NBC’s Matt Lauer Touts Tourism to Island Dictatorship
NBC's Matt Lauer Touts Tourism to Island Dictatorship
Posted by Julia A. Seymour on June 5, 2007 – 17:36.
To hear the media tell it, Cuba is a great country to live in and visit.
With propagandist Michael Moore's "Sicko" soon to debut and glorify the
Cuban health care system, NBC "Today host Matt Lauer broadcast from
Havana, Cuba on June 5.
Lauer praised the "booming" economy and talked about the country's
"There's stability here. Business is booming and tourists are
flocking here, some two million a year."
Lauer didn't emphasize that those tourism dollars pay to keep Fidel
Castro's dictatorship in power, or that the Cuba seen by tourists is not
the Cuba lived in by ordinary Cubans.
As Salon reported in 2002, tourist beaches have been cut off from
everyday Cuban life. This policy of "tourism apartheid" had been around
for a decade before that, Damien Cave wrote.
"A good soul in America who wants to be a tourist goes to a
foreign-owned resort, pays the hotel bill – that money goes to the
government. The government, in turn, pays the workers a pittance in
worthless pesos and keeps the hard currency to prop up the dictator and
his cronies. Illegal tourism perpetuates the misery of the Cuban
people," said President Bush in a 2003 speech.
That's why it's illegal for Americans to travel to Cuba for pleasure trips.
It was also absurd of Lauer to call 2 million visitors a year a booming
tourism industry. Baltimore, Maryland had more than 12 million tourist
visits in 2005, and many other Americans cities garner even more. Even
compared to another island nation, Cuba's tourist trade pales in
comparison. In 2006, the Bahamas had 4.7 million visitors.