Tag Archives: freedom

Revised Post #5: Cuba opening up boundaries best thing for them.

Thesis: Cuba is doing the right thing by opening up their country and internet and encouraging increased freedom.

With the recent announcement that the Cold War enemies have finally ended the détente in December, Cuba is ripe for new world technologies and innovations. Companies are waiting to move into Cuba and try to help their people move into the modern world that they have been shielded from for decades. This is an opportunity for companies to not only make a profit, but also to help the people of Cuba realize a better life.

One of the industries most ready for innovation is the internet and technology.   As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Going online at designated cyber centers and hotels is unreliable and slow. At around $5 an hour, it’s too costly for Cubans, who on average earn $20 a month, according to government statistics.” This is attempting to be solved by “The so-called Code for Cuba ‘hackathon,’ organized by Miami-based nonprofit groups Roots of Hope, aims to attract U.S. engineers, software developers and entrepreneurs to work on increasing access to information as the Caribbean country begins flirting with freer telecommunications.” This organization aims to bring the innovative, entrepreneurial environment of the United States, to Cuba which has been hidden in the dark of the internet for years.

One of the first companies who have taken advantage of this opportunity in Cuba is Airbnb. They recently just opened up their services to be offered in Cuba as well. As reported in the US News, ““Licensed U.S. travelers will now be able to experience the unique culture and warm hospitality that makes the island so special through our new Cuban community,” Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said.” This will boost tourism to the country as “Demand for travel to Cuba is growing despite these obstacles, as Airbnb “saw a 70 percent spike in searches from U.S. users for listings in Cuba,” says Cristina Calzadilla of DKC Public Relations, which represents Airbnb.

This combination of increased tourism and travel to Cuba, with the increased freedom and innovation should help lift Cuba out of the economic turmoil they have been in since the Cold War. This offers good signs as “U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro are expected to meet this weekend in Panama at the Summit of the Americas, Cuba’s first time attending the hemispheric gathering.” These all point to positive signs that Cuba is finally opening up their economy to the world. If Cuba is to reach its ambitious goals of having 60% of it’s 11 million inhabitants using the internet by 2020, they will need as much help as they can get, especially from the U.S.

Gay Marriage: The Next Civil Right

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals”


The Civil Rights Movement of the mid-twentieth century was revolutionary in making the United States the country it is today. If not for the work of revolutionaries such as Martin Luther King Jr., we would not have elected our current president, Barack Obama. George W. Bush would not have had Condoleezza Rice as his United States Secretary of State, and countless other brilliant minds would not have made the impact they have made on our country.

It is easy to feel like the fight for civil rights is age-old history. Photographs of the time were taken in black and white, typing was done on a machine that clicked and dinged. However, the time when African Americans were deprived of basic human rights was not as long ago as it may seem. Civil rights icon Amelia Boynton Robinson is a living reminder of just how recent the events of the Civil Rights Movement took place. At age 53, she marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. At age 103, she attended Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. She plays a pivotal role in Selma, the film recently released documenting this critical time in our nation’s history.

However, as Jessica Contrera and Krissah Thompson note in their article for The Washington Post titled “Fifty years later, spotlight shines on civil rights icon Amelia Boynton Robinson,” another human rights issue was in play during the time of Robinson’s involvement in the movement.

“Until recently, the arc of Robinson’s story seemed to follow the traditional trajectory of the women who served in the trenches during that 1960s protest movement. They were nearly left off the official program for the 1963 March on Washington, at which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech. Women were not among the top leaders of any of the major civil rights organizations” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/civil-rights-icon-amelia-boynton-robinson-state-of-the-union-guest-still-seeks-equality/2015/01/20/b0d06314-a0f8-11e4-903f-9f2faf7cd9fe_story.html).

Gay marriage is up next. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court decided last week that they will rule on whether or not it our Constitution requires all 50 states to recognize gay marriage. Jess Bravin in her article for the Wall Street Journal titled “Supreme Court to Decide Whether States Must Recognize Same-Sex Marriage” quotes the president of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights organization as he compels the justices of the Supreme Court to “guarantee fairness for countless families, once and for all” (http://www.wsj.com/articles/supreme-court-to-decide-whether-constitution-requires-states-to-recognize-same-sex-marriage-1421440632?KEYWORDS=gay+marriage).


Martin Luther King Jr. was correct that the road to justice is marked with strife and suffering. However, he left us with the words as well, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” (http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/m/martin_luther_king_jr.html#z6mp1lD8TyKDecr4.99). Where do you stand at this time?

Civil Rights Disparate Treatment

There has been much needed civil rights movements all over the world lately fighting for more equality and fairer treatment of minorities. These have exemplified the unequal treatment of African Americans in the United States. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you must have heard about the cases involving the deaths of unarmed black males (Michael Brown and Eric Garner) by white police officers (Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo). These incidents sparked nationwide outrage and protests soon ensued because of the fact it was a white male police officer killing black males in both situations. This raises the question of whether or not there are any discrepancies in the manner police treat individuals regarding with respect to race and ethnicity. These cases have proven that we as a country need to further develop our society to allow more equal treatment of all humans. And as Elisha Fieldstadt wrote about in her article, Thousands March Across Nation to Protest Police Killings of Black Men, “Many expressed on stage that while the price of the death of a loved one is unimaginably high, they are appreciative that their stories have brought about a national conversation. “I think its absolutely phenomenal that all these people have come together for this one common cause,” Esaw Garner told NBC News.” Hopefully this conversation will lead to definitive changes in the civil rights and treatment of African Americans all over the world.

This is not just an American problem either however. Outrage has been sparked in France as well after the terrorist assault on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 7th. This attack was organized by al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen. This attack has lead to French Muslims to feel very uneasy about the treatment they are getting in France now. As Christopher Caldwell points out in his article Immigration and Islam: Europe’s Crisis of Faith, the most shared article after the Charlie Hebdo attack was “a story about reprisals: “Mosques become targets, French Muslims uneasy.” Those clicks are the sound of French fear that something larger may be under way.” These Muslims in France are scared and tired of being treated like second-class citizens. As Christoper Caldwell also puts it, “To many Muslims in France and the rest of Europe, the new (Charlie Hebdo) drawings were evidence not that the terrorists had failed to kill a magazine but that the French had failed to heed a warning.” These types of outlook after a devastating terrorist attack outlines the true problems in France are much deeper than just al Qaeda. There is a deeper underlying problem within France’s culture that involves unequal civil rights for Muslims.

This problem that Muslims are having in Europe is the same that African Americans are having in The United States. These problems prove that the world still has a long way to go in terms of equality. While things have improved tenfold from where they were half a century ago, things still have a long, long way to go in terms of civil rights equality.