|Beyonce with Cuban school children|
If you typed "Cuba" into your browser last night, you might have thought that by mistake you'd entered "beyonce jay z cuba," given the pages and pages of media reports on the power couple's visit to the island. It appears to be, for the media, the most important event this year concerning US-Cuba relations; not because of the fame of the visitors, but because some ultra-right denizens of Miami went over the top in chastising the pair.
If you guessed that we mean Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, you're right. They are among the many whose careers depend on maintaining the blockade. They were joined by the similarly blockade-dependent professor Jaime Suchlicki, of the University of Miami.
The scholar compared Cuba to Nazi Germany, without explaining the parallel. Ros-Lehtinen decried the torture going on in Cuba, without mention of a single particular.
A few opinions on the Web did mention that the blockade itself is what is wrong in this picture, or pointed out the immense hypocrisy of those who are wringing their hands over the trip. And there is plenty of hypocrisy.
For example, Cuba has not ever launched a blitzkrieg like the one the US unleashed against Iraq (at the time, it was called proudly "shock and awe"), without justification and contrary to international law. To our knowledge, Prof. Suchlicki has not challenged the war against Iraq or the decade-long occupation of the country. Not one of Cuba’s neighbouring countries is afraid of being attacked by Cuba, and all of them except the US oppose the blockade.
Neither Suchlicki nor the Congresswoman have spoken out against the tortures that the US applied around the world as standard procedures, in secret sites and in blatant violation of the International Convention Against Torture. Neither she nor Diaz-Balart have demanded an investigation of the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike who are being kept in prison in Cuba, perhaps for the rest of their lives, even after being cleared for release. Torture has indeed taken place in Cuba, and massively, but that was in Guantanamo Base, and it was applied by the CIA and the Pentagon. The force-feeding of the desperate captives is taking place there also, now.
The personalities mentioned claim the moral standing to sustain the blockade against Cuba after more than half a century. Even Diaz-Balart, who never mentions that his father was a close associate of dictator Fulgencio Batista, or that his father and his uncles became rich from working with the dictator and the Las Vegas mafia.
Fortunately, theirs is not the only opinion on the matter. More and more people from the US are visiting Cuba in person to see what it's like. Thanks to Beyoncé and Jay-Z, millions of people who had not followed previously the issue of the blockade are now discovering it. They are also discovering the people who want to keep other people of the US from travelling to the island where the famous entertainers were received warmly, not at all like enemies.
This article originally appeared at La Aborada