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#21 MarkC

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 01:11 PM

Yep, it’s an awful choice to have to make. Imagine being Cuban by birth, you flee your country in search of freedom and improsonment, leaving your family behind... Then you live the American dream and prosper, how do you decide on whether to assist those loved ones you left behind or not...?

Fact is, Che Guevara himself arrested my dad prior to the Bay of Pigs, or my dad would have perished in that battle. I asked him recently “What was the worst place they put you at in your 5 years incarcerated?” His response was “Isla De Pinos” (the communists have a new touristic spin on the cuban alcatraz calling it “Isla de La Juventud” now. My mom interrupted and said “What about “La Cabaña” (which is where the mass executions took place)? My dad responded “Well at least at La Canaña, I knew my hell was about to be over...”

So, needless to say as I drive through the Dallas streets and I see a youngster proudly displaying a Che Guevara sticker on the bumper of his car, its hard not to run them off the road. They at least get a honk and a middle finger.

MC
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#22 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 03:38 PM

Mark,

I can understan your view in some ways. But this embargo or limiting US Citizens from travel does NOT hurt the ones responsable there. It only hurts the common folk. They are the ones who do without. If you think Fidel and Raul are sitting on the toilet without paper to wipe, or are worried about where thir next dos of BP meds is going to come from..you are very wrong. When I went I took an overnight bag and then 2 large suitcases filled with toilet paper, diapers, a large assortment of OTC medicines, and RX meds that were donated by Doctors. Most of this went to a neighborhood clinic and the rest to people without.

I am a US Army Vet, I have children who have served and are serving, thier Dad still serves and extended family all who are or were military. We have lost friends and family in the wars that have been fought, my stepfather was tortured by the Jampanese, but we do not blame the military, not those for whom the fight is for...we do not boyctt the military!!!

The Cuban people deserve better then what they have, I agree, but saying that I can't go only hurts the people more The more outsiders who can see some of the "real" conditions, the better. I have been off the touris trail and visited with families living in apartments with no roof, sleeping on mols covered beds...or the lady living on a second floor with 1/2 her place caved in to the first floor and the rest hanging by a thread.

There are many Cuban Americans who support mine and others views You can stick to your own views, but thier is no need to verbally attack and wish ill upon those who do not agree.
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#23 cvchief

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 05:13 PM

Embargoes don't hurt the big dogs directly, but the pressure to the economy as a whole sometimes does. It does appear it has not been as effective as they might have hoped with Fidel. Of course how much MORE money might Fidel have had without the embargo. Of course may enough other people could have gotten rich to upset the balance a little? The little people always suffer though. I, personally, do have a problem with picking and choosing what laws to obey or not obey. If a law or policy is unwise or unjust, the people should rise up and see it changes. If those who disagree simply ignore and evade the law, we set an example that to me seems unsustainable. I may be getting a little deep here but it is that whole social contract thing.

I guess I might ask: do you go to Cuba to help or visit primarily? If it is an act of civil disobedience, have you ever wrote a letter or anything about it to anyone? If no one respects the law and everyone just does what one pleases, then the laws get worse and more and more get ignored. Then who gets to decide which law is really supposed to be obeyed and which are more like suggestions?
Like:
MLK marching = Civil disobedience
Al Capone selling liquor = not civil disobedience


Yea, I did get a little philosophic there didn't I? Feel free to ignore me......

You have to admit though, Che really did well in the branding. Makes an exciting looking teeshirt for kids who know nothing about Cuba.
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#24 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 06:18 PM

Chief, That is a funny story. My original intent for my first visit was purely selfish. I was going to have some cosmetic surgary performed. When that fell thru due to my health history I decided to make the trip anyway. At that point I had become online friends with someone who did alot of legwork for me and he again went to work finding a neighborhood clinic and asking what thier needs were. I am an RN by trade and with some friends and some medical contacts I turned it into a mini humanaterian trip. I have become friends with some nurses and a couple of doctors and we stay in touch. Now to the other question..actually YES I have written and emailed congressmen and one of the committies that is dealing with the embargo. My daughter took a government course and with my help she she did a paper on the subject and we both got quite involved. Both of us are planning a visit together which will be a combination vacation and another 3 or 4 suitcases of things needed at the clinic. If someone feels hateful enough to turn me in...so be it. I have nothing they can take from me and surely do not have money to pay some outlandish fine...guess they will have to put the old lady in jail!!!
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#25 cvchief

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Posted 01 April 2011 - 10:50 PM

That is a funny story! You were going to Cuba for cosmetic surgery? I though Mexico had the deals on that. I am suprised to hear Cuba with all the issues would be a surgery choice. Well at least you are doing nice things while breaking the law and you tried to make your views heard. I would imagine this administration is less interested in the issue that the norm. Course the Cruz Roja could use a suitcase or two.....
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#26 CZMDM

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 11:59 AM

Just FYI: Che played a central part in the Cuban the military operation that defeated the CIA's operation known as the "Bay of Pigs" (Bahia de los Cochinos) and was an important factor in bringing Soviet nuclear missiles to the island of Cuba in 1962. However he became disillusioned and left Castro's regime and Cuba in 1965.

Che was not Cuban, but was born in Rosario, Argentina, June 14, 1928. He was executed by CIA-assisted Bolivian security forces at the age of 39 on October 9, 1967, in the town of La Higuera, Bolivia.
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#27 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 03:10 PM

That is interesting. I have a book purchased in Cuba on it's history and it is amazing to hear thier version of things compared to the USA's. I am guessing that the truth is somewhere in the middle.
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#28 Free Richard

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Posted 02 April 2011 - 07:57 PM

Che was born in Argentina hardly any new info there, Not sure what the Cuban books are stating. Claimed to be a Doctor but there is no verifiable proof of that. There are no transcripts from any college anywhere. He was a bullshitter. Also had no military experience. Died crying in Bolivia. He was a wealthy Argentine with alot of ideals. Much like the liberals we have in the USA. Fidel was worried that Che was becoming more important than him. When Che left for his next idealist venture Fidel was more than happy. I have read multiple books from both perspectives. Commies Are Not Cool. Che being an Icon is disgusting. I agree with Mark C on a certain extant, but if Americans are traveling there and spending money with the locals it cant hurt. Would like to see it myself before Fidel dies which could be any day (he could be dead already).
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#29 CZMDM

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 06:41 AM

Died crying in Bolivia? What exactly is your source for that? I am sure that those opposed to Che's ideology would love having that idea around, as certain groups constantly rewrite history. From all the books I have read on the guy, including the CIA's version (which is quite contradictory to Richards) I am not buying it. Che was a known Marxist and I would hardly call that a liberal train of thought. He is not in any way a hero to me, but I still am not buying the tough guy ends up crying at the end BS (sounds like a Hollywood ending).

The following is from the US Dept of Defense. It is not a theory nor an opinion about what may have happened. It is the official DOD version of the "facts":

"OCTOBER 9, 1967: Early in the morning, the unit receives the order to execute Guevara and the other prisoners. Lt. Pérez asks Guevara if he wishes anything before his execution. Guevara replies that he only wishes to "die with a full stomach." Pérez asks him if he is a "materialist" and Guevara answers only "perhaps." When Sgt. Terán (the executioner) enters the room, Guevara stands up with his hands tied and states, "I know what you have come for I am ready." Terán tells him to be seated and leaves the room for a few moments. While Terán was outside, Sgt. Huacka enters another small house, where "Willy" was being held, and shoots him. When Terán comes back, Guevara stands up and refuses to be seated saying: "I will remain standing for this." Terán gets angry and tells Guevara to be seated again. Finally, Guevara tells him: "Know this now, you are killing a man." Terán fires his M2 Carbine and kills him. (Dept. of Defense Intelligence Information Report - 11/28/67)."

Source "http://www.gwu.edu/~...NSAEBB5/#chron"

Website of National Security Archives.

This is the USA version of the event. I am sure any crying or cowardice would have been pointed out as the guy was a percieved enemy of the USA.
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#30 MarkC

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 08:41 AM

CZMDM - that link was kickass - THANK YOU for posting that! I even sent that to my mom just now.

All I will continue to say is that you folks that do not agree with me, simply could never possibly understand what it's like to have your family and lives disgraced by communism.

Thank god we live in a country that allows us the freedoms that we have and the ability to prosper through ambitions and dreams.

The Cuban people and my family there do not.

MC
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#31 DocVikingo

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 07:31 AM

Two Cuba diving articles courtesy of the April, 2011 issue of Undercurrent http://www.undercurrent.org/

- “Travel to Cuba

Cuba is a huge destination for Canadians: 900,000 visited Cuba in 2010. For those of you south of the border in the US, it is less common. Approximately 400,000 US citizens visit Cuba per year, mostly those with family on the island. It presently violates US law for most Americans to spend money in Cuba unless you obtain a permit, and is punishable under the Trading with the Enemy Act, a WWI-era law. But the fact is that many Americans, including many divers, do visit Cuba by traveling through Canada, Mexico (often Cancún) or Nassau. Cuban officials do not stamp US passports. The Obama administration has relaxed some restrictions, so the situation is headed in a positive direction. The Moon guidebook reports that only two persons have ever been prosecuted; both ended up fined. Nonetheless, it is illegal for US travelers to spend any money in Cuba, and those who do choose to circumvent US law do so at their own risk, which may count as soft adventure.”


- “The Bay of Pigs, Cuba
easy living, easy diving, maybe even for Americans

Dear Fellow Diver:

The six-lane highway from Havana to the Bahia de los Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) has light traffic as I motor along in a VW rental car, a model I'm not familiar with. There's Cuban salsa on the radio, and crops and open fields along the roadside. Old American cars that give Havana a look of my youth are still in evidence on this two-hour trip. I just left the lively capital, where I heard a lot of music, did a lot of walking and drank too much rum, and am headed for the island's south (Caribbean) side and a much slower pace.

The Bay of Pigs is more famous for the failed 1961 U.S.- sponsored invasion than for its wall diving. My dive group had chosen the spot not for its history but for its coral reef (which, back in 1960, the CIA reportedly interpreted as floating seaweed in its aerial photos, thus losing some of its invading ships to the coral heads). With three friends, I arrive at the little dive shop in Playa Larga, at the head of the long, narrow bay, to make sure we are set for diving the next morning. Not a cloud in the sky, and it will stay that way for most of the next week. Pepe Allejua, who I plan to dive with, is not at the shop but someone says come back at 8:30 am tomorrow, which we do. Minutes after choosing tank sizes, I am told to follow the shop's van in my car to the first site.

Casa Mesa's Patio, Playa Larga

At a site called El Tanque, I step off the limestone shore and swim slowly over the sand flats and back reef. The goldspot and bridled blennies scatter, but a pair of spotfin butterflies swims with me, one on each side. A peacock flounder stirs, as striped goatfish scavenge the sand, with a bar jack hoping to share their harvest. The shallows at all sites are excellent snorkel areas, and at this site, a busload of tourists arrive during our diving to greet us overhead when we return. (I didn't see any divers or snorkelers at other sites.)

At about 20 feet, the coral slopes to the lip of a vertical wall at 40 feet. I cruise along slowly at 70 feet, enjoying the healthy coral sprouting purple rope sponges. The fish life is sparse, so I focus on the oysters and occasional lobsters, and find several green tube tunicates. A school of Creole wrasse pours over the wall above me, and Pepe points to a distant barracuda. They are never eaten here, due to ciguatera poison concerns, but are not common. I head up a sand chute to a wrecked fishing boat Pepe had called the "Cuban Titanic" in his 30-second dive briefing. He points to a big black grouper lurking under it. Near the wreck is a field of at least 100 garden eels, neatly spaced and waving gently to nab tiny morsels. I peer into the boat's hold to watch sharpnose puffers paddle aimlessly. Now on the shallow back reef, we angle back to the starting point. I follow a beautiful red-tail parrotfish; why are the terminal males so pretty in these waters? I find my first lionfish of the dive, under a big coral head; they are in evidence on all dives, though Pepe says they only arrived a year ago. I spy a shy hamlet ducking behind a coral. While I found the breadth of fish life to be light in the Bay of Pigs, this was not the only dive in which I spotted five hamlet species, an unusual variety. Back near the shore, moon jellies pulse in six feet of water near the French-speaking snorkelers. I'm done diving for the day at 12:30. Time to stop at the store to restock the mini-fridge on the way to a shower, maybe take a walk, and the 3Rs: relaxing, reading and romance. There's a shower on the patio where I'm staying. Good thing, because most sites have no rinse tank nearby.

I'm staying in Casa Mesa, a "casa particular" (Cuban for bed and breakfast ) right on Playa Larga's beach, one of several standing side by side. Casa Mesa is $25 per person plus a little more for breakfast; good dinners are $10. It has two simple rooms to rent in the modest home, with the modern amenities of hot water in private bath, A/C and a mini-fridge, as well as nice sitting areas shared by guests. You can also stay at the inexpensive hotels in Playa Larga or Playa Girón, the two towns that book-end the Bay of Pigs. My friends are three houses down from Casa Mesa, and we eat together, alternately at one house then the other. Tonight it's lobster with yucca root in mojo (a lemon-garlic sauce), "cristianos y moros" (black beans in rice), and the inevitable fruit plate. And Bucanero beer for me. This is Cuban home cooking and plenty of it. On mornings, I sip good Cuban coffee in the dining area or on the patio. Mauret brings fresh papaya juice and a fruit plate, and asks how I want my eggs. Roberto gets out a bicycle for two and heads off with his daughter to school. I am asked when we want dinner, with a choice of fish, lobster, pork or chicken. Life is smooth and easy in the slow lane. In my five days here, a few others will pass through, staying in the other room. Only one couple are divers; I spend time sharing rum on the patio with them.

Divemaster Pepe Allejua at Punta Perdiz

All dives were shore dives with a swim to the wall, 200 to 300 feet out. Some sites have small dive shops with gear and tanks on site, but usually tanks are loaded into a van at the main dive shop at 8:30 a.m. and driven to the site. Although Pepe said we could do three dives per day, their setup is designed for two: You go to the right on the wall, then left, for two dives at each site. The 12- and 15-liter steel tanks were filled from 2,700 to 3,000 psi(12 liters has a little more capacity than an aluminum 80). I chose the whopper but didn't need it; the profile puts you on top of the wall or in the back reef for nearly half the dive time. Although we could stay down well over an hour, my group was usually back in 50 minutes. Currents are negligible, and the water was 80 degrees in February. Pepe, like the Cuban divemasters I have met on other trips, was competent, safety conscious and spoke good English. He gave extra help to an inexperienced diver in our group. However, the briefings were slim and his knowledge of reef life is modest. I met an award-winning underwater photographer named Daniel Perez the following day. As I visited with him and admired his macro shots, I wished he were diving with us for help in spotting unusual critters. We spent intervals at the beach while Pepe and his assistant swapped the tanks. At La Cueva de los Peces, or Fish Cave, you can take a dip in a lovely cenote or buy a refresco at the café. Cenote diving is available and advertised.

At Punta Perdiz, I giant stride off a six-foot drop, and, enjoying the sun, I swim on my back 300 feet to near the wall. I descend in 20 feet of water amidst big coral heads, some almost to the surface. A mottled goatfish lazes next to me. Soon I'm soaring over the wall into blue water. I ease down to the depth of the blackcap basslets, and use my light to check out the holes. At 80 feet, we enter a swim-through, coming out at 110 feet, cruising from the tunnel into the blue. The visibility is excellent and the sun makes the big scenery just right. Another swim-through puts me into a sand chute and past an uninteresting wreck. (One can dive on wrecked landing craft from the 1961 invasion, but I didn't.) I enjoy the shallows with a greater variety of fish life than along the wall. My partner is finding bizarre inverts; she picks up some weird mollusk, which definitely is not in the Paul Humann book. There are plenty of dead staghorn and elkhorn, but a fair amount of live patches and a bright yellow-green finger-shaped coral that I cannot identify. Under one patch, I find three blue-phase sergeant majors chasing away grunts from their egg patches. These proud papas are so agitated they look like nervous wrecks. A four-foot barracuda, the largest fish I've seen, cruises just inches over the sand.

The Bay of Pigs is not the most exciting or fishiest location in Cuba, but it's good Caribbean wall diving in a very nice environment. Most divers come for a couple days as part of a longer vacation, or are bussed in for a day from Varadero, Cuba's big beach resort. Cuba's top-of-the-line diving is at Maria la Gorda in the west or Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) to the south; both are dedicated dive resorts. Isla de Juventud features great formations a la Cozumel and good fish life. Maria la Gorda has a good variety of sites and fish life, and would be my first choice. To get to the Isle of Youth, you take a short-hop flight from Havana. For Maria la Gorda, you can hire a driver for the four-hour ride or rent a car.

-- A.M.

Diver's Compass: Most travelers to Cuba go through Havana, the biggest city in the Caribbean, which is definitely worth a few days for its music and culture . . . I stayed in a very nice, down-home "casa particular" called Casa Mercedes González (e-mail mercylupe@hotmail.com) with an excellent location, a lovely balcony, and Mercedes has a wealth of contacts and information; for two people it's $30 for a room, $10 more for breakfast . . . At the Bay of Pigs, contact Casa Mesa at casamesa@gmail.com . . . Once in Cuba, I called divemaster Pepe Allejua on his cell (52811816), but you could easily just show up in either Playa Larga or Playa Girón; I paid $25 per dive with every fifth dive free, so 10 dives cost $200, plus tip . . . Beer is $1 in the store and $1.50 in restaurants . . . Prices are listed in Canadian or US dollars, but you will actually be using Cuban CUC ("kooks"), which are approximately equal to dollars . . . Divemasters, hotel staff and others in the tourist trade can handle English, but rudimentary Spanish is useful if staying in homes and otherwise departing from the main tourist groove . . . Car rental is relatively expensive . . . Credit cards (but not from U.S. banks) are taken at hotels and larger restaurants but it's cash only for casas particulares, private restaurants and diving . . . I took a day off from diving to go see hundreds of flamingos and other bird species in the lagoons of the nearby Cienaga de Zapata, the Cuban Everglades . . . The Moon guidebook is the best; author Christopher Baker has spent a lot of time in Cuba and written widely on Cuban subjects . . . You can find specific dive information in Mary Peachin's Scuba Caribbean, available in the "Books" section at www.undercurrent.org”


Regards,

DocVikingo
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#32 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 10:55 AM

Awesome report, Thank You.
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#33 Coz2wonder

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 12:23 PM

regardless of how inquisitive I might be about Cuba, I would not go for a number of reasons, but one reason is paramount to the rest.

It is morally wrong. When a country imprisons it's people, when it brutalizes, and murders as a way to manage dissent, then that is a country that is morally bankrupt.

For years, and years the people of Cuba have tried to fight, and flee Cuba. They risked, and lost their lives trying to have what we are born with, freedom.

Do you honestly think things have changed that much in Cuba, or for the Cuba people?

Do you think just because you go there, that there lives are greatly improved?

Let me give you a current example of life for a Cuba women today...A friend of mine married a Cuba women about one year ago. She can come to Mexico to live, however she is NOT ALLOWED TO TAKE HER CHILDREN TO LIVE WITH HER. They are in control of the state (wards of the states) and it is the state that will dictate what happens to them.

Where is the outrage? You will NOT see an attitude of "Nobody is going to tell me what to do, or where I can go"...it is acceptance of reality in Cuba for this women, or ELSE.

I truly do not believe tourists have a very limited idea of the reality of Cuba, how they are being used, and manipulated. The sad part, I wonder if they care.

I will not be joining anyone in Cuba, at least not until the Cuba people are as free as I am.
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#34 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 01:15 PM

Everyone has thier own opinions. I have friends there that welcome my visits as does the clinic and the people who get the medicines and supplies I bring. I have traveled all over the world due to my military years, plus years married to military and kids serving in same. There are many other countries that are as bad off or worse. It is your morals that you judge others by...I do not live by those, I live by what I believe the Almighty will judge me on. You want to see horrible...try doing nursing duty in Haiti where woman and children are left to die of AIDS, but my government sent me there to help. Well when I go to Cuba I bring help to someone...and if I only help one person I have done my duty.

What is happening in many countries is immoral, but traveling there is NOT immoral unless you DO immoral things while there.!!!
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#35 MarkC

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 01:23 PM

Bravo Coz2Wonder!

The crimes against humanity in Cuba are as bad as anywhere else on earth. You are indeed a prisoner. You are not allowed to leave, you are not allowed to start your own business and everything you’ve ever worked for or dreamed of belongs to the government.

I have even gone to extreme thinking that even humanitarian trips to help the people should be disallowed and are exactly what the government wants so they can have their cop-out but at the same time maintain that 'la revolucion de mierda' and Communism has provided for its people...

Sad to say this because I still have family imprisoned there, but I say let them rot until the people are forced into revolt.

MC
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#36 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 03:50 PM

I think we should all agree to disagree at this point. Just respect that everyone is entitled to an opinion. You know even America has it's sins against freedom. A very dear friend who is now deceased has a terrible family history. They lost EVERYTHING they owned including thier busness, were treated like trash and illegally imprisoned right here in America. WHY...because they were of Japanese descent...BORN in the USA. My two youngest sons have been called GOOKS since they were babies. They have been discriminated against at school and now work being passed over for promotion...again they have slanted eyes. My one son was to be a supervisor of a work crew at a government job, when the big boss met him he lost that position...because he was of Filippino heritage they would not let him supervise his crew because the crew was all Filippino.

My family has lost much of it's identity..WHY...#1 my Mothers parents were American Indian taken off a reservation as children by white Americans...no records kept. #2 My Dad's family in Russia were forced to deny they were Jewish, had to convert to Russian Orthodox and change thier names, the records were only discovered a couple of years ago.

Women are stoned to death as punishment for having been raped, accussed thieves have hands chopped off, I could go on and on. Cuba is not the worst. I will continue to do what I can to visit and help, I will continue to write letters and emails to change things...that is me. I will not judge you for your opinion and beliefs, do not judge or condemn me for mine.

By the way I have seen planefuls of CUBAN Citizens traveling back and forth to Mexico taking everything from tires to TVs back to Cuba. I also believe that just recently many are being given liscences to open private business.
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#37 Coz2wonder

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:06 PM

..I do NOT need to agree to disagree with you, or anything you have to say.

I have my opinion which is based on reality, and facts.

I have no intentions of going to Cuba...end of story.

Work your BS with somebody else.
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#38 MarkC

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:19 PM

You just do not seem to understand that even though you think you are doing them good by offering humanitarian assistance, all you are doing is helping the Communist government out by doing their job of providing for its people for them.

I do not get why that is so difficult for you to understand.

We have no business in Cuba until it is a free nation or the UN liberates it by force.

It’s the law and it should be followed.

MC

PS: Re: the discrimination, cry me a river. Everyone unless they are a white Christian has been discriminated against in some way, so build a bridge and get over it.
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#39 Coz_Aholic

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:40 PM

Paula you had no reason to get nasty...so blow it out into your jungle..ok...I am done with this thread it is getting old and obviosley some people get nasty over thir OPINIONS. And whats his face...I wasn't crying about the discrimination just stating a FACT...so if you need a hankie for YOUR tears...they are 99 cents at Walmart. As I said..ya'll are now becoming nasty and ya'll are not worth my time or words.
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#40 Coz2wonder

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 04:52 PM

oh but Patrica you do this every time.

They are picking on me, poor me...Carey, make them stop....but I want you to remember (like all of us do) the information about ALL the things and behaviors you have demonstrated over the years comes directly from YOU.

NOBODY COULD SHOOT YOU IF YOU DID NOT GIVE THEM THE BULLETS TO DO IT WITH.

So cut the cr*p, the least of your problems is getting busted going to Cuba...
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