|Carnival Cruise Line ship and Cuban-born protester|
|Plane over American Airlines Arena with "Boycott Bigoted Carnival Cruise Line" banner|
Today the Castro regime announced that Cuban-born people would be allowed to travel on the May 1, 2016 cruise and was loosening the overall policy. This is a good thing and an example of the power of active nonviolence to effect positive change.
It is important to remember that the Obama Treasury Department on July 7, 2015 signed off on the Carnival Cruise Line - Castro regime deal that discriminated against an entire class of Americans based on their national origin.
It is also important to remember that although Cuban-born people are now allowed on the boat they are still being discriminated against when compared to their non-Cuban counterparts. The Sun Sentinel Editorial board on April 20, 2016 outlined these discriminatory practices by the Castro regime with some key facts.
- Americans visiting Cuba must present a valid passport and a special tourist card that costs $75.
- Cuban-born Americans who immigrated after January 1971 must purchase a Cuban passport — even though they have renounced their Cuban citizenship and are now U.S. citizens. These passports are valid for six years and cost $375. To keep these passports active, holders must pay $230 every two years.
- Cuban-born Americans who left Cuba before January 1971 may use their U.S. passport, but must apply for an HE-11 visa, which costs $250, lasts only 90 days and can take months to obtain.
No longer separate but still unequal.
However this separate and unequal treatment of Cuban-born citizens of the United States by the Castro regime should give rise to a question: How are Cubans living in the island treated by the dictatorship?
Cubans have been shot and killed by Cuban state security agents as recently as 2015 for trying to leave Cuba. The body count of the Castro dictatorship is still rising. The Florida Straits under the Castro regime has been the equivalent of the Berlin Wall, but with estimates of 100,000 killed by academic scholars.
As Cuban-born citizens of the United States now enjoy their May 1, 2016 cruise across the Florida Straits to Cuba, hopefully they will pause for a moment and say a prayer for all those who perished there seeking freedom.