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How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:


Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

Instead, you visit your homeland simply to see your mother or spend time in your own country.

When parasites bite harder

People in charge there believe — mistakenly — that they are the country, like parasites imagining they have become the body they feed off. You, of course, have said this much better in your own eloquent words, which only makes the parasites angrier.

The last time you went home, you went on hunger strike, to speak with a vigor that transcends words. So they took you to a room for questioning. They must have thought that would be enough to shut you up. Or they may have just done it in routine fashion, without much conviction.

They were just doing a job, as it were, and are not paid to "believe" in it. These inspectors are, at the end of the day, simply smaller parasites living off the big ones. The parasitical system has its logic.

In your writings, you have denounced the logic that is insane: as the blood runs out, the mites bite harder. They reveal themselves. The parasites of politics no longer have time, nor saliva left, for florid speeches to numb their victims. They seek new strategies.

And so on Sunday, at 3.30 p.m., Cuban writer and journalist Carlos Manuel Álvarez was scheduled to board an American Airlines flight in Miami for Havana. He was going to see his mother. But the airline wouldn't let him onto the plane. No explanation given: just that from Havana, he were denied permission to fly. Has sido negado de La Habana.It's not even a proper sentence. "Denied?"

It's absurd, but he's made to understand: No, you cannot reenter your own country.

Cuban journalist Carlos Manuel Álvarez was prevented from returning to Cuba from the U.S. on November 20.

Instagram account

Money talks

The same thing happened to Anamely Ramos, an art curator American Airlines had also refused to board onto a flight to Havana in February. The Airline says both times the Cuban regime made them do it.

American Airlines and Southwest have become servants of a totalitarian regime

There was also Omara Ruiz Urquiola, a professor that Southwest Airlines prevented from boarding her flight in June. There is complicity here. American and Southwest Airlines have become servants of a totalitarian regime, working from inside democratic countries. The parasites send them their blacklists — containing people who have committed no offense — so their cabin staff can do the Cuban security services' jobs for them.

These airlines are disgracing themselves, allowing the Cuban regime to violate human rights inside the United States. Such actions should be outlawed by U.S. courts, if it isn't already illegal.

So why are these American companies doing the Cuban regime's bidding on U.S. soil? One simple reason: to safeguard their lucrative route between Miami and Havana. You know what they say: business is business.

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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