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Eric Schmidt and Entourage Pay a Call On Cuba

timothy posted about three weeks ago | from the by-the-way-we-thought-you-might-like-this dept.

Censorship 190

VentureBeat reports that the unofficial Google ambassador to the world has made another significant visit to a place where Internet access is either forbidden or impractical for most of the citizenry; hopefully it heralds change on that front. Continuing his tour of countries with authoritarian governments and less-than-favorable Internet access, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt made a secret visit to Cuba yesterday. The U.S. government has forbidden its citizens from traveling to Cuba or spending any money within the country since cold war tensions in the 1960s. Even though the cold war is over, the ban remains in effect, which is why Schmidt’s visit is significant. Unofficially (meaning not on behalf of his company), the powerful Googler has also made controversial visits to North Korea and Myanmar to promote Internet freedom, and has previously spoken out against online censorship happening in both China and India. Schmidt, says the article, "was joined by a crew of former Google employees as well as author Jared Cohen."

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190 comments

So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (4, Funny)

LetterRip (30937) | about three weeks ago | (#47347397)

So what are the legal consequences for this?

Personally I'd like to visit Cuba but haven't, in part due to the illegality.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (5, Insightful)

LetterRip (30937) | about three weeks ago | (#47347407)

The ban has nothing to do with 'Cold War tensions' it is because Cuban immigrants to Florida hate Castro for the property that he nationalized - and pissing off those voters risk losing Florida in federal elections (and thus losing the Presidential election). Thus draconian prohibitions related to Cuba stay in place.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347531)

and pissing off those voters risk losing Florida in federal elections (and thus losing the Presidential election).

Yep, without Florida last election, Obama would have lost by -71 electoral votes. Yes, that's negativate, as in less than zero.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about three weeks ago | (#47347551)

Yep, without Florida last election, Obama would have lost by -71 electoral votes.

In either 2000 and 2004, GWB would have lost without Florida. Florida is a big swing state.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347601)

In 2000, GWB DID lose. Fortunately for him (and unfortunately for the rest of us) he had a brother in that state to pull strings.

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347689)

But think of the alternative. Al frickin' Gore would have become president.

Thinking about that makes Dubya seem not so bad.

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347799)

Yeah, al gore might have nuked saudi arabia when a bunch of saudi arabians flew plans into our buildings!

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347875)

Wow, so you are saying you wanted over 200,000 people dead so your chicken hawk could win. Nice to know you support a war criminal.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47348273)

Look, Bush sucked, but the fact of the matter is that the only way he could have possibly NOT won Florida is a combination of bad luck and technicalities. Back in late 1999, it was taken for granted by literally EVERYONE in the state -- Republicans AND Democrats -- that Bush was going to win Florida by a landslide. So... on election day, lots of Republicans didn't bother to go vote, and the Democrats managed to get enough of their own voters to go vote anyway to erase most of that expected landslide.

That's why the Gore campaign was calling for a new election in Florida... but ONLY allowing people who voted on election day to re-vote... and why Florida's legislature was equally determined that if there WAS going to be a repeat election, they were going to let ALL registered voters vote (even those who stayed home the first time). If the election were repeated & all Florida voters were allowed, there would have been close to 100% turn-out, and roughly 60-64% of those voters would have voted for Bush simply because they were registered Republicans who might not have really LIKED Bush... but who passionately HATED Gore.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347769)

Less than zero is "negativate"? That's less than English!

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347537)

Americans think it is a great idea to put up an embargo around Cuba and deny food and medicine to children THAT WERE NOT EVEN BORN WHEN THE COLD WAR WAS ON. Go, america, go. What a great country.

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347569)

Pray they don't find oil in Cuba. I'm sure US would would "liberate" the Cubans. It worked so well in the Middle East...

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347609)

That can't be true since advocates for government run healthcare often brag about the wonders of Cuba's system and how great it is. You aren't challenging that, are you?

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347665)

Are you saying political ideology can take the place of food and medicals? How nourishing is the left? How well will the right heal disease? Think, man!

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347745)

Americans think it is a great idea to put up an embargo around Cuba and deny food and medicine to children THAT WERE NOT EVEN BORN WHEN THE COLD WAR WAS ON. Go, america, go. What a great country.

An embargo is not a BLOCKADE. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended a while ago.

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (3, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about three weeks ago | (#47347761)

Thats a crock of crap. The only countries in the embargo is the US. Even Canada and Mexico do not participate.

The only thing if anything denying Cuba food and medicine is either corruption in Cuba or Cuba's government. The US is not the only place Cuba can get food or medicine- cold war or not.

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347815)

The US send food and some medicine to Cuba. What is really stopping Cuba from having enough food and medicine is money. Cuba for the most part can't afford it. They think things cost so much because they have to import them from China and if they could import them from the US, they would be so much cheaper that they could afford them.

I compared prices for random tools available at a government store in Cuba. The tools were virtually identical to the made in China tools available at my local Home Depot for almost the exact same price.

Medicine is the same when the government bothers to import it. If you go to Cuba, you are requested to bring all sorts of over the counter things like aspirin and band aids. Those are the types of things that are difficult to get there.

Someone stopped us on the street and asked us for any extra toiletries we had from our hotel. He was hoping to get some soap for his daughter. He couldn't afford to buy them on his own.

Cuba is a third world country. The people can't afford basic necessities. The embargo isn't hurting them as much as they like to think.

I'm sure there is corruption in the government, but it isn't obvious. It doesn't appear that government officials are living large at the expense of the people. It just looks like the current economy can't support the entire population in a reasonable manner.

Re: So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47348117)

You are fucking retarded. NO ONE will do business with Cuba, because of the embargo (that'd be like killing their own business). The embargo means that no one that does business with the US can do business with Cuba.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347645)

You are missing the other half of it. The cubans that stayed, hate the cubans in Florida as much as the cubans in Florida hate the cubans that stayed.

I was in cuba with a group of attorneys. We were at a meeting with government officials who were explaining to us the evils of the US. In the middle of it, one of the attorneys blurted out, "Some of us quit divorce work because of people like you." That sentence pretty much sums up the entire state of US/Cuban relations.

In fact, I think the only thing holding Cuba together right now is the US government and the sanctions. The US government is the enemy the Cuban's are united against. I believe if the US were to just drop the sanctions, Cuba would fall apart pretty quickly.

Cuba is the US's neighbor and we should try to help them. They are trying to adopt some capitalism right now, and we should be trying to help. But for Cuba to move forward in a healthy way, there first needs to be a reconciliation between the Cuban's that left and the Cuban's that stayed and then Cuba has to accept that it is a third world country. Unfortunately, Cuba is not important enough for the US to devote the resources necessary to accomplish any of the above, and Cuba has neither the resources nor the ability to accept that any of the above is necessary.

So basically, Cuba is just F*cked and there is no easy way out for them.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347891)

They would easily have enough money through just tourism alone if it wasn't for US meddling.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (2, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347895)

You are missing the other half of it. The cubans that stayed, hate the cubans in Florida as much as the cubans in Florida hate the cubans that stayed.

Many of the Cubans in Cuba want to join the Cubans in Florida, thousands of them try every year. The Cubans in Florida don't hate the Cubans in Cuba, they are opposed to the communist government that is oppressing their friends and family back in Cuba.

The easiest way out for Cuba is to turn away from Communism. It is one of the last hold-outs on the planet in inflicting that failed system on its people. Activists in Cuba support the continuance of the embargo.

The Time to Help Cuba’s Brave Dissidents Is Now: Why the Embargo Must Not be Lifted [pjmedia.com]

Another brave group of Cuban opponents of the regime has actually taped a television interview filmed illegally in Havana. “Young Cuban democracy leader Antonio Rodiles,” an American support group called Capitol Hill Cubans has reported, “has just released the latest episode of his civil society project Estado de Sats (filmed within Cuba), where he discusses the importance U.S. sanctions policy with two of Cuba’s most renowned opposition activists and former political prisoners, Guillermo Fariñas and Jose Daniel Ferrer.”

The argument they present is aimed directly at those on the left in the United States, some of whom think they are helping democracy in Cuba by calling for an end to the embargo. In strong and clear language, the two dissidents say the following:

If at this time, the [economic] need of the Cuban government is satisfied through financial credits and the lifting of the embargo, repression would increase, it would allow for a continuation of the Castro’s society, totalitarianism would strengthen its hold and philosophically, it would just be immoral If you did an opinion poll among Cuban opposition activists, the majority would be in favor of not lifting the embargo.

Next, they nail the claim that travel without restrictions by citizens of our country to Cuba would help spread freedom. The men respond:

In a cost-benefit analysis, travel to Cuba by Americans would be of greatest benefit to the Castro regime, while the Cuban people would be the least to benefit. With all of the controls and the totalitarian system of the government, it would be perfectly able to control such travel.

We know this, as I reported a few months ago, about how a group of Americans taking the usual state-controlled Potemkin village tour came back raving about how wonderful and free Cuba is, and how Cuban socialism works.

Finally, the two former prisoners made this point about lifting the embargo:

To lift the embargo at this time would be very prejudicial to us. The government prioritizes all of the institutions that guarantee its hold on power. The regime’s political police and its jailers receive a much higher salary and privileges than a doctor or engineer, or than any other worker that benefits society. We’ve all seen municipalities with no fuel for an ambulance, yet with 10, 15, 20, 50 cars full of fuel ready to go repress peaceful human rights activists.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

MrDoh! (71235) | about three weeks ago | (#47348297)

Aye, it's the Floridian Cubans stopping this. If they really wanted to get rid of the regime, they'd remove the blockade in an early morning vote. The cruise ships would be sailing by dinner, in Havana by evening. Within a week, property along the coast would be snapped up, in in 3 months, condos/villas/hotels all along, with a mass invasion of tourists and their dollars. Under that influx, things would change. But people who can make it happen don't want to as it's advantageous for votes/power. I look forward to going as a Brit, but it's tricky for my US wife, has to jump through some odd hoops.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (5, Insightful)

nodwick (716348) | about three weeks ago | (#47347471)

Some types of travel to Cuba are legal. The US has been granting so-called "people-to-people" licenses to allow people to legally visit Cuba for the purposes of cultural exchange. According to the NYTimes [nytimes.com] , the visas were created by Bill Clinton in 1999, stopped being issued by Bush in 2003, and resumed being handed out in 2011 by Obama. More info from a Forbes article [forbes.com] :

The whole purpose, for the US government’s perspective, is to intimately experience the day-to-day lives of residents while learning about Cuban cultural, social and religious organizations firsthand. For this reason, all participants are required to adhere to the approved full-time schedule of activities – beg off to relax by the hotel pool and OFAC could pull the company’s license.

So there are restrictions: you have to travel with a tour guide, and your trip agenda has to be filled with culturally-relevant activities rather than just random tourist stuff. It wasn't clear from TFA if Schmidt's visit was under this particular license, but his trip agenda ("to get a tour of Cuba’s University of Information Sciences in Havana and discuss life within the country") certainly sounded like it would have qualified.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (5, Informative)

mattyj (18900) | about three weeks ago | (#47347501)

I took one of these person-to-person trips to Cuba two years ago and it was pretty awesome. It's nice to travel somewhere that hasn't been ruined by American interests yet (no Starbucks, no McDonald's, etc.) It wasn't that difficult, you can find tours through chambers of commerce or other travel groups.

The restrictions are not extremely enforceable, but know that the Cuban government is looking after you, too. Don't make an ass of yourself while there. In any case, roving around the country in an air conditioned tour bus was quite desirable, it was hot.

Aside from that, if you have some cultural relevance (teacher, sports figure, musician) you can go without it being a 'person-to-person' cultural exchange, I think you just have to clear it with the US Treasury. My guess is that Schmidt et al were able to do that, to spread the good word of a truly American company.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347881)

You sound like you don't like having access to starbucks and mcdonalds whenever you want. I don't frequent these places but I'm glad I have the option. The Cubans you saw don't have that option, they can't just turn up their noses at it and feel superior because they don't like these things. Must be nice to take a vacation and join those who are keeping it real for two weeks but then get to go home and have a double latte when you get tired of being high and mighty.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (1)

Scottingham (2036128) | about three weeks ago | (#47348023)

I feel the same way about dollar general. jk! that shit is blight!

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (4, Interesting)

pr0sp3r0 (3462429) | about three weeks ago | (#47348335)

When I was in Santiago I frequented a little coffee joint called El Combate. Absolutely delicious coffee, and shockingly cheap. Fuck Starbucks. Cuba not being covered by Coca Cola signs and other ads was like a breath of fresh air. Not saying Cuba's all hunky-dory, but there are some wonderful things about it that dropping the embargo would likely change for the worse.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347997)

I took one of these person-to-person trips to Cuba two years ago and it was pretty awesome. It's nice to travel somewhere that hasn't been ruined by American interests yet (no Starbucks, no McDonald's, etc.) It wasn't that difficult, you can find tours through chambers of commerce or other travel groups.

The restrictions are not extremely enforceable, but know that the Cuban government is looking after you, too. Don't make an ass of yourself while there. In any case, roving around the country in an air conditioned tour bus was quite desirable,

Some different views on that.

A Graduate of my ‘Commie’ High School Goes to Cuba and Sees Paradise, or How One’s Education Can Warp You for Life [pjmedia.com]
The Lost World, Part I [worldaffairsjournal.org]

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347473)

He might have to pay a relatively insignificant fine (for his wealth that is, the equivalent of a parking ticket)

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347487)

In practical terms, virtually nothing. I went for a couple weeks in the 1990's, driving to Toronto and joining a bunch of Canadian tourists on their chartered beach-vacation flight, ditching them as soon as we landed in Matanzas. The Cubans were perfectly happy to welcome a tourist with hard currency, even assenting to my friends' requests that their passports not be stamped with entry/exit visas.

Admittedly, those were the days that you could cross the Canadian border with a US driver's license, and I was so cautious that I sent my passport back home by FedEx from the Toronto airport, but absolutely nothing came of it. I've since renewed my passport (mailing in the visa-stamped old one to the State Department) and passed a state bar background check, so at least in my case it was easy to pull off.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47348275)

One of my best friends did it a few years ago -- no problem. The nice thing about idiotic travel embargoes is it's extremely rare that anyone outside of your country gives a shit.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about three weeks ago | (#47347491)

So what are the legal consequences for this?

Even if Schmidt's visit were illegal, Americans who get caught having been to Cuba (which usually doesn't happen unless one is stupid and talks about their holiday to all and sundry) typically only pay a large fine, they don't serve jail time.

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (1)

amxcoder (1466081) | about three weeks ago | (#47347885)

Jay-Z and Beyonce also recently traveled there earlier this year or so, and were parading in front of cameras and nothing happened to them. I think when you are rich and famous, rules in general, don't apply.

Nothing of course (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about three weeks ago | (#47348055)

He is rich and powerful, what are you expecting?

Re:So will he go to jail upon return to the US? (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about three weeks ago | (#47348263)

Laws are only for small guys. Did David Gregory go to jail for breaking the Gun Laws on TV?

Bad summary (4, Informative)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | about three weeks ago | (#47347403)

It is NOT impossible to LEGALLY visit Cuba. My friend did it in a study abroad program during college in the US. That said, they don't make it easy.

Re:Bad summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347563)

Actually if you could, you maybe able to fake being a journalist, camera man/woman (for a documentary wink wink), ect.. It should be fairly easy to get a the documents and other credentials. Or if you know the right people, hell go on the internet see if you cannot find someone who has some exempt status to visit Cuba, and go half in on the expenses.

Just a thought not to be taken literally... But I may take it literally and try it.

I live in Canada (5, Insightful)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about three weeks ago | (#47347413)

We go there for vacation whenever the fuck we want. Americans need to get fucking clue and get over themselves. It's just fucking Cuba. No big deal. America has relations with China, and they've executed WAY more political prisoners than Cuba has, and you;re probably reading this on a Chinese built computer. So bag the anti-communist BS and grow up.

Re:I live in Canada (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347435)

No big deal.

Whew. Thanks for keeping it clean and not using the F-bomb there, like uneducated Internet forum posters are wont to do.

Re:I live in Canada (3, Interesting)

binarylarry (1338699) | about three weeks ago | (#47347445)

I think it raises the question, is he really Canadian?

Re:I live in Canada (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about three weeks ago | (#47347845)

Fuckin' eh, man. Sorry.

Re:I live in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347909)

Of course not, he's just living there. He's probably Chinese.

Re:I live in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347835)

I forgot that the Slashdot moderators like to mod posts w/ F-bombs and other profanities so long as it takes the politically correct view:

"Why the FUCK doesn't Congress act while these fucking RIAA/MPAA thugs are dicking people around and taking away their fundamental rights?"

(Mods think: Wow, that's really powerful and moving.)
+5 Informative
+5 Insightful
+5 Slashdot

Great job, mods!

Re:I live in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47348025)

It has never been a problem to say fuck on Slashdot. It's just a word. It doesn't even mean much -- that's why it's called an expletive.

Re:I live in Canada (2)

mattyj (18900) | about three weeks ago | (#47347511)

The issue with the US government is really communism, read up on your American history a little bit before posting stupid crap like this.

Granted, by this time it's more of a grudge than anything. BTW, China has a lot more at stake when it comes to the US, like carrying a significant amount of our debt and as you so eloquently explain, importing every manner of toy and electronic device. It behooves the US to allow travel there. It has nothing to do with communism but everything to do with commerce. Cube doesn't have as much to offer the government.

Having been to Cuba, I kinda fear what would happen if the US had unfettered access to the country. Despite all its problems, it's largely untouched by US interests, and that was refreshing. I don't even think Cuba has the concept of a franchise, except maybe when it comes to gas stations. There's no such thing as a 'chain' there, everything is one-off. Although, for some reason you can get M&M's and Pringles. Other than that, you're forced to go native and it was pretty great.

Re:I live in Canada (3, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347559)

stations. There's no such thing as a 'chain' there, everything is one-off. Although, for some reason you can get M&M's and Pringles. Other than that, you're forced to go native and it was pretty great.

It is a lot less great if you live there. That is why they flee by the thousands, or tens of thousands, when they get a chance.

Fifty years later, Cubans still are fleeing the revolution [nytimes.com]

The Lost World, Part I [worldaffairsjournal.org]

I’m used to seeing military and police checkpoints when I travel abroad. Every country in the Middle East has them, including Israel if you count the one outside the airport. The authorities in that part of the world are looking for guns and bombs mostly. The Cuban authorities aren’t worried about weapons. No one but the regime has anything deadlier than a baseball bat.

Castro’s checkpoints are there to ensure nobody has too much or the wrong kind of food.

Police officers pull over cars and search the trunk for meat, lobsters, and shrimp. They also search passenger bags on city busses in Havana. Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez wrote about it sarcastically in her book, Havana Real. “Buses are stopped in the middle of the street and bags inspected to see if we are carrying some cheese, a lobster, or some dangerous shrimp hidden among our personal belongings.”

If they find a side of beef in the trunk, so I’m told, you’ll go to prison for five years if you tell the police where you got it and ten years if you don’t.

No one is allowed to have lobsters in Cuba. You can’t buy them in stores, and they sure as hell aren’t available on anyone’s ration card. They’re strictly reserved for tourist restaurants owned by the state.

The Lost World, Part II [worldaffairsjournal.org]

Re:I live in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347585)

Yeah, I would totally prefer to be "free" to live illiterate and in abject poverty were I Cuban. If only we had been able to keep the literal gangsters in control.

Re:I live in Canada (0, Flamebait)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347809)

In Cuba the communist gangsters are in control of the government, and many Cubans do live in poverty. I wouldn't make too many bets about the literacy rate either. People still try to flee Cuba by the thousands each year, risking death or prison. I expect you can't figure out why.

Re:I live in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347899)

Wow, you are fucking stupid. Citizens hold the vast majority of the debt.

Re:I live in Canada (0, Flamebait)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347517)

I live in Canada . . . We go there for vacation whenever the fuck we want. Americans need to get fucking clue and get over themselves. It's just fucking Cuba. No big deal. America has relations with China, and they've executed WAY more political prisoners than Cuba has, and you;re probably reading this on a Chinese built computer. So bag the anti-communist BS and grow up.

By your words and tone I take it you're a fan? What's not to like about Cuba, eh?

How Cuba became the newest hotbed for tourists craving sex with minors [miamiherald.com]

Foreign tourists, especially Canadians and Spaniards, are travelling to Cuba in surprising numbers for sex — and not just with adult prostitutes. They are finding underage girls and boys, a joint investigation by The Toronto Star and El Nuevo Herald has found.

Cuban rights abuses, jailings up in new repressive wave [usatoday.com]

How Cuba is exporting repression to Venezuela [nypost.com]

Re:I live in Canada (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347543)

Yes, American media, particularly media from Miami, could not possibly be biased about Cuba.

Re:I live in Canada (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347567)

Oh, how sad for you: " ... a joint investigation by The Toronto Star and El Nuevo Herald has found. . . "

Re:I live in Canada (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347631)

Yes, they found that Canadians were traveling to Cuba for sex. Would you blame the US government if I could find a Canadian that travels to Detroit for sex? Talk about slow-pitch baseball....

Anyway, I'm confused- do you want MORE repression (i.e., the Cuban government gets all invasive about what every young person is doing in the company of anyone on the lighter side of white) or LESS repression (i.e. limits its "repressive jailings" as you mention below)?

Re:I live in Canada (-1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347777)

Anyway, I'm confused...

You've got that right. You've either very confused, or you've gone for the hat trick - race baiting and clueless. Fabulous. But hey, it's only sex with children, right? You ok with that bro?

Don't you think that the Cuban government could act to reduce child sex tourism without resorting to even more political oppression?

Re:I live in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347591)

So let's keep up the embargo, it's clearly working.

Re:I live in Canada (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347627)

It certainly helps.

The Time to Help Cuba’s Brave Dissidents Is Now: Why the Embargo Must Not be Lifted [pjmedia.com]

It would be better if more countries supported it.

Re:I live in Canada (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347825)

Any day now, the People will rise up and cast out Fidel Castro! Aaaaany day now!

Oh who am I kidding, thanks to you sucking up to the government's dick when it comes to surveillance (no no, I get it, it's OKAY when AMERICA spies on AMERICANS, but Cuba should be forbidden from spying on Cubans), Castro (that's Raul, in case you didn't notice) probably knows the identity of every single dissident on his island, and thanks to the US's welcoming arms, pretty much everyone who didn't like it there has already left, so there's not that many to keep track of.

Re:I live in Canada (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347921)

It took the Russians nearly 75 years to throw off communism, and the rest of Eastern Europe about 46 years. Cuba might have a few more years to go, but it will eventually happen.

Oh who am I kidding, thanks to you sucking up to the government's dick when it comes to surveillance ..., Castro ... probably knows the identity of every single dissident on his island, and thanks to the US's welcoming arms, pretty much everyone who didn't like it there has already left, so there's not that many to keep track of.

That makes no sense at all..... which is probably why you don't seem to object to Cuba's communist oppression - no sense.

Re:I live in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47348045)

You want to help some Brave Dissidents, go visit them. Being isolated from the world doesn't help them.

Re:I live in Canada (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347527)

My computer was made in Taiwan, you insensitive clod.

Re: I live in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347735)

That's now referred to as the 'Taiwan Extremely Autonomous Region', comrade.

Re:I live in Canada (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about three weeks ago | (#47347831)

also known as the Republic of China.

Re:I live in Canada (1)

donscarletti (569232) | about three weeks ago | (#47347951)

also known as the Republic of China.

Officially, Taiwan is simply a province of China. Whether it is a province of the Republic of China or of the People's Republic of China is still a matter of disagreement.

Re:I live in Canada (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347673)

Americans need to get fucking clue and get over themselves.

I'm not sure what the polling data indicates, but count me as an American who thinks the Cuba embargo is not just a foolish anachronism, but an actual violation of the fundamental right to travel freely.

Like a lot of things in the USA, there is a powerful lobby propping it up. Aside from that, if Cuban cigars weren't illegal, what else could crooked politicians proffer to show their power and connections? Interestingly enough, of the handful of cigars I've smoked the one that was said to be Cuban had an uneven burn and unraveled a bit. OTOH, it was actually quite smooth for a cigar so maybe somebody just had a bad day. I don't know what the penalty is for smoking a Cuban, or what the statute of limitations is. I'd be amazed if they'd come after me after something like 20 years... but you never know, so AC it is. Yeah, crazy that I have to act like that in America and I don't blame you Canadians for thinking it's ridiculous but to cycle back to what I said, it isn't all of us.

Come to think of it, I'm in the habit of reminding people about that when it comes to Iran, having known some Iranian expats over the years... A lot of them are trapped over there too. Of course that's a whole different level of oppression. Unfortunately we've been closing the gap...

Re:I live in Canada (4, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about three weeks ago | (#47347681)

At this point, it has very little to do with communism. Florida is a big primary state and a big electoral state. Florida has a lot of Cuban-americans who would prefer we invade the island. They have traditionally fiercely opposed lifting the sanctions. Evidently this isn't as true as it was [huffingtonpost.com] . Still, outside of cuban americans, not many people care one way or the other.

Thus, politicians gain very little and risk quite a bit by opposing the sanctions.

And yes, it is fucking stupid on multiple levels: it was probably always counter-productive, political leaders should show some fucking backbone and end it, citizens shouldn't be so apathetic about keeping an entire nation impoverished, and why is florida even allowed to vote? [twitter.com]

But, dumb as all that is, "we still hate communism" is not a big reason why we still have sanctions.

Corn lobby (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about three weeks ago | (#47347861)

Sure blame the Floridanos but isn't the problem the agricultural sector?

Stop making fructose and ethanol from government subsidized maize.

Pay Mexican farmers a decent price for corn and you might see less 'illegals' crossing the border. Kickstart the Cuban economy by buying their sugar.

Re:I live in Canada (-1, Redundant)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347981)

At this point, it has very little to do with communism. Florida is a big primary state and a big electoral state. Florida has a lot of Cuban-americans who would prefer we invade the island. They have traditionally fiercely opposed lifting the

No, it is still pretty much about the oppressive communist state of Cuba. There won't be any US invasion of Cuba, the US pledged to not do that as part of settling the Cuban missile crisis.

Looking Back on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 50 Years Later [usip.org]

the Soviets removed the missiles already deployed in Cuba, and Soviet ships under sail with missile cargoes returned to Soviet ports. In return, the United States agreed to remove a squadron of already obsolete medium-range Jupiter missiles based in Turkey as long as that part of the deal was kept secret. In addition, the United States publicly pledged it would not invade Cuba.

Activists in Cuba support the continuation of the embargo.

The Time to Help Cuba’s Brave Dissidents Is Now: Why the Embargo Must Not be Lifted [pjmedia.com]

Re:I live in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347711)

You live in Canada?

But you do all your shopping in the US to avoid those outrageous Canadian taxes [thestar.com] .

Enjoy your next vacation in Mogadishu or Kandahar.

Re:I live in Canada (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about three weeks ago | (#47347789)

Oh yeah, if the US didn't protect us all from the bad, bad terrrrrists...

Know what? Why don't we give it a try? Just stop "protecting" the world.

Not quite (5, Informative)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about three weeks ago | (#47347423)

Restrictions are on commerce not travel.

You can go there as long as you don't spend any money.

Re:Not quite (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about three weeks ago | (#47347493)

Can I spend bitcoin? Trade for goods with gold?

Re:Not quite (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about three weeks ago | (#47347611)

Actually, you can't legally spend U.S. dollars. If you change your money for a foreign currency before you get there you're legally ok. You might get harassed anyways, of course.

Not quite (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347991)

Wrong, wrong, wrong (this used to be true but changed over 10 years ago, see 31 CFR 515.420).

There is so much bad legal advice in these comments, I would exceed Slashdot's posting limit if I tried to correct it all. I sincerely hope that nobody gets legal information from Slashdot threads.

Re:Not quite (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about three weeks ago | (#47348231)

31 CFR 515.420 does not refute anything that WaffleMonster said.

America the free lol (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347427)

Funny how they act that Cuba is soo taboo. Personally I been to Cuba 8 times already. Nicest beaches i have ever seen, and everything is pretty cheap there (except Havana), relatively safe and nice people. Also met a few Americans going through Canada.

flat out wrong (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about three weeks ago | (#47347431)

All Americans can travel to Cuba.
There are constraints and restrictions, but they're mostly bureaucratic and pretty much trivial.

Re:flat out wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347869)

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've seen plenty of US Citizens talk about traveling to Cuba on Facebook. I seem to recall it was made pretty easy years ago...

Good luck with that ... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347481)

... another significant visit to a place where Internet access is either forbidden or impractical for most of the citizenry; hopefully it heralds change on that front.

Good luck with that. Maybe they'll turn a few of their '57 Chevys into mobile hot spots.

Cuban rights abuses, jailings up in new repressive wave [usatoday.com]

The Lost World, Part I [worldaffairsjournal.org]
The Lost World, Part II [worldaffairsjournal.org]
Condom shortage hits Cuba [miamiherald.com]

Re:Good luck with that ... (3)

Patent Lover (779809) | about three weeks ago | (#47347619)

Cuba's only #7. Guess who's tied for #1? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347637)

The concept you are overlooking is "political oppression." People in Cuba are jailed and tortured for speaking out against the Cuban government. In the US, not so much. In the US people go to jail for ordinary criminal activity.

Re:Good luck with that ... (3, Insightful)

Patent Lover (779809) | about three weeks ago | (#47347661)

No, they go to jail for being black in a black neighborhood. When was the last time you were stopped and frisked while walking down the street?

Re:Good luck with that ... (-1, Offtopic)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347773)

"Being black in a black neighborhood" isn't a chargeable offense. Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon or drugs is.

You shouldn't ignore that there are differences in the rate of offenses. You can see that in murder stats.

Murder by Numbers [americanthinker.com]

In over 52% of the murders in the US in 2011 in which the race of the murderer was known, the murderer was black. Over half of the victims of murder were also black. But blacks are only 13.6% of the population. Put all that together, and the murder rate in the US for non-blacks was more like 2.6 per 100,000 in 2011.

As Peter Baldwin put it in his book, The Narcissism of Minor Differences, "Take out the black underclass from the statistics, and even American murder rates fall to European levels."

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47347783)

It's not "off topic" if I respond to a post on the same subject. And why didn't you mark the post I responded to as "off topic"?

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

alvinrod (889928) | about three weeks ago | (#47348073)

And why didn't you mark the post I responded to as "off topic"?

I'm going to guess because Slashdot doesn't have a "-1 Disagree" moderation option, but that's just my guess. That and Troll or Flamebait probably wouldn't stand up in meta-moderation, but Off-Topic might not get flagged.

Re:Good luck with that ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47348327)

"Being black in a black neighborhood" isn't a chargeable offense. Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon or drugs is.

It's not exactly difficult for an officer to come up with a reason to arrest anyone, whether based on fictitious or real crimes. For instance, even if you committed no crime, you can still be arrested for resisting arrest; and it's not as though you actually have to resisted arrest to be arrested for it -- the cop just has to say you did.

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

nbauman (624611) | about three weeks ago | (#47348379)

"Being black in a black neighborhood" isn't a chargeable offense. Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon or drugs is.

Yes, but stopping and frisking people without legal grounds is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. And in the U.S., blacks get stopped in black neighborhoods all the time. Whites don't.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new... [nydailynews.com]

Americans who condemn Cuba for oppression should spend some time condemning their own country for its oppression.

Re:Good luck with that ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47348405)

Yeah, it turns out that if the police aggressively pursue one race and push them through a justice system which isn't entirely impartial, they're more likely to get locked up - who'da thought it? But, yeah, in a free country, goodness knows how consistent it is to have government-issued licenses to carry things! And the law's not phrased as "carrying the dried leaves of some plant while black", so it's definitely not politically motivated - the only way to oppress people is with unambiguous language. Those darkies are just engaging in "ordinary criminal activity", amirite?

Perhaps a law specifically against "disagreeing with the COMMUNIST government" is necessary and sufficient? add specific words like "terrorism" for good measure. Hm, no, not the latter - a state which uses any sort of sophistication or subtlety must be advanced enough to be Truly Free.

But it's good to see that your horrific vision of the whole world under the yoke of Americanism (which pales the impact of an island socialist monarchy into irrelevance) includes a fervent racism. I do like consistency in mad ideologues.

And has anyone told you that you're writing increasingly like apk?

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about three weeks ago | (#47347805)

So that can mean one of a few things now.

1) The US executive is far more successful in finding criminals than anyone else on the planet.
2) The US have far more laws that get you jailed.
3) People in the US are naturally more criminal than elsewhere.
4) Something makes US people commit crimes.

Well? Which one is it?

Re:Good luck with that ... (2)

donscarletti (569232) | about three weeks ago | (#47348001)

So Cubans are oppressed but Americans deserve to be punished?

Man, you should be writing speeches for anti-American demagogues the world over (apart from Raul Castro of course).

Also, lots of blacks in Cuba. Cuban censuses distinguish "negro" from "mullato", whereas they are all called "black" in the US, but put them together and the numbers are much higher in Cuba. So your little eugenic theories below don't even work.

Re:Good luck with that ... (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47348107)

So Cubans are oppressed but Americans deserve to be punished?

Maybe this will help - armed robbery is a crime in both countries and you will go to prison. Only in Cuba would you go to prison for advocating democratic reform of the government. Cubans are in jail for both armed robbery and advocating democratic reform of government. Only Americans committing armed robbery would be in jail, advocating reform of government isn't a crime. Political oppression is a regular fact of life in Cuba. People go to jail for criticizing the government, making Castro jokes, wanting to practice their religious faith, or simply desiring to leave the country. Is that making sense to you?

Your line about blacks in Cuba is nonsensical.

Re:Good luck with that ... (1)

nbauman (624611) | about three weeks ago | (#47348427)

So Cubans are oppressed but Americans deserve to be punished?

Maybe this will help - armed robbery is a crime in both countries and you will go to prison. Only in Cuba would you go to prison for advocating democratic reform of the government. Cubans are in jail for both armed robbery and advocating democratic reform of government. Only Americans committing armed robbery would be in jail, advocating reform of government isn't a crime. Political oppression is a regular fact of life in Cuba. People go to jail for criticizing the government, making Castro jokes, wanting to practice their religious faith, or simply desiring to leave the country. Is that making sense to you?

Your line about blacks in Cuba is nonsensical.

Americans certainly do go to jail for criticizing the government -- and especially for trying to use the electoral system to change it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

You also obviously don't know that Americans were prevented from leaving their country too. Go look up "Linus Pauling" and "Paul Robeson" on Wikipedia. The U.S. passport had a department for deciding whether American citizens were politically reliable enough to get a passport.

And black people certainly got killed for trying to vote.

Where did you learn American history?

Obviously not in a state where they allowed teachers to assign books like Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States.

And this will acomplish...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47347583)

In a fit of self promotion and unmitigated ego, Mr Schmidt somehow thinks that world dictators give a Xx&$ about Google. "Yeah, I ruthlessly exploited my people and pointedly ignored world opinion and sanctions - but a nerd from a company that sells internet advertising has shown me the error in my ways because somehow having internet access cures all woes and human suffering".

Ya - freedom of movement (1)

no-body (127863) | about three weeks ago | (#47347667)

US - the free country and people living there proud of all that freedom can't travel to this island?
Just be proud, don't read the small print and the world is OK.
Ah - don't forget to hang your flag out the frontyard.
Solves everything.

Re:Ya - freedom of movement (1)

nbauman (624611) | about three weeks ago | (#47348433)

Ah - don't forget to hang your flag out the frontyard.

The one with the 50 states or the Confederate one?

United States embargo against Cuba (1)

simbioz (1285950) | about three weeks ago | (#47348009)

[The Cuban Democracy Act was signed into law in 1992 with the stated purpose of maintaining sanctions on Cuba so long as the Cuban government continues to refuse to move toward "democratization and greater respect for human rights"] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] Vietnam war with napalm was very respecful of HR, also the invasion of Irak because of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the NSA being a "big brother" seems very democratic too. My point here is the cinical atitude from the US government towards Cuba or to the rest of the world I should say.

The point of the article? (1)

matbury (3458347) | about three weeks ago | (#47348215)

Is the article about an American visiting Cuba or about a multi-billionaire promoting expanding the internet in countries that spend significant amounts of their GDP spying on their own citizens?
 
  Is Schmidt basically telling Cuba, North Korea, et al that he can cut their local spying costs by getting everyone to "speak their mind" online and then recording every word to be used for disrupting opponents and intimidating effective political activists in the same way that the NSA and FBI do? I can see the North Korean and Burmese regime being even less subtle than the CIA in this respect: Rendition and torture en masse at bargain basement prices. What despotic dictator could refuse such a generous offer?

Re:The point of the article? (1)

ruir (2709173) | about three weeks ago | (#47348245)

And dont forget, detecting dissidents and terrorist by their google searchs...

Fiber (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | about three weeks ago | (#47348323)

If there's a god, Raul Castro will announce on Monday that within 5 years, 80% of the Havana metro area will have gigabit fiber to the premises. The announcement will drive our elected officials in South Florida mad, and they'll quickly decide that getting TEN-gigabit municipal FTTP laid across Dade & Broward counties is their #1 priority...

Re:Fiber (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about three weeks ago | (#47348375)

Shit, where do I sign the paperwork for Cuban citizenship? :)

if Google wired up Havana with FTTP, Uncle Raul might see a rush of technological refugees from down [slashdot.org] under [slashdot.org] .

Being credible (1)

Max_W (812974) | about three weeks ago | (#47348515)

I think reaching out to Cuba would do much more good than publicly worrying about its dissidents and freedoms.

It all lacks sincerity, especially after Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Sarah Harrison.

Co-development, sincere equal cooperation would do a lot of good to Cuba and to the USA itself. There are a lot of people and business in the USA who need assistance not less than people and companies in Cuba.
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