On Monday, El Nuevo Herald published an article that starts with subversive anti-Havana intentions from the very first line.
The article is entitled “American Tourism Will Not Undermine the Castro Regime,” below which appears the byline of the extreme-right Cuban-born scholar, José Azel. The next line sounds the alarm for those who have followed relations between both countries.
What does Azel say? He says that “American tourists will help to drive a democratization process in Cuba.” This excuse, together with the subject of human rights, has been a key piece in a sustained plot against the island. His intention — to bury current Cuban society — has not varied by even half an inch, but his methods to achieve this have. Azel, the scholar, adds that American tourists pass on their values when they travel abroad, which “is an authentic premise.”
It is worth asking the question: And how will they manage to justify the recent murders of members of the black community at the hands of white police officers? And worse still, the shame at how their executioners, in one way or the other, were later aided by the racist authorities who swarm there?
Yet the learned Azel further writes that we see American tourists passing on the virtues of a democratic government. Although he draws attention to it, it is not inferred with certainty that such a role strengthens the citizens of a totalitarian regime.
Perhaps this is a curveball thrown at Cuba. Would Azel dare to visit a black district in New York or Missouri and ask residents what they understand by “totalitarian regime?”
He later explains that, every year, 2 million tourists from Canada, Europe, Latin America and other places have traveled to the island without making an impact on its government at all. As expected, he does not speak about the significance of what he states, and then implicitly positions them as allies of the regime which, in his opinion, is “totalitarian.”
Moreover, he is lost for words with regard to the faith of many in a nation that for more than half a century was sold by the North as a sort of miniature hell on earth. As part of his mental jargon, Azel repeated that tourism-related expenses contribute to the regime’s survival. And the reason for this? Once again, he drew upon old books to say that the money flows toward “companies controlled by the military.” Or rather, according to this extreme-right spokesperson, there are no civil businesses in Cuba — one point less for his very weakened credibility.
According to José Azel, what is most important for warranting his intentions, is that the visitors be – as he calls them – not from the U.S., but “American.” He adds that there is no explanation for viewing them as the only effective messengers of values. The only argument is that they have a vague cultural and historical affinity, and as such are better equipped to pass them on to the Cuban people. But scholars will not accept the theory, claiming that, if there was such a similarity, it would apply better to tourists from Latin America and Spain.
He then slipped in that American tourists have limited relationships with Cubans, given that the majority of recreational centers are in isolated areas “that state security controls.”
Lastly, he indicated that the willingness of many of them to invest their vacation time into subverting the Cuban regime is not clear. As if to appease the uncomfortable side of the subject, Azel further writes that the majority would prefer “to relax on the beautiful beaches of Cuba with mojitos.” If there were still any naïve people who have not captured the essence of the new line of relations between both countries, Professor Azel is teaching them at no extra cost.
He reminded us of the incredible moment when the now ousted congressman, Lincoln Díaz-Balart, publicly suggested infiltrating spies among the tourists who were traveling to Cuba. It is not the same now; instead of the former coarsely expressing it, a learned professor pursuing the same objective is doing the same.