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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

World Still Looks to Cuba as an Alternative Model

October 15, 2003

"Bush Steps Up Effort to Destabilize Castro's Regime" (Oct. 11), on the Bush administration's plans for further restricting visits by U.S. citizens to Cuba, quotes President Bush as saying tourists support an "illicit sex trade" encouraged by the Cuban government that exploits "innocent women and children." This is a falsehood. As visitors to the island for research and educational instruction over the last 30 years, and specifically once a year for the last four years, we can testify that this organized "trade" simply does not exist.

The vast majority of the Cuban people remain supportive of the present system. Cubans value their sovereignty, and most resent the increasingly overt way in which U.S. officials based in Cuba, including the head of the U.S. Interests Section, are instructing and materially supporting dissidents.

Even U.S. opponents of the current policy often claim that Cubans need to be able to enjoy the "benefits of capitalism." The results of U.S.-dominated capitalism in most of the countries of the Third World have not proved beneficial for the majority of their citizens. Fidel Castro is a figure paid attention to and admired in nations whose peoples are seeking alternative models for progress. In the U.S., changing Cuba is the objective of most of the leaders of both our ruling political parties; the disagreement is on how to do it. Why is this? They do not recognize that Cuba is a still-vibrant and credible challenge to an unjust and destructive world order.

Donald W. Bray

Professor Emeritus Political Science

Marjorie W. Bray

Professor, Latin American Studies, Cal State L.A.

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