I think that Melissa Harris-Perry’s latest concern strikes at the very heart of what bothers me most about today’s pseudo-intellectual liberals. On Saturday’s episode of Harris-Perry’s MSNBC show, she epitomized everything that is wrong with American liberals when she worried that by opening relations with Cuba we might somehow harm Cuba’s “quaint” culture with our plague of economic prosperity.
Here’s what she said:
On the one hand, it is great to reopen these relationships. On the other hand, I worry about American tourists and the ways we can sometimes be a plague on the rest of the world, particularly in these nations that become high-tourist economies. And I’m wondering if there’s a downside to our economic ties opening up with Cuba, for Cuba!
Liberals travel to Cuba and marvel over their free healthcare, sunny climate, old world charm and 1950’s automobiles. They act as if Cuba is some kind of political Disneyland where everyone participates in this interesting little ruse for the well-healed tourists. But that’s not what it is, MSNBC! Cuba is a 3rd world nation where the people are oppressed by barbaric political dictatorship and by a crushing communist economy. The 1950’s cars are on the road because they have no money to import new vehicles. The old-world buildings haven’t been updated (and are crumbling) because they have no money. And while the healthcare is “free,” it’s because the people make NO MONEY. In 2013 the average Cuban made about $20 a month! That’s $240 a year!
Don’t worry about Cuba, Melissa, opening relations with us will only make things better. There is a reason that people buy new cars, and rehab old buildings… because it’s better than keeping the old cars and living in buildings that should be condemned. Yes, Cubans may have to deal with the occasional Walmart or Dollar General… but I think they’ll be happy to do so once their living wages start rising.
In the meantime, Melissa… please don’t speak. Every time you do your ignorance goes on full display, and it’s just sad.
Melissa Harris-Perry: On the one hand, it is great to reopen these relationships. On the other hand, I worry about American tourists and the ways we can sometimes be a plague on the rest of the world, particularly in these nations that become high-tourist economies. And I’m wondering if there’s a downside to our economic ties opening up with Cuba, for Cuba!
John Gutierrez: For me, let me take the opposite position here, which is that I think we have to stop fetishizing the Cuba of old cars and run down architecture. Cubans are entitled to a good standard of living. That may mean having a home Depot in Cuba. And I think we need to respect that. So before we worry so much about whether or not the arrival of American capitalism changes something in Cuba, I think we need to recognize that Cubans have for 50 years been denied many of the basics of modern life.
Melissa Harris-Perry: I hear you, I do, but there’s still this kind of cultural hegemony clash that can exist.
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