Doctor’s Call on Cuba to Obama

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, May 6 — Portland, Oregon resident Dr. Charles Grossman, 94, has traveled to Cuba, willing to take on the system in Washington that wants to keep him from visiting a friend.

Grossman has mounted his challenge to the Obama administration because he believes all US citizens should have the right to travel to Cuba, and not just Cuban-Americans, notes The Willamette Week Online in an editorial on Wednesday. http://www.wweek.com/editorial/3526/12525

The US has maintained a 50-year stranglehold on Cuba with a stifling economic blockade and also prohibits ordinary US citizens from visiting the neighboring island country.

The blockade and the travel ban are considered by detractors as relics of the Cold War similar to the occasional islander found in the Pacific that didn’t know World War II was over.

The new US government is now the eleventh to enforce such draconian measures against a little underdeveloped country with barely a thirtieth its population.

Grossman, who apparently has maintained excellent health, didn’t retire until 2008 from his medical practice as a general practitioner at a downtown Portland medical clinic, notes Willamette Week.

“I want Obama to lift the ban now, not when I’m dead” said Grossman before leaving for his trip via Vancouver, Canada. He is expected to return on Sunday.

“If I don’t get arrested, I hope many more people will follow the example,” Grossman said. “Give the government trouble. If they have a thousand tourists going to Cuba then they’ve got problems,” the Willamette Week quoted in its editorial.

Stiff Punishment Possible

Grossman could face a six figure fine for traveling to Cuba without special US government permission, although most caught violators are usually levied a $7,500 sanction as well as being hounded for information about their trip.

The Obama administration says it wants to open a dialogue with Cuba, but so far the unilateral concessions that Washington demands for such talks are unacceptable to Havana, which wants negotiations based on mutual respect with the nation that has been its aggressor since the beginning of the Cuban Revolution.

Thousands of US citizens are forced each year, like Grossman, to break the time-worn law and risk stiff fines, if they want to travel to Cuba. However, they usually do it silently instead of mounting a public challenge like the 94-year-old.

Currently the US House of Representatives has a bill before it (HR 874) that would repeal the travel ban on Cuba; the only country Washington maintains off-bounds for its citizens.

HR 874 currently has 134 co-sponsors. To read the bill and see who is on board click on: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-874

For additional information on the bill to repeal the US travel ban on Cuba see this post: http://havanatimes.org/?p=7059



3 thoughts on “Doctor’s Call on Cuba to Obama

  • Now, i do agree with the embargo being lifted and that perhaps this Dr should be able to travel to see an old friend. However, i do not and will not sanction Cuba being forced to open the doors to any willy nilly who wants to travel for any reason
    First of all The book given to Obama by Chavez entitled should be a good read and it should tell how US interferance in latin american country affairs have left many countries on the brink of disaster..

    My persoanl professional reasons are these.

    1. Every drug dealer will be using my country to do business (like panama Puerto rico et/al

    2 Crime committed by toursits will rise (many will be US citizens engaging in drug deal, prostitution etc

    3 The Miami right wing will arrive and begin to push Afrocubans off of thier property (will have a lot of prob when they do)

    4. The US has no right and Obama especially (needs to take care of issues at home) does not need to dictate what should happen in a sovereighn country whether it is socialist or not he was not even born when Kennedy place the embargo there and if he was he was a newborn?

    5. Mr Grossman, a Dr whom he claims has a friend here in Cuba, however i doubt that that is the only reason. Here is an old man who is probably wealthy who is possibly trying to go to Cuba again!! This i doubt is not the first time that he may have come here illegally and now he wants others to suffer the fines as well..

    So i say to all if you travel do it the right way, agitate, call on the powers that be and ask if certain circumstances can apply..Case in point i am a nurse, and because i have worked in the past with humanitarian org which have done good in Cuba i have been allowed to go more ofter than once each 3 yrs. However, when my mother became ill and before she passed away i sought entry and recieved it.
    So i say to Dr Goodman..you also need to follow the rules..because my country Cuba will not and should not open its doors to anyone just because they want to travel.

    There are those of us who stayed thru all of the hard times and now that we are on the brink of tranformation here comes a man with another story, who wants to encourage others to do the same..
    I say to Dr goodman..u may be old but you still have an obligation and if you get caught i hope the US fines you good.

    Reply
  • Dr Goodman may have hurt other peoples chances from traveling legally? he should now at aged 94 have a better weaspn because Obama not Fidel will budge against pressure.. The US cannot force a thing it will take dialouge constructive debate and an ability to let Fidel and Raul know thier true intent..(ya right!)..Hillary is not the one..
    There is one thing that i know from being a Villamil and that is that Fidel admires guts and str8t talk. However if he thinks for one min that someone is yanking his chain(to say nothing of Raul)..he will back off..
    Get it right America or back off.

    Reply

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