Looking Forward on May 1

Michael Giberson

Catallarchy is hosting May Day 2006: A Day of Remembrance, to which Randall McElroy offers a commemoratory on the Berlin Wall. He quotes John F. Kennedy’s speech in Berlin:

Freedom has many difficulties, and democracy is not perfect. But we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in—to prevent them from leaving us.

The comments put me in mind of one of the few governments left in the world that limit freedom in the name of Communism: Cuba.

In doing some background research on coffee markets a few months ago I came across the Thanksgiving Coffee Company, which offers coffees tied to environmental and economic development causes ranging from songbirds in Central and South America to gorilla habitat protection in Africa. Fair trade, organic, shade grown, all that.

Among Thanksgiving’s offerings, an “End the Embargo” coffee offered as a way to “raise public awareness about, and advocate the end of, the 44-year-long US embargo against Cuba.” I’m in favor of ending trade and travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba, both for Americans and Cubans.

But I can’t buy a coffee with the image of Che Guevara on the package, and it seems to me the height of irony to serve up this particular image as a symbol of freedom for the people of Cuba. Perhaps, instead, a May Day contribution to support the work of Reporters Without Borders.