“Former” Spy Arturo Lopez-Levy Markets Travel to Cuba in HuffPo 7

Former Spy Arturo López-Levy, now believed to be in his 8th year as a doctorate candidate.....

Former Spy Arturo López-Levy, now believed to be in his 8th year as a doctorate candidate…..

Hypocrisy and The Right to Travel to Cuba

By Arturo Lopez Levy

Political hypocrisy and cynicism are cancers on the body politics. Most people don’t realize the damage they are doing until it is too late. When elected officials set different standards for themselves while advocating policies that limit the constitutional rights of Americans, the credibility of the political system suffers and the political capital of democratic institutions erodes. The case of staffers for Senator Rubio and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen travelling to China on a trip hosted by the Chinese communist party-state is a painful example. For decades, Cuban-American legislators have fiercely opposed travel to Cuba and reprimanded any colleague who went to Cuba or sent staffers on a fact finding mission or to talk with the government. Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen made the issue of not traveling to communist countries and not giving a dime to the coffers of non-democratic regimes a test of fidelity to human rights. Rubio has often said on the Senate that every dollar spent on a trip to a communist country goes directly to fund repression; every dollar except those spent by his staff on their state-sponsored China junket.

It is at such times of exposed hypocrisy, when leaders must take sides and make clear what our democratic principles are. Integrity differentiates those who predicate their anti-Castro policies on violating Americans’ right to travel, while they travel to China, and those who believe that American travelers are-as Hillary Clinton put it- “walking advertisements” for the benefits of an open society and American democracy, in Cuba and in China.

Yet, when hypocrites like Senator Rubio and Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen aggressively questioned the morality and logic of the White House’s decisions to restore family travel and expand remittances to Cuba the Obama administration all too often reacted shyly or not at all. Obama’s officials seem to forget the president’s own discourse about the importance of engaging with Cuban civil society and updating a policy conceived before he was even born.

Many Cuban Americans who voted for President Obama twice are disappointed because the president gives too much to pro-embargo politicians and listens too little to those who defend his promises of a new policy based on dialogue and communication with Cuba. After his reelection in 2012, winning a majority of Cuban Americans who supported his travel reforms, Secretary Clinton advised President Obama to “take another look at our embargo. It wasn’t achieving its goals, and it was holding back our broader agenda across Latin America”. Has he done so?

Feature continues here: HuffPo 


  1. That is the narrative: China is a communist country and we do business with them, why not Cuba. Well, for starters Cuba is 90 miles offshore, but what Im really curious about is: How in the heck did Mr Lopez Levy land the gig at the Hufftington Post? Same goes for his appearances on #CNN as well others. To me,that is key. What makes him a “latinovoice”?

    • Welcome to the United States; we´re an Equal Opportunity Employer country. That´s why this gentleman can be employed anywhere he can land a job. About CNN; Cuba and CNN as you may know, (since you´ve expressed you know Cuba) have a long standing relationship going back to the day of Ted Turner, founder of CNN (Cable News Network) with a CNN bureau in Habana and also a friend of Fidel Castro and ex-husband of Jane Fonda (“Hanoi Jane”). About the Huffington Post, as they say: “The more the merrier”. That is the internet highway´s expressway, to get all the information into it that anyone can “surf” (as in surfing the net). the Huffington Post is published precisely on the internet, that´s why. So…..where have you been that you´re asking all these questions available on the same internet that you apparently believe is difficult or strange to land a “gig” at, as you say. You´d be surprised, try it yourself, it is easier than you think and your only qualification is have an opinion and type it in as you´ve done here. Now isn´t that just great? See…….that is precisely the difference between Cuba and the U.S.: We have internet availability 24/7, Cuba wants to seem it does, but, unfortunately, in reality, does not. Oh!……..yes, of course I didn´t forget Generación “Y” or the “14 y medio” internet newspaper; it´s equally as good as a cosmetic on a oman´s face. It´s purpose is to cover-up “facial blemishes” (pun intended as in the Cover-Girl Magazine that´s been around for decades or the Cover Girl) Sherill Tieg use to be a Cover Girl. Cuba´s Cover Girl is that single internet newspaper. It doesn´t hurt and it is there to supress the idea there´s no internet in Cuba. CNN´s covergare of Cuba would make one think its acronym is Cuba´s News Network. I´d love to see a Star-Studded Pop Music Concert in Habana, feautured with many Pop stars such as Gloria Steffan, Chirino, Pit Bull, Carlos Oliva, but apparently that is not posible because Cuba will not allow it……….hummm, I wonder why? Life can be so simple. Things could be so easy to resolve. It´s actually ridiculous how simple it all could be to open up Cuba to itself and its potential. “Fear of Freedom” is the biggest threat to the Cuban government leaders. Cuba simply does not exist on “Freedoms”. How sad.

  2. I don’t think #ArturoLopezLevy needs to be a “former”spy or not. His job of trying to swede public american opinion on the merits of lifting the sanctions against the Castro brothers is in itself the most important job the Cuban regime needs to be done here in America right now, today.

  3. In Cuba, the country I know, one doesn’t stop being a spy or a MININT officer, just because you landed a job at an American university, and by the way, Im also very interested and curious on how it was that Mr. #ArturoLopezLevy landed that gig as well at the Denver whatever university where he “teaches”. Someone stops being an officer or a spy, or a career officer/spy when one defects, comes clean with all his skeletons in the closet and is remorseful, thats it. My opinion is: Mr ArturoLopezLevy is currently working for the Castro brothers here in the United States as an agent of influence. The good news for us Cubans? He’s not that amazing at it. 🙂 He will not get his way. While the Marco Rubio and Iliana Ross Lethinen trip to China is really hypocritical, it doesn’t seem it will affect them in any way shape or form. In 1994 I met Jorge Mas Canosa,will not say where and how, but he was being courted by the chinese to carry on investments in China? I was asked my opinion: I said it will hurt your credibility amongst Cubans. I personally would not do business with any communist country, 100 million dead and counting, so, perhaps MarcoRubio and Iliana Ross Lethinen may want to rethink some of that. Theres also a geopolitical issue here. The canal de Panama I understand is being enlarged for giant chinese ships bringing us crap to the United States and Miami’s port is linked to that equation, so is Mariel port. Whether we like it or not, chinese are invading Miami, buying their way in through politicians. Who’s in their bag?

  4. This a very intersting topic. Yet, before I begin a discussion as a form of reply or as a contributive commentary to this very interesting subject matter, I do want to point-out, had the 1789 Constitutional Amendments protected “travel” (the right to travel) alongside to the rights to freedom of the press, religion, and assembly, the United States could not have imposed or dicouraged travel bans to its citizens as it does–on seemingly reasonable grounds–from time to time. It simply would be Unconstitutional, but travel bans are therefore not Unconstitutional and many times are connected, perhaps related to the protection of national security on U.S. soil, specially in the world we live-in today and additionally to protect American citizens´ general welfare from foreign actions. Europe–through the European Union–now has few internal border controls, and tourists routinely depart for Algeria and Myanmar. In contrast, the American government through the actions of its elected politicians and the enormous bureaucratic system in-place, however, many times equates “travel” with a political endorsement, and perhaps the U.S. government takes the position seemingly “to-think” that economic embargoes are key to spreading the American doctrines of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. The specific ban on Cuban travel dates to October 1960, although the absence of KFC chicken or McDonald´s in Havana has done nothing to dislodge the seudo-Communist regime. The net effect of the embargo has been to allow the Castro brothers to govern harshly in splendid isolation from reasonable access to American goods and services the United States has to offer. Would Fidel Castro and his brother have lasted in power for fifty-four years if they had to contend with the landings of Carnival Cruise Lines, or even instead if JFK would not have backed-downed at the Bay of Pigs? The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall are historic examples of the degree to which strutting regimes will go to keep their citizens from foreign travel or, as Lenin said, “voting with their feet.” Who would think the United States would become the heir to the tradition of telling its citizens where they can go, and with whom they can spend their free time? Is it even a Constitutional question? But one has to also consider, it is a very different world today and also other factors play an important criteria in protecting U.S. national security and its citizenry´s travel and that is understable too. If traveling freely was a Constitutional right, Americans could make up their own minds about where to go and what to see, even if it included taking the measure of the so-called “Beloved Leader’s North Korea” or of “Potemkin’s villages in Russia”. I ask; how many American citizens would believe the government propaganda about Iran or Cuba if they were free to inspect the poverty themselves, or to mix with local pro-American populations? In most of the Middle East, only professional diplomats and journalists are deemed worthy to offer their firsthand impressions, although I would put equivalent stock in backpacker accounts of Iran as in a State Department white paper. Notwithstanding all of this, as prior explained, the superficiality of the specific topic about “travel to Cuba”, which can be derived and concluded from contrasting actions by Cuban American politicians´ staffers who on one side; have traveled on a junket to China, are actions that seem reasonably contrarian to the other side of the political stance by these same Cuban American politicians´ verbosity in their advocacy on maintaining in-place a travel ban to Cuba. It is simply a double standard. No question about that. Thus, I believe this specific issue of considering whether to lift the travel ban tro Cuba goes one story deeper in consideration and analysis. And that is; any American politician, regardless of the politician´s background origin; whether he or she be Italian, Polish, Germanic, Irish, Jewish, Cuban, Puerto Rican must first meet the threshold–as a politician elected in the United States of America–to serve the United States of America and to serve its bests interests and not the interests of any foreign country; in the case in point Cuba or China or for that matter any comunist country–that is–if such ideology or a conveniently seudo-communist ideology (a self-serving ideology) still exists in practice today. To the case in point, Marcos Rubio and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen–as others more who are of Cuban origin and are United States federal elected officials in the United States–have a duty first, to this nation and its Democratic emboldened principles upon which it functions and it is for that singlemost purpose they were elected by their American constituency who are duly qualified as American citizens to vote and who voted such politicians into office. Therefore, if we are to examine whether a travel ban of the American public or citizenry to Cuba is an issue or a topic for discussion by this country then such issue should be processed on the basis of what is in the best interests of this nation, yet, void of any peculiarity, or particularity to the country of Cuba or Cuban Americans. Personally, as an American citizen an analysis of what is sort of the “balance sheet” to this nation derived from imposing a travel ban to Cuba as presently imposed, it results to produce a great “balance sheet loss” to this nation, both economically and politically. I also do believe Cuba, in its core government view–wants, behind its invisible fascade the embargo not ended. Cuba, beneath the skin, would like to maintain the status quo of a trade embargo and the U.S. will play along, although, once-in-a-while eases the travel ban by allowing family and groups etc. to travel to Cuba. Neither Senator Marco Rubio, nor Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, are cornerstone to this issue, but instead the best interests of the United States of America, which would be better served by an economic invasión that would result from South Florida and the rest of the world if and when Cuba opens-up. Hos is this impact measured on the remainder of Latin America and even the United States. What happens to tourism in Mexico if a travel ban is lifted to Cuba? Does tourism to Mexico take a dive and if it does, how does this affect the U.S. border? How does a prosperoous Cuba affect other Latin American countries? How does it affect South Florida? What are the ensuing scenarios of zero travel ban to Cuba and zero trade embargo? These are the hard questions that must be answered and is what must be analyzed before making it a “Cuban-American” issue, because after all many have sworn alligiance to this nation and thus interests may be in conflict her: between being Cuban first or second or American citizen first or second. Go figure it out.

  5. Pingback: Pro-Cuba Lobby Makes Pre-Election Policy Putsch | The DC Dispatches

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