So I read this Washington Post article, and it said that the American Interests section in Havana put a huge scrolling LED sign on the side of the building so they could “broadcast” anti-Castro messages and the wit of George Burns. American diplomats hope that the Cuban people, upon seeing a George Burns quote, will immediately overthrow Castro and welcome back all those patriotic exiles sitting on their asses in Miami. Your tax dollars at work! Well, Castro would just have none of that, so he ordered the installation of 148 flag poles (and flags, obviously) to block the billboard and its subversive messages:
The messages in Havana are diverse. There is cheeky commentary: zany musician Frank Zappa opining that “communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.” There are biting observations, such as George Orwell’s satirical take on communism from “Animal Farm”: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” And there are lengthy document dumps, such as the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with lines such as “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
Now here is what amuses me in regards to this last quote…let’s say I left the United States and traveled to Havana for a nice relaxing vacation on the beach. When I arrived back in the United States, relaxed, tanned and liquored up on mojitos, I would have to submit my customs declaration. If I didn’t write “Cuba” on the list of countries I visited, I would be lying to the federal government, which I’m sure is kinda against the law. If I was honest, and declared that I did visit Cuba, I could go to jail for 10 years and be forced to pay a $250,000 fine. (No joke, look it up on the Treasury Department’s website). WHAT RIGHT DOES THE U.S. GOVERNMENT HAVE TO TELL ME WHERE I CAN AND CANNOT TRAVEL TO?
According to the U.S. Government, I am free to travel to North Korea:
U.S. passports are valid for travel to North Korea and individuals do not need U.S. Government permission to travel there. All transactions ordinarily incident to travel to, from and within North Korea and to maintenance within North Korea are authorized. U.S. travel service providers are authorized to organize group travel to North Korea, including transactions with North Korean carriers.
…but I can’t visit Cuba? I am no fan of Castro, but seriously, WTF? I swear to god, I’m on the verge of becoming a libertarian. I am going to visit Cuba sometime within the next few years, and I’m not getting some goddamn bureaucrat’s permission to go. So, if you want to visit Cuba, let me know and we can break the law together (and hopefully avoid that 10 year prison sentence)!