by Agustin Blazquez with the collaboration of Jaums Sutton

For years I thought that the constant sending of dollars and traveling by exiles to Cuba far from helping their families is helping the regime that is the cause of their problems.

Believed or not, in spite of the hostile U.S. media that have maligned them, Cuban Americans are very nice and family oriented. They have not forgotten their country or their relatives stranded on the island-prison and for the last 43 years have been sending their families all their needs.

Cuban exiles started helping their families in the very early sixties, even before the much-touted U.S. embargo, imposed by the late President Kennedy and used so well by Castro and his apologists.

Very soon after Castro took over, the scarcity of the most needed items began. From the very early sixties, Cuban exiles sent medicines, eyeglasses, shoes, clothing, food, toiletries, pens, paper, etc. although the Cuban authorities confiscated half of it.

Planned scarcity is a generalized technique used by totalitarian communist regimes as a way to control and coerce where the most obedient and loyal to the party or ruler get benefits denied the rest.

In the late seventies, when Castro started allowing Cuban exiles to visit their relatives, thousands of Cubans abroad began their trips. They went with their suitcases filled with the items their relatives requested. And their pockets were filled with U.S. dollars to buy much needed appliances and food in the government stores reserved for the exclusive use of the diplomats, Castro’s privileged loyal elite and visitors with U.S. dollars.

But Castro saw the opportunity to extract even more of the Cuban exiles’ U.S. dollars, and opened those exclusive stores to them, too.

After the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, Castro allowed the use of the U.S. dollar along with the Cuban peso, which had become worthless. But Cuban workers are still paid in pesos!

Increasingly more and more daily necessity items became available in U.S. dollars only. So the Cuban families in need were encouraged by Castro’s regime to write to their relatives requesting U.S. dollars to survive.

And Cuban exiles responded once again and flooded the Cuban economy, in shambles and on the brink of collapse with threats of popular uprising, with the U.S. dollars Castro needed to stay in power. So the flow of U.S. dollars served two purposes: it provided for the most urgent needs of the citizens at no cost to Castro and since he collected the dollars in his stores it also served to support his costly efforts to remain in power.

It became and remains a vicious circle that many Cuban exiles have fallen into. They are helping their relatives but at the same time they are giving millions of dollars to Castro. Because in the end all that money ends up in Castro’s hands since he and his regime are the owners of all the stores where the dispossessed Cubans have to buy using their relatives-sent U.S. dollars.

So, in the end, the Cuban exiles are contributing economically to maintain Castro’s tyranny, therefore, prolonging the suffering of their own relatives on the island.

The more money the exiles send, the more and more items Castro puts for sale in U.S. dollars. He is doing such a great business manipulating the exile community abroad, that as of late he has increased the prices in his stores.

What the exiles apparently do not realize is that if they all stop sending money, he will have to sell the same items in Cuban pesos, if not about 60% of the population will starve to death or rise above their complacency and defend themselves.

If the Cuban exiles want to put an end to the way Castro is manipulating them and end his tyranny, they should not contribute economically in any way, shape or form to his regime.

No other exile community perhaps in the world has been so loyal and dedicated to bring freedom and democracy back to their homeland as the Cubans and no other has attained the enormous economic success that the Cuban Americans have in the U.S. But in relation to their goal to bring freedom and democracy to their homeland, they are acting with their hearts instead of with their heads.

They must finally realize the terrible mistake they are making by sending money to Castro and visiting there and spending even more U.S. dollars during their stay.

Between 1959 and 1978 Castro did not allow exiles to go back to Cuba to visit their relatives. Well, now that they are allowed to visit, they need to make the sacrifice for a while in order to help bring freedom back to Cuba and their relatives.

As a matter of principle, I have never sent a penny to any of my relatives or friends in Cuba, nor do I plan to visit there until there is real freedom and democracy. I’d rather to die in exile than to set a foot in and thereby support a country where tyranny, repression, apartheid and slavery reign. That is not the Cuba I want to see.

The best gift we can give to our relatives and friends trapped under Castro’s boot is their liberation, their total freedom and the restoration of all their human rights denied for 43 long and dark years. Sending U.S. dollars to Castro’s pockets won’t bring the freedom and democracy we all want.

Now, more than ever, when Castro wants to “constitutionally” legalize communist tyranny forever in Cuba, the exile community must cut off Castro’s pipeline of U.S. dollars.

Agustin Blazquez, Producer/director of the documentaries COVERING CUBA, COVERING CUBA 2: The Next Generation & the upcoming COVERING CUBA 3: Elian Author with Carlos Wotzkow of the book COVERING AND DISCOVERING and translator with Jaums Sutton of the upcoming book by Luis Grave de Peralta Morell THE MAFIA OF HAVANA: The Cuban Cosa Nostra

2002 ABIP

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