In one sense, the warning is little more than a formality. It is regularly updated for Mexico as it is for 20 other countries, and the US State Department notes “the extensive effort to counter criminal organizations that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico,” as well as efforts to ensure safety at major tourist destinations.
However, US authorities also warn of the dangers of a country caught up in a decade-long drug war, noting that “gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight.”
Travel to Cuba is the latest thing among the pseudo-cool useful idiots.
After the Obama administration granted a full roster of concessions (in exchange for nothing) to the communist regime, we are bombarded with hype on Cuba travel.
Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railway Journeys. Episode 4 Slow Train to Guantanamo Bay.
The other evening I came across this PBS show, where a dotty old Brit, Chris Tarrant, attempted to cross Cuba by train. To spare the misery, let me itemize a few facts:
- There is no such thing as a train crossing Cuba. There are railways.
- It’s not a train as you have experienced. There are rails, on which a contraption rigged to an engine of sorts rides, but for the most part Tarrant rode in what looks like a bus bolted on to a railcar chassis.
- The rail “cars” interiors were unlit, the toilets had not been cleaned since the Eisenhower administration, and air-conditioner does not exist.
- The seats are painful to sit on, according to Tarrant. They look like elementary-school seats bolted on without the legs, for people to sit. Or not.
- Tarrant had to hitchhike car rides for hundreds of kilometers to make the connections.
- The fastest speed any train reached was 15 mph.
While describing the absolute misery of Cuban “train” travel (understandably) takes up a lot of air time, Tarrant spews a lot of the communist regime propaganda we have been hearing for half a century.
He exults at the sight of an old tractor with bullet holes sitting on top of a huge concrete plinth, since it’s a monument to Che Guevara, or the revolución, or whatever. When he finally gets to a resort in Guantánamo from which you can see the U.S. base, the swimming pool is empty – a metaphor for the revolución’s empty promises.
He sounds quite dotty at times, but underneath it all he’s a true believer: Listen to his promo (emphasis added),
“Cuba has so much going for it: It’s proudly Communist, it has great music, great people, but also something rather unexpected, almost 4,000 kilometers of railways!”
Sanders noted how many of those on board were eager to get to the island before it was spoiled by capitalism: “The Cuba they will see has many Americans anxious to get here before it all changes.” Passenger Sedrick Tydus quipped: “I want to get there before Burger King shows up.” Sanders laughed and repeated line: “Before Burger King shows up.”
The racist, patronizing tone of that statement is lost on most. ‘I Want to See It Before It Changes’ Is the Wrong Reason to Travel to Cuba
This reasoning is not only presumptuous (who says Cuba will so eagerly welcome wholesale capitalism?), but it reduces the island to an elaborate set, the stuff of cinematic chimera. Magazine photo shoots and features like “8 Historic Cuban Hotels You Can Stay In Now,” only add to the glorification of Cuba-as-iconic-backdrop mentality.
Not that the apologists will tell you about that.
The Sun-Sentinel op ed, Carnival should table launch of Cuba cruise
Upon receiving permission to launch cruises to Cuba two weeks ago, Carnival had expected the Castro government would lift its restriction on Cuban-born Americans who arrive by sea, as it has for those who arrive by air. Now, the company is trying to negotiate the policy change. “We believe we have a much better chance in helping to effect that change by working within the current boundaries of the policy while engaged in an active commercial agreement,” it said in a statement.
The Sun-Sentinel found out after-the-fact (emphasis added),
For those of us who have supported President Obama‘s decision to re-engage Cuba after 54 years of failed policies, it’s again disappointing that Raul Castro refuses to move more quickly in breaking down even small barriers, like this one. Instead, it’s feared protests over this policy — and editorials like this one — will cause Castro to dig in his heels.
The policies failed because the Communist oppressors wanted them to fail, for the past half century. Or, as Capt. Louis said, “I am shocked!” they are not interested in, as the Sun-Sentinel phrased it, “breaking down even small barriers.”
Makes you wonder how much palm-greasing would be needed for relaxing those “even small barriers.”
Cuban-Americans filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court against Carnival.
I hope they win.
Ron Radosh writes on how the New York Times Promotes Fantasy Tours to Communist Cuba. Not the everyday reality, instead,
This is the Cuba that is reserved for well-off Western tourists.
And you’d have to be. If you go to travel websites or groups that have tours of Cuba scheduled, most will cost between $5000 to $7000 for less than a one-week trip.
You won’t be shown the truth about Cuba, you’ll get the “trendy” experience of a Potemkin village tour. You will be shepherded around the restored center of old Havana, restored tourist sites like Hemingway’s villa, and the Partagas tobacco factory. If you still need convincing about Cuba’s “New Cool,” you will meet with groups of Cubans who will make it appear that life is good and normal under the Castro brothers.
Of course, life is not wonderful for the majority of the Cuban people.
For an honest look at Cuba, watch the 2012 movie Una Noche. A commenter on IMBD writes:
The film reveals parts of the city not only unfilmed, but rarely accessed by outsidersbefore. As an energetic ride through one day and night in raw and gritty Havana, Una Noche captures the passion of its people, the despair in their lives, but also the love and laughter they share.
Take it away!
Here’s the trailer for Una Noche,
A must-watch for anyone who’s even remotely thinking of supporting the Communist regime by traveling to Cuba.
but the military blame the tourist agency.
Egyptian military forces mistakenly attacked a convoy of tourists on Sunday night, leaving at least 12 Mexicans and Egyptians dead and 10 others wounded, the country’s interior ministry has revealed.
Soldiers thought the convoy belonged to an Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State terrorist group against which they had recently been fighting tough battles in the area. Mexico has confirmed that at least two of the dead are Mexican.
Egyptian security forces used planes and helicopters to bomb Mexican tourists and their guides, who Egyptian officials said were mistaken for terrorists, survivors told Mexican officials after the attack that left 12 dead.
An Egyptian tourism ministry spokeswoman refused to comment on the allegations and other government officials didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the tourists were in a restricted area where military and police forces were pursuing suspected terrorists. Tourism ministry spokeswoman Rasha el Azaizy accused the tour company that organized the trip of procedural violations that she claimed led to the tragedy.
. . .
However, a representative of the company that organized the excursion, Windows of Egypt, said the group had all necessary permits from authorities and even had a police escort when they came under fire from jet fighters and helicopters late Sunday afternoon.
Egypt’s tourist industry is in shambles.
I’m under the weather with sinus issues, with the TV on mute watching some guys build weird decks on the DIY channel and reading blogs, when Allahpundit’s post made my sinuses screech:
Internet comes together in shared loathing for freaky new airplane seating design
alternating forward and backward facing seats placed side by side.
Obviously designed for the short-legged, by the short-legged, who don’t need to get out to go to the toilet.
Airbus, on the other hand, has come up with the flying donut,
Rather than donuts, Airbus is finding inspiration in Dante, which Dante surely would add as the 10th circle were he alive today, even when he found inspiration in Virgil,
So whatever your air travel misery is right now, just keep in mind it’ll get worse.
Carping about What Pope Doesn’t See: Devil’s Dung Can Be Fertilizer and other perfect Latin American idiots shall resume shortly.
Linked to by Dustbury. Thanks!
Linked to by American Digest. Thanks!
Today’s must-read, via Carlos Eire,Luis Ball’s article,
You Will Not Like Cuba
Media Hype Sells Product That Does Not Exist
Maybe those readers who plan to visit this Caribbean paradise would like to know something that Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times have omitted: their phone conversations will be bugged, and possibly they will be secretly filmed in their hotel rooms. Remember, this is not Berlin after the fall of the Wall; this is Berlin before!
Twenty years ago, Fidel Castro began to promote his imprisoned island to foreign tourists. Canadian and Spanish tourists initially poured in. Eventually, however, word got out that Cuba was not much fun.+
Today, they still trickle in, but the boom in tourism that the Castros expected has not materialized. Those who do visit Cuba do so because it is, by far, the cheapest destination in the Caribbean. Those Europeans and Canadians who can pay more ignore Cuba as a destination.
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. My father worked for many years at what then was at one of the top hotels in the Caribbean. I sincerely do not understand why anyone would go to Cuba when you can find, not only in Puerto Rico, but all across the Caribbean, top-rated resorts (where, as a bonus, you are not subsidizing a murderous Communist regime intent on not changing).
As Capitol Hill Cubans point out, business will not bring change to Cuba,
The business community has been a key supporter of some of the worst dictatorships in modern times — all for the sake of stability.
A brief video of a street in downtown Havana, “in a good part of town,” and keep in mind Cuba received in 2014 US$300 million in trade from the US and 3 million international tourists:
Click on the photo above for more on Cuba travel.
Could cattle class get any worse? Introducing BUDGET economy where airlines are squeezing an extra seat in every row
Airbus are increasing their seats from 10 to 11 seats in every row
The addition will see Airbus creating a fourth cheaper class called Choice
The change is to be launched in 2017 on the Airbus 380 model
Airbus state the move is to reflect 90 per cent of fliers using economy
Thankfully seat widths will remain at the standard 18 inches
“Thankfully” nothing – When the seats are so narrow that the little head pillows are shown narrow side up, you know it’s hell.
Those seats are not wide enough for the average adult, but the 3rd graders may do OK.
Pity the fool who gets the aisle seat, too. Those are narrow aisles.
As for BUDGET economy, a friend just told me that the EU countries are charging a US$500 travel tax on flights from the US. How’s that for “BUDGET economy”?