidel Castro has called ``a bully with diplomatic immunity.''".
    ---------------------------------

    As a tourist (I trust that is your intent) then I would go ahead and take your vacation and enjoy the many great aspects of Cuban culture and the Cuban people.

    Despite the accusations of the Bush government, Cuba is not in my mind a terrorist nation that could be considered a threat to the U.S.A. Many aspects of Cuba/U.S relations are still mired in cold-war based rhetoric and the commie in every closet mentality derived from that.

    Does Cuba need political change? Well of course it does. The argument in today's world seems to be on the method of that change. Fourty Years of embargo have failed to achieve that end. If anything, it provides a unifying commom enemy syndrome that the Castro regime exploits to its advantage. It is my personal belief that each time a tourist goes and interacts with local Cubanos, a little bit of "free thinking democracy" rubs off. And that trickle of thinking will one day become a flood. It might not happen till Castro dies, but for now please don't be afraid to travel and see this unique cultural experience.

    Use good common sense. Don't go stand in Parque Central near the Capitolo and spout off like you were at speakers corner in Hyde Park in London. That might be frowned upon. But if you are interested, do go to the park like I do. Take a bench and sit and listen to Cubans debate their own future. It is quite entertaining to say the least.

    Unfortunately Maura I have misplaced your email addy. I know you have contacted Keith for info about travels, so please feel free to email me directly and I'll provide whatever info you might need or want.

    Steve

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