"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004
  Of Cultural Exchanges
Apparently Cuba is not the island paradise the press always presents. From the L.A. Times:
After weeks of speculation about a group defection, 43 members of a Cuban musical revue filed petitions for political asylum Monday in Las Vegas, where they have been performing since August.
Troupe leaders said that seven other members of "Havana Night Club — The Show," who had traveled to Germany, also were planning to seek asylum in the U.S., bringing the total to 50 dancers, singers, musicians and staff.

Knowledgeable observers said they believed that would be the largest such defection of Cuban artists to date.

Nicole Durr, the group's German-born founder and director, said the artists were forced to take the step, leaving most of their relatives back home, because they faced an uncertain future if they returned to Cuba, where the government controls most artistic endeavors.
Not everyone approves of this "defection", however:
San Francisco lawyer Bill Martinez, a pioneer in negotiating Cuban cultural exchanges, said Monday that the mass defection proved that the troupe's affair was politically motivated and designed to embarrass the Castro regime and to spark dissension within the Cuban cultural community.

"It was obviously a game from the beginning," Martinez said. "It's a sad reflection of [U.S.] foreign policy when artists are manipulated to create instability, forcing them to renounce their own government to get a visa. Basically, it's cultural imperialism."
Ah, now I understand. Escaping from a dictatorship is just a game! And the US forced them to renounce Castro! It's a good thing for all those in Cuba that Castro's got them locked up tight - who knows what kinds of horrible things they'd be forced to endure if they came here (freedom, medical care, plentiful food, good housing, new automobiles, computers, air conditioning). Oh, the horror of it all!
 
 POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:30 PM


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