Jon - Wonderful pictures. Wondreful writeup. Nothing political, just a outsiders view looking in. I really enjoyed the pics and thank you for sharing.
Leocat and W1651 (and any others),
Let me be clear about about my feelings: First, I never said I agreed with our governments decisions on that island. I can see why they did it 40 or 50 whatever years ago. I have watched and read documentary on it. The reality is that it did not and has not worked. Does not do any good to cast an embargo on the island if no one else does, especially your allies. That is true for any country, especially Cuba. But don't forget that the man that is REALLY still in charge there was going to put nuclear missles on that island and damn near started WWIII. In fact, it was probably the closest our world has ever come to a nuclear holocost. He is also nothing short of a tyrant. Being from South Florida and knowing many cubans, his very name brings disgust to most that I have spoken to. They have lost family members that have been imprisoned, pushed around and had all or most possessions taken on a whim, people dissaperaing in the middle of the night. The beauty of the landscape should not shrowd our eyes to the horrors of what has happened there (and still happens today). Let me show you one of my Cuban pictures:
This is only one of the boats that Cubans use and have used to escape the island. They load them up with men, women, and children and escape in the middle of the night hoping that fate plays their way and they make it past the gunboats and very rough waters that seperate our mainland. Many die on this trip. But ask yourself how, even today, a people would risk the lives of their very children/babies and everything they own on a risky chance of making landfall and touching US soil. There were three of these that they still had not dragged off of the Tortugas when I was there only a few months back. I snorkeled off of logerhead and found the pieces of another sunk just south of the lighthouse.
If anyone feels strongly about Cuba and the restrictions of our government, there are ways to deal with that. It involves reaching out to your local leaders and making a political stand to challenge its decisions. Write your congressman, show up on his doorstep, stage a demonstration, run for office. Work within the system to help orchestrate your beliefs. And while you do, remember that the very process by which you challenge your government here might get you shot or imprisoned in Cuba (if you could do it at all). That is the very feedom they lack and certianly one of the reasons they risk life and property and imprisonment to cross a very rough stretch of water and come to our country. And its funny, but I cannot remember the last time an American risked his life, his wife's, his childrens, and everything he owns to try and defect to Cuba. Our country ain't so bad.