Here’s a letter to the Boston Globe:
Blithely asserting that “Cuba’s government operates successfully on a different set of principles than those of the United States,” Klaus Kleinschmidt offers that “One could suspect that the US government fears that ordinary people traveling there might find themselves comparing the two societies and wondering who’s better off” (Letters, Sept. 3).
Persons tempted to take seriously Mr. Kleinschmidt’s suggestion that life in the U.S. is worse than life in Cuba should ask themselves this two-part question: from which country do ordinary people continue to risk their lives to escape? And to which country do these desperate people flee?
To see the absurdity of Mr. Kleinschmidt’s letter, simply observe the direction of the dinghies.
Donald J. Boudreaux
My friend Alan Dlugash adds the following in an e-mail to me (pasted below with Alan’s kind permission):
As if you needed more proof, I am a regular visitor to Cuba – throughout the country, all is the same – the people are truly poor (having only a rice and beans subsistence, housing that includes only walling off new areas when people get married or have children, and being able to purchase only the shoddiest of locally made merchandise). The only exceptions are people in high government or those receiving dollars from contact with tourists or from remittances from the US. Medical care is very poor, with some able doctors but ridiculously long waits and little medical equipment, supplies, or medications.
UPDATE: My friend Mark Steckbeck writes the following to me in an e-mail:
If a U.S. resident attempted to flee to Cuba, the Cuban government would welcome him or her with open arms – what a political statement that would make. In the other direction not only is water an obstacle, but the U.S. Coast Guard and immigration officials sit in wait trying to catch Cubans coming to the U.S. and send them back.