APTOPIX Cuba Jazz Festival

A North American tourist dances with a woman during the music conga through the streets of Old Havana during the 35th Havana Jazz Plaza festival in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

I spent my New Years holiday in Cuba. What an amazing experience! A beautiful country and an incredibly warm and friendly people.

What I did not like was witnessing the harm inflicted by the U.S. blockade. The Cuban people have suffered under this policy for over six decades now, made even worse under the Helms-Burton Act which passed in 1996.

As a result, Cubans are forced to live with artificial shortages, including most critically in the area of medical supplies, but affecting everything.

It’s a bold-faced lie when politicians say that U.S. policy towards Cuba has anything to do with human rights. The U.S. even has normal relations with Saudi Arabia.

The real human rights violation is the blockade itself, an act of economic warfare against the Cuban people to punish them for pursuing an independent path of development.

I believe the American people regardless of political party oppose this blockade and support normal, friendly relations with Cuba. If you agree, I hope you’ll take a moment to contact your elected officials and tell them so.

Travel there if you get the chance to see Cuba for yourself; despite President Donald Trump’s tightening of the blockade, it’s still easier to visit than most assume.

And you can feel good that you’re doing something real for human rights, instead of the hypocritical posturing of Washington towards the Cuban people who want to be our friends.

Brad Janzen, Sapulpa

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Send letters to letters@tulsaworld.com.

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