There are two reasons I will not visit Cuba while the Castros and their communist successors are in power, regardless of how cool President Barack Obama tells me it would be.
First, I will not dishonor my parents, grandparents and other family members who had so much taken from them when they were forced to leave their homeland. I refuse to pretend it never happened, even if it was more than 50 years ago. Consider it my act of intransigence against the regime.
And I do not want my money to finance the repression that remains part of everyday life in Cuba.
That tourist dollars, and other business dealings with Havana, help pay for the Castroite street gangs, secret police and prisons that are used to stamp down on the Cuban opposition, has been ignored in most of the revelry about the prospects for free and easy tourist travel by Americans to the island.
An imminent re-opening of full diplomatic relations between Washington and Havana has not softened in the least the Castros' efforts to silence the opposition. In fact, the Obama administration's acquiescence to Cuban demands that human rights not be part of the current negotiations has only emboldened the dictatorship to keep acting like a dictatorship.
Of course, soon they will be able to dictate with even more Americans' dollars.
The link between Americans tourists' dollars and Cuban repression is the focus of the #VisitCUbaProject, which in act of genius has adapted images of repression in Cuba into a series of tourist posters you're not likely to see at airports on either side of the Florida straits.
The organizers explain:
Vintage travel posters and actual images of repression in #Cuba
Romanticism vs. Reality
It consists of a series of actual viral images of repression in #Cuba juxtaposed into vintage travel posters from the 40's and 50's. The aim is to bring awareness to the upcoming wave of tourism to the island about the reality of a society being under a 56 year old dictatorship.
"Esta mas cerca un esquimal al pueblo de #Cuba que un canadiense en el #HotelNacional"-Ana Olema
Concept/ Idea: Ana Olema (@anaolema) & Annelys PM Casanova (@JirilibreLa , instagram: @La_Jiri_Libre
Design/ Diseño: #LaJiri
Learn more here.