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When capitalism does business with totalitarian regimes, the private commercial entities involved become partners in crime with tyranny. American Airlines, the world’s largest air passenger carrier in 2019, according to Simple Flying, is acting as Cuban communism’s political police. Anamely Ramos, a Cuban art historian and member of the San Isidro Movement, was prevented from boarding a return flight to Cuba in Miami International Airport by airline personnel.
American Airlines insist that they are following the instructions given to them from Cuba. A popular program in Cuban state television, however, contradicted the Dallas/Fort Worth-based company’s affirmation. During a televised segment of “Con Filo”, Gabriela Fernández Álvarez, the regime’s spokesperson, blamed American Airlines for the fact that Ramos was denied the ability to leave for the island. It is quite common for communist dictatorships to throw businesses under the bus when it is convenient for the narrative that they are pushing. Additionally, the rant that followed continued to contradict the facts, such as Ramos non-desire to seek asylum, nor the violation of her visa.
Legal opinion weighs heavily against, both, American Airlines and the communist dictatorship in Havana. Cuban lawyer Alejandro Vázquez believes that what occurred with the San Isidro Movement activist is “an aberration.” The fact that Ramos lives in Cuba and is returning to the country with a Cuban national passport, disqualifies the airline from acting as an immigration officer for the Castro regime. Willy Allen, a Cuban American attorney in Miami, stated that “It is outrageous that the Cuban government denies the free movement of its citizens to the country where they reside in disregard of established universal rights.”
International support for the dissident academic has also been significant. So far, major organizations like PEN America, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have voiced solidarity with Ramos’ case. The governments of the United States and Canada have also condemned what has happened.
Ramos has called for a vigil protest on Friday, February 18 starting at Miami’s iconic Cuban restaurant, Versailles. The procession is targeted to proceed to one of American Airlines offices nearby. With a suitcase in hand, the human rights activist stated, the protest hopes to put enough pressure on the airline so that it desists from its repressor role.
This cumbersome situation could be avoided if capitalist businesses would learn to associate themselves with regimes with which they share values. Countries, where the rule of law and consensual governments exist, abound in the world. When you do business with communists, eventually, you lose moral autonomy. The “morality” becomes what the despots tell you. American Airlines is acting as Castro’s state security police in the immigration post. Truly pathetic!
Julio M Shiling, political scientist, writer, director of Patria de Martí and The Cuban American Voice, lecturer and media commentator. A native of Cuba, he currently lives in the United States. Twitter: @JulioMShiling // Julio es politólogo, escritor, director de Patria de Martí y The Cuban American Voice. Conferenciante y comentarista en los medios. Natural de Cuba, vive actualmente en EE UU.