To Cuba or not?

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I’ve been dreaming for three months about my trip to Havana in September. Now I am thinking it was a good idea I’m going to miss out on it through no fault of my own. It seems I may not get there because of a new decision from the current administration.

Mine is a personal trip to Cuba, which is the outlawed type of travel now, at least from how I understand it. But I am getting there on a cruise ship, so does that mean it’s not personal but a guided tour? [I think the guided-type trip there is okay.] The ship drops the gangplank and off we go, which doesn’t sound very guided to me. Although there are guided trips one can buy on a ship – quite expensively – so maybe I’ll have to do that? Or stay on the ship? Nothing’s clear.

The friends I’m going with say to just go on hold, that we have some time before we know what’s what. The cruise ship company hasn’t even said what its position is, so I must be patient and continue to dream of my traipsing around in Havana, visiting in my friend’s family home, eating homemade Cuban dinners and using my rusty Espanol.

I now realize that I am being punished because I didn’t vote for the right person. If I had, would I be happy right now because I still can’t go to Cuba? Like the Batista-Cubans-in-Exile in Miami who were wildly happy at the announcement on the 16th? From what I’ve read about them, they don’t want to go if they have to be nice to the people who run Cuba, even though it is their homeland and this might be a chance to walk its streets again. They might want to go if Batista were still in power. He gave power to them, you see, because they were rich, owned plantations and used other Cubans as their serfs. Batista was for the wealthy class. The Cuban Revolution was similar to ours in that both were attempts to cut loose from the economic unfairness of the colonizing power.

Because I voted for the wrong person, and there seems to be a personal vendetta going on, I’m probably going to miss out on a job in the coal mines, too. The underground job gems will go only to those who want them, who from what I understand are those who voted for the “We’ll-bring-back-the-coal-jobs” candidate. [Just recently the number of sustainable energy jobs in the state of Virginia surpassed the number of non-sustainable coal jobs.]

Had I known my vote for the wrong person would be putting me on a collision path with the President of the United States, would I have rethunk my ballot? I had no idea I was going to become his enemy. Or by default, he mine.

I was informed that I was his enemy a few weeks ago from a different perspective . . . because I’m a member of the press and therefore “an enemy of the people,” as he calls some of us. But I know now I am partly his enemy because I didn’t vote for him. And I WILL be punished.

Of course, so will all those who did vote for him, but . . . it’s the democratic way. We get what we vote for. And what we don’t vote for those years that the Electoral College decides our vote.

A lot of good things that happened in the last administration are being broken and tossed by this administration. Most of it seems illogical, for it does resemble the old tale of the new kid in the sandbox breaking all the toys left by the kid who had to go home; the opening up of Cuba is just one of them broken, along with the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Just give him a chance,” the supporters say. “You’ll see.” I believe we are seeing quite clearly already.

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