Images of Cuba Today

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Faces of the people in today's Cuba

How do people of one country view those of another?

Americans, much like other people of the world, are conditioned to see the world through the accumulation of all images, words, impressions, and direct experiences that form their perceptions. In world events, the elements of perception often come from secondary sources--the news media, school lessons, and political speeches--without the benefit of direct contact. Even our direct experiences can be tainted by our prejudgements or by those of our culture.

People are often too involved in their private lives to find the time, are ill-equipped to find the resources, or lack the expertise to verify the accuracy of every set of data that comes their way. They simply take what they are given--in good faith.

Yet, citizens of the United States have an even greater obligation to question the elements of their perception than do most people in the world. Our acceptance of all that we are told, or shown, or read, affects the lives of people around the world. Every citizen has a right to a fair presentation of the facts and has an obligation to be informed. A well-educated citizenry is our only guarantee of a wise and just foreign policy. An essential part of this education must be to put a face on the people of the world. It is an important perceptual element, one that can help ensure that we will act humanely toward the people of the world.

As one can see from the other eight parts of this "Focus on Cuba" Web site, the official foreign policy of the United States government toward Cuba is a product 1) of five hundred years of colonialism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism; 2) of the events of the Cold War; 3) of political lobbying by Cuban expatriates; and 4) of the actions of our politicians in Washington.

Cuba has been demonized by politicians and by portions of the United States press, in part, to gain the support of the citizenry for this country's foreign policy and to promote our national agenda. Yet, when the United Nations votes 157 to 2 calling on the U.S. to end the embargo against Cuba, one must question the foreign policy that produced the embargo, and the information that we have been provided supporting the embargo. The accompanying images and data are provided to augment the information that is commonly available regarding today's Cuba.

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