Ay Fidel, not so good in Cuba these days for political dissenters - not that the record has been spotless. This week Amnesty International put out a report on harrassment of Cuba's "women in white" - relatives of jailed prisoners of conscience. In advance of a March 18 protest by these women, Amnesty asked Cuban President Raúl Castro to ensure a peaceful protest. Instead, it was broken up by force.
Cuba is a favorite vacation spot for Canadians who continue to savour the island before it opens up to U.S. tourism, as Cuba will surely do in the post-Castro era. There are a lot of benefits for the Cuban people. It's true, as Michael Moore points out in SICKO, Cubans have good national health care (although pressured by the embargo).
It's the same with a national education policy and, in Cuban cities, one does not see hordes of impoverished children begging at every intersection. But it can't be ignored that Cuba is a closed state in which dissenters face imprisonment and torture and neighborhood watch committees keep a close on people and report back, a la 1984. Canadians, with so much dollar clout, can make their feelings known about what should be a right to democratic protest to Cuban authorities, as easily as to officials in any country where Canadians travel en masse.