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Letters: Cuban realities and 'Havana moments'

Thinking about traveling to Cuba? An @latimestravel reader writes to stay away if you support freedom

I beg to differ with the criticism by letter writer Michael Sulman that the U.S. "has done everything possible to destroy [Cuba's] economy over the last 50 years" [Letters, May 17].

It was Fidel Castro and his cronies who destroyed Cuba's economy by eliminating all free enterprise and replacing it with Stalinist-style doctrinaire communism. The U.S. made overtures to Castro shortly after he overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista, but Castro spurned us for the Soviet Union. He then nearly caused a nuclear holocaust by urging Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to bomb our cities during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. He and his brother have brutally suppressed all dissent during their disastrous 56-year rule.

Let us hope for the sake of the Cuban people that this failed Marxist experiment ends soon, as it eventually has in nearly every other nation that has tried it.

Peter Rich

Los Angeles


Regarding "On a Roll," May 10: Does access to the new Cuba, with its lure of some 50 years of being locked in the past, include visits to the regime's political prisons, where anyone who expresses opposition to the country's totalitarian regime is housed at no cost for years on end?

No cost except for the loss of freedom. But who cares? As a tourist, you'll have access to beaches, classic cars, real cigars and a welcoming population.

Most of the island's American visitors probably support paying a $15-per-hour minimum wage here at home. Welcome to Cuba, where those who'll be waiting on you hand and foot already are paid that — per month.

Stay away. If you support freedom at home, you should do the same abroad.

Len Frank

West Los Angeles


Since our visit to Cuba two years ago, I have had many "Havana moments" as I drive Los Angeles' streets, especially Rampart with its crumbling Art Deco apartment buildings obscured by huge ficus trees.

On subsequent trips to places such as Guanajuato, Mexico, I have had "Cuba moments," because the Spanish colonial architecture is amazingly uniform.

Nowhere but Cuba, however, have I seen fishermen hauling large, safe-to-eat fish from an urban boardwalk, and no place but Cuba has protected its mangroves and wetlands such that it has among the healthiest coral reefs in the Caribbean.

Cuba has an incredible environmental record, not as a result of the embargo, but as a result of a large, well-educated group of ecologists and environmentalists who equate the preservation of their endemic plant and animal species with love of their homeland.

Your article missed the most exciting people in Cuba, and the people probably most in danger of losing influence as capitalism takes over the country.

Even Costa Rica hasn't been able to protect its wetlands on the Pacific coast. The people who destroyed Cancún, Mexico, are trying to do the same to Costa Rica.

Cuba might be next on their agenda.

Francie Klein

Los Feliz

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