Co-authored by Derek Poppert
The recent changes in U.S. policy toward Cuba have produced plenty of U.S. media coverage examining the things Cuba is lacking: freedom of the press, new paint on buildings, leaders less than 80 years old.
But our media have failed to document the many other things Cuba is lacking. Having visited Cuba regularly for many years, we would like to offer the following list.
- Cuba does not have an epidemic of white police killing black people.
- Cuba does not have thousands of homeless people living on sidewalks and downtown doorways.
- Cuba does not have millions of people who can't afford basic medical care.
- Cuba does not run torture centers in other people's countries (Guantanamo ring a bell?).
- Cuba does not have thousands of homeless military veterans strung out on drugs and alcohol.
- Cuba does not have military personnel committing suicide and spousal abuse at a much higher rate than the general population.
- Cuba does not have an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.
- Cuba does not have schools with metal detectors to keep out gun violence.
- Cuba does not have an epidemic of rape on its college campuses.
- Cuba does not have earthquakes caused by oil companies pumping toxic oil into ground water aquifers. (Check the recent history of Oklahoma.)
- Cuba does not have industry and agriculture that produce 25 percent of the world's pollution.
- Cuba does not have a national legislature that is bought and sold by large corporations.
- Cuba does not have a finance sector that crashed the global economy, causing people to lose their homes, and then having the criminal money-changers pay fines instead of going to jail.
So, yes, let's normalize relations with Cuba so they can enjoy the same quality of life that we enjoy here in the United States.
Dr. Kevin Danaher is a Co-Founder of Global Exchange, an international human rights organization, and Derek Poppert is the Latin America Reality Tours Director at Global Exchange, which has been taking hundreds of U.S. groups to Cuba for 25 years.