[Marxism] Bush: Castro welcomes sex tourism (MH)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 17 05:56:52 MDT 2004

(Bush's latest assault on Cuba uses a distranslated
quote which is TWELVE YEARS OLD in which the Cuban 
leader pointed out that because of the island's
system of total health care for everyone, those who
engage in prostitution are healthier than elsewhere
and their rate of HIV-AIDS infection, like that of
the island's population as a whole, is lower than
anywhere else as well. 

(Someone needs to check the quote from Fidel, which
if memory serves is partially accurate. I don't think
he used the word "hooker", but more likely the word
"jinetera". That word, which translates literally as
"jockey", doesn't have the pejorative implication of

Cuba's leaders do, of course, frankly acknowledge 
a modicum of prostitution is an unavoidable cost of
choosing tourism as a source from which to earn hard
currency for the island. Interestingly, and to its
credit, the Miami Herald's Lesley Clark did a bit of
research which demonstrates that the claim made by
Bush that Fidel "bragged" about prostitution on the
island, was false. Clark also properly frames Bush's
two paragraphs on Cuba together with the broad range
of Bush's policies redefining and attacking the whole
Cuban-American family as an institution.

(It's been said before, but bears periodic repeating,
that in every country in the world, throughout every
stage of human history, people with more money, who
are most often men, find other people with less money,
most often women, and have sex with them. That is by
no means, however, a system of institutionalized sex
work, such as exists in countries where prostitution
is legal, like Panama, Colombia, and the United States
province of Nevada. 

(If Washington were serious about sexual tourism and
human trafficking, it would end legal prostitution in
Nevada, repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act which clearly
encourages human smuggling from Cuba, and would also
go after the smugglers themselves who have brought
thousands of people illegally from the island, most
recently the family of the baseball player Jose 
Contreras and [I don't have the exact figure handy]
something like 20+ others also arriving illegally.)


Bush: Castro welcomes sex tourism
Posted on Fri, Jul. 16, 2004

lclark at herald.com

TAMPA - President Bush on Friday accused Fidel Castro of
taking advantage of U.S. good will in the past to foster
child prostitution in Cuba, turning the island nation into
what the president called a ''major destination'' for
visitors seeking sex.

''The dictator welcomes sex tourism,'' said Bush, who used
a speech devoted to the crime of human trafficking to lash
into Castro, in an apparent defense of his controversial
election-year crackdown on travel to Cuba.

Bush said Castro ''bragged about the industry,'' quoting
him as saying: `` `Cuba has the cleanest and most educated
prostitutes in the world.''

Bush said Castro made the comment ``because sex tourism is
a vital source of hard currency to keep his corrupt
government afloat.''

Castro made the comment in a 1992 address to the Cuban
National Assembly, when he spoke about the country's need
for tourism and acknowledged the presence of prostitutes in
Cuba, even though prostitution is illegal. His actual
words, according to a transcript prepared by the U.S.
Foreign Broadcast Information Service, were: ``We can say
that they are highly educated hookers and quite healthy,
because we are the country with the lowest number of AIDS

Bush's remarks, coming as he addressed the U.S. Department
of Justice's first-ever national training conference on
combatting slavery, seemed design to deflect criticism that
his controversial Cuba policy will hurt Cuban families by
restricting how often they can see each other.

Instead, Bush argued that easing Cuba travel restrictions
in the 1990s led to a spike in child prostitution on the
island. Bush sought to link the travel restrictions to what
he said is a global strategy to bring an end to slavery, a
scourge he called an ``affront to the defining promise of
our country.''

He suggested the restrictions -- enacted after Cuban
American Republicans warned that he risked losing community
support if he didn't get tougher on Castro -- will not only
help tamp down prostitution, but cut off a flow of cash to
the island's leader.

''The regime in Havana, already one of the worst violators
of human rights in the world, is adding to its crimes,'' he

Citing a report from the Protection Project at Johns
Hopkins University, Bush said that Cuba has ''replaced
Southeast Asia as a destination for pedophiles and sex
tourists'' and that the easing of restrictions before he
took office led to an ''influx of American and Canadian
tourists'' and a ``sharp increase in child prostitution.''

The report, however, says Cuba is ''one of many countries''
that has replaced Southeast Asia as a sex tourism magnet,
``according to general news accounts.''

Bush's visit was billed as a non-political White House
event, but Bush tucked in a plug for his Cuba policy, which
critics say seeks to appease hardline Cuban American
exiles, a key GOP voting bloc in the state that decided the
2000 election by just 537 votes.

''My administration is working toward a comprehensive
solution to this problem,'' Bush said, referring to the sex
tourism industry in Cuba. ``The rapid, peaceful transition
to democracy in Cuba. We have put a strategy in place to
hasten the day when no Cuban child is exploited to finance
a failed revolution and every Cuban citizen will live in

Bush's policies, which limit family travel to once every
three years and restrict educational travel, have come
under fire from some moderate Cuban Americans, who support
a trade embargo but want to be able to travel and support
relatives in Cuba.

Democrats have sought to exploit the potential divide, with
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry denouncing
Bush's move as a ''cynical, election-year'' ploy. Kerry has
said would encourage ''principled travel'' to the island
and his campaign suggested Friday that Bush's travel ban
has only ``increased the suffering of the Cuban people and
Cuban Americans with family on the island.''

Strategists have suggested the focus on human trafficking
could help Bush court religious conservatives who have
pushed the administration to crack down on slavery, as well
as give Bush an issue to close a gender gap as some polls
show some women prefer Kerry.

Bush appeared with his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, whom he
lauded for signing into law a bill that makes human
trafficking a felony in Florida. Neither man mentioned that
the legislation was sponsored in the House and Senate last
spring by two of the Legislature's most liberal Democrats,
Sen. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Rep. Anne
Gannon of Delray Beach.

''I'm really glad to see the administration supports the
Democratic agenda of helping women,'' said Wasserman
Schultz. ``It's good to see they are coming over to our way
of thinking. It's just unfortunate that his budget
priorities don't match the rhetoric.''

Other Democrats accused Bush of lagging to enact an
international protocol against human trafficking that a
departing President Bill Clinton had signed.

''It was left dormant until earlier this year,'' U.S. Sen.
Bill Nelson told reporters at a conference call arranged by
the Kerry campaign. ``For three years this administration
has not moved on it.''

Human traffickers smuggle between 14,500 and 17,500 people
into the U.S. every year, forcing them to work, often
without pay, in brothels, sweatshops and farm fields.
Florida, along with California and New York, is among the
three states with the highest incidence of reported human
trafficking cases.

Bush spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that Bush has
long considered human trafficking a high priority.

And Bush vowed to the conference attendees, who included
Justice Department lawyers and victim advocates, that he
would aggressively seek to punish those who trade in

''Human life is the gift of our Creator -- and it should
never be for sale,'' he said.

(On the website of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where
this Los Angeles Times story was posted, you can find THREE
different versions of the "Bush attacks Castro over sex"
story. Later it seems a bit of research was done and a more
accurate account of what the Cuban leader really did say
about this TWELVE YEARS AGO, is given here.

(Bush's contempt for his audiences is obvious, since
whatever brains he may or may not have, his handlers are
not stupid. They know that actual factual accuracy is of no
importance to those righist Cuban exiles to whom he is
appealing with these fabrications.)

Castro Promotes Sex Tourism, Bush Says
By Maura Reynolds
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Posted July 17 2004

TAMPA, Fla. - President Bush vowed Friday to crack down at
home and abroad on human trafficking, calling it "one of
the worst offenses against human dignity," and accused
Cuban President Fidel Castro of encouraging the growth of
sex tourism in the island nation.

Speaking at a conference of law enforcement officials
sponsored by the Department of Justice, Bush quoted the
Cuban leader as bragging that "Cuba has the cleanest and most-educated
prostitutes in the world."

White House staff acknowledged later that the quote
attributed to Castro came from a research paper posted on a University of
Texas website that indicated the Cuban leader made the comment in the early
1990s. Aides could not provide independent verification that Castro had said

A database search did not turn up a quote identical to
Bush's citation. However, Castro apparently has said that although
prostitution is outlawed in Cuba, its prostitutes are healthy, educated and
do it without coercion.

"There are hookers, but prostitution is not allowed in our country," Castro
said in July 1992, according to a translation of the speech by the British
Broadcasting Corp.

"There are no women forced to sell themselves to a man, to
a foreigner, to a tourist. Those who do so do it on their
own, voluntarily and without any need for it. We can say
that they are highly educated hookers and quite healthy, because we are the
country with the lowest number of AIDS cases. . Therefore, there is truly no
tourism healthier than Cuba's."

Bush, in his remarks, said, "The trade in human beings
brings suffering to the innocent and shame to our country
and we will lead the fight against it.

"My administration is working toward a comprehensive
solution of this problem: The rapid, peaceful transition to democracy in
Cuba. We have put a strategy in place to hasten the day when no Cuban child
is exploited to finance a failed revolution and every Cuban citizen will
live in freedom."

Experts say the U.S. legal system has often penalized the victims of
trafficking by prosecuting them as illegal immigrants or prostitutes. A new
body of law and practice aims to shift the focus to prosecuting the
traffickers and rescuing their victims, who are now eligible for refugee
status if they cooperate with prosecutors.

The Tampa conference was the first of a series designed to train local law
enforcement officials to recognize the difference between illegal
immigration and human trafficking, and the difference between prostitution
and sexual enslavement.

The State Department estimates that as many as 17,500
adults and children are trafficked across U.S. borders each year.


Staff writers Kathleen Hennessey in Washington and Maria LaGanga in San
Francisco contributed to this report.

Copyright C 2004, The Los Angeles Times

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