It's a tragedy that this hostility and antagonism between Cuba and the U.S. has gone on for 45 years. The island is only 90 miles off our shores. If the anti-Castro fanatics had immigrated to Nebraska instead of vote-rich Florida, the embargo would have ended years ago.

Robert Emmerling

Miami Shores

Who's Calling Who a Zealot?

Max Castro, Fidel Castro -- what's the difference? When Max Castro says "it wasn't supposed to be this way," he sounds like a bride left at the altar. His bias, which is not so different from the comandante in Cuba with whom he shares his last name, is strikingly apparent in the hodgepodge of distorted facts and conjecture he calls an article.

While Mr. Castro makes a very compelling yet skewed argument, he fails to mention those things that would otherwise soften his position. Many of the people protesting these new restrictions are people who own businesses that specialize in sending remittances and packages to Cuba. Castro avoids mentioning that family travel is a widely abused system serving as a way to get products into Cuba for businesses, businesses that must maintain political silence to continue operations under the tyrannical Fidel Castro regime.

A large percentage of Cubans who go to the island regularly are not visiting their abuelita; they are mulas or mulos, people who are paid to take supplies to dollar stores on the island. Another large percentage of travelers to Cuba are people who practice sexual tourism. They go to Cuba because instead of paying for a prostitute in, say, Paris, where it will cost them a significant amount of money, they can go to Cuba and pay five dollars for a good time with a Cuban girl who is barely a woman.

Max Castro states that the cultural and educational exchanges recently curtailed were popular, but he doesn't explain why they've been so popular, especially with the regime in Havana. The regime is getting some of its population educated in the U.S. while we are getting the raw deal of having American college students conned into thinking they can expand their horizons by going to Cuba to "get educated" -- that is, studying The Communist Manifesto.

He also mentions that U.S. business and agriculture lobbies have come out against the embargo because they have a vested interest in Cuba. For those who are too ignorant to figure it out, their vested interest is money! They don't care about the humanitarian situation under Fidel Castro's regime; they care only about their bottom line.

Why doesn't Max Castro see himself as the zealot? What do you call a man who is constantly advocating trade with the regime in Havana? What do you call a man who has never, to my knowledge, condemned the tyrannical Castro regime? I call him a left-wing fanatic.

While he believes that we in el exilio, by supporting these measures, are handing to Fidel Castro the mantle of the defender of the Cuban family, we are not. We are showing the world that Fidel is the true divider, the one whose actions over the past 45 years have made these sanctions a necessary part of political life.

Keith Fernández

Pembroke Pines

Newly Arrived at Wal-Mart: Cuban Cigars?

The embargo has made millionaires of some greedy exiles: Max Castro's fine article detailing control of U.S. foreign policy by a small number of Cuban-American zealots missed one thing: the zealots' current financial advantage in maintaining the embargo.

Many of these pre-1975 Cuban immigrants dominate the Caribbean sugar, rum, and tobacco industries. If the economic embargo against Cuba is lifted, their near monopolies and tax breaks would end with the influx of better, cheaper Cuban products.

These same hard-line Cubans also receive huge payments from the CIA and the U.S. State Department to produce anti-Castro propaganda. As Max Castro suggests, this embargo is not just about the grudges of some elderly Cubans; it is also about their greed.

Edward Yates

Larkspur, California

Embargo Alternative: Flood the Zone

Open the gates and let America rush in: I ran across a link to Max Castro's "Triumph of the Zealots" on I must be among the 85 percent of Americans who believe that our nation's official policy toward Cuba is, in a word, silly.

Let us instead crush Fidel Castro with kindness.

Andrew Grabiec

Los Lunas, New Mexico

Embargo This!

Why do you think the Diaz-Balarts are such hardliners? The outrageous, unconstitutional, and definitely not conservative Cuba travel ban is not just a political ploy. In its latest form it also constitutes gratuitous cruelty, implemented for the sake of a family feud.

Family feud? That's right. Ultra-hard-line Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and his sidekick brother Mario are cousins of Fidel Castro! Didn't know that? Just do some Googling! If they could push a button and destroy Cuba and everyone in it to get rid of their hated kinfolk, I'm sure they'd do it.

They have no reason to visit there, nor would they dare. So why should they care about separating lonely, grieving, even terminally ill family members? They're a disgrace, and so is Dubya for catering to them.

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