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Treasury Foils Cultural Exchange With Cuba

Posted on Oct 5, 2009
Flickr / ilkerender

The New York Philharmonic was all set to fly into Cuba and jam, until the Treasury Department decided the patrons footing the bill couldn’t go. That’s pretty insulting to Cuba, considering that the same posse of musicians and rich people was cleared for a trip to North Korea.

Technically the Phil could still go, if the orchestra could persuade its donors to stay home, but that’s unlikely.  —PS

Global Post:

The Philharmonic announced Friday it had postponed a historic trip to Havana planned for later this month, after U.S. Treasury Department officials denied travel permission to the orchestra patrons who were financially supporting the performances. Though U.S. trade sanctions against Cuba generally prohibit Americans from traveling there, U.S. regulators had granted permission to musicians and orchestra staff, but they wouldn’t allow the orchestra’s patrons to go.

It would have been the most high-profile American cultural event in Cuba in a half-century. But without supporters, who were to cover the roughly $10,000 in travel costs per musician, “the trip is not possible,” orchestra spokesman Eric Latzky said in a statement.

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New York Philharmonic Performs in North Korea:

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, October 11, 2009 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment

I thought the state department would have the last word on this.

The treasury deptartment should have more important things to worry about, given the state of the economy, than what the sugar barons in Florida want.

Opening trade with Cuba would be a win win situation, creating jobs here in the U.S. and tourism dollars in Cuba. 

I think they are afraid about off shoring health care to Cuba will bite into the bottom line here at home.

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Peetawonkus's avatar

By Peetawonkus, October 9, 2009 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

Yeah, right. Cuba is the threat. What is Cuba’s leading export? Doctors? That’s dangerous. But you can bet that if there’s a brutal fascist military dictatorship somewhere in the world, especially one the US has been funding, you’ll have no trouble traveling there.

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By Gusto, October 7, 2009 at 11:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This policy is the most hypocritical in the face of the world. They are caving into the Cuban lobby in Miami. It is all about money. Those old Cubans in Miami are also fading and the young Cuban-Americans are encouraging a new approach. What damage could this do to our nation.

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By Rodger Lemonde, October 7, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

That will show those communists,
that we are rather petty and shallow.
What a blow for freedom this is.

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By johannes, October 7, 2009 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

Your country did kill Ché, Allende, and many others in the name of freedom, well I think the USA, is deepening the hole where it will fall in some day, maby the people ot the south Americaas give some help, they hate the gringo’s, for steeling their live.

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By bogi666, October 7, 2009 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

The absurd, insane policy toward Cuba continues for the purpose OF DENYING AMERICANS their constitutional right to travel. It’s called obedience training of the American public by the government.

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By Jean Gerard, October 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can we know who the supporters were, and the reasons for the denial?  Without the specifics we are simply teased into wondering and emotionally invited to expatiate on something which on the surface sounds utterly childish.

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By Bill McLaughlin, October 5, 2009 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Appalling that Americans so meekly surrender their constitutional right to travel, that we couldn’t care less about the impoverishment that we inflict on the people of Cuba, and that it’s O.K. to go if you are peddling agricultural products or telecommunication equipment but not if you are simply an ordinary citizen.  We advertise our intent to spread freedom and democracy to nations whose governments are none of our business but are unwilling to extend freedom to our own citizens.  Do you suppose that Miami votes and business interests are involved!

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archeon of thrace's avatar

By archeon of thrace, October 5, 2009 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

So preventing Americans from freely traveling to
another nation is preserving freedom, liberty, and
democracy?  Didn’t the Soviet Union prevent it’s
citizens from traveling to where they wanted to go? 
Welcome the United Soviet States of America.

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By Commune115, October 5, 2009 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

This is an example of how US imperialism works. They can play in North Korea because Kim Jong Il is always going to be seen as a clown, even with nukes. Cuba remains an example of successful defiance of regional US dominance, so it has to continue being blocked.

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