Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ros-Lehtinen Says Cuban Regime Big Winner in New Travel Spree


House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman
CONTACT: Brad Goehner and Andeliz Castillo, (202) 225-5021
Alex Cruz (South Florida press), (202)-225-8200

For IMMEDIATE Release - January 10, 2012

Ros-Lehtinen Says Cuban Regime Big Winner in New Travel Spree

Says Obama Administration Policies to Blame for Increased Travel Revenue to Dictatorship

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today spoke about an influx of advertisements promoting travel to Cuba, and criticized the Obama Administration’s policies which are providing an additional source of income for the Castro dictatorship. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Travel advertisements are springing up throughout the United States seeking to entice American tourists to take a trip to the island. The New York Times recently joined the Cuba travel bandwagon, ranking Havana as number 10 of ‘The 45 Places to Go in 2012.’ But the Times’ assist to the propaganda machine of repressive regimes was not just limited to Cuba. It also touted Burma, under the rule of the brutal military junta, as a must see, ranking it as number 3. National Geographic Expeditions is also on board, organizing a 10-day trip to Cuba, and the Smithsonian Institution is sponsoring four so-called ‘cultural exchange’ trips to the island through Smithsonian Journeys.

“These romanticized trips to the oppressed island are portrayed as an opportunity for ‘people to people’ interaction. In reality, the travelers will interact only with people who are either working for the Cuban regime, or who are coerced into giving the party line to foreign tourists and other visitors, or face grave consequences. All the while, the dictatorship is laughing all the way to the bank as it replenishes its coffers with tourist money.

“With gushing write-ups coming from the U.S., the Cuban propaganda machine can take a day off. The regime itself would be proud of such alluring advertising with nary a mention of a dictator, or the political prisoners suffering and dying at the hands of the regime, or the U.S. citizen unjustly imprisoned, or the beatings that the Ladies in White and other peaceful pro-democracy advocates are subjected to.

“The truth about Cuba is that it is unjustly imprisoning a U.S. citizen, harboring dangerous U.S. fugitives, harassing and jailing innocent Cubans, and is designated by the U.S. State Department as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.”

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