Diary of an American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land (Excerpt 1)

U.S. 2005

July 28 


Photo: Sylver Blaque / Pinar del Rio, Cuba

I’m going to Cuba!

Even after our government has (once again) tightened the stranglehold of the embargo.

Even after Bush has issued the order for all Americans to leave Cuba and return to the United States by midnight on July 31st under threat of unaffordable fines, and implied jail time.

And even after every American who knows I’m going has warned me that I’ll be arrested and tortured by Castro, or arrested and punished by our own government. Hmm…’tortured’ by Communists, or ‘punished’ by Homeland Security.

Both sound deadly.

Neither threat deters me.

I’m going to Cuba!

I’m not exactly sure why I’m going. But I am sure it has something to do with being ordered not to. In a democracy, there’s something blatantly un-democratic about being ordered by your government not to travel somewhere.

With a handful of exceptions, Americans haven’t been allowed – by our own government – to travel to Cuba for almost half a century. But this latest tightening of the embargo vise – this dictatorial presidential overriding of my constitutional right to travel freely – has me suddenly curious about why.

Why can’t I go to Cuba if I want to?

And why is this bothering me now?

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