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Cuban sex tourism fiasco

This month has seen more evidence of just how much class the Bush Administration lacks. First, President Bush, on a campaign trip to Florida, accused Castro of promoting sex tourism.

"The dictator welcomes sex tourism," said Bush... Citing a report from the Protection Project at Johns Hopkins University, Bush said that Cuba has "replaced Southeast Asia as a destination for pedophiles and sex tourists" and that the easing of restrictions before he took office led to an "influx of American and Canadian tourists" and a "sharp increase in child prostitution."

Almost immediately, the the report's author disavowed Bush's interpretation [re-paragraphed]:

But regardless of the exact wording, Trumbull says the president's speech misconstrued the meaning, which he says should have been clear from his paper. "It shows that they didn't read much of the article," Trumbull said in a telephone interview....

Although prostitution still exists, Trumbull said, it is far less visible, and it would be inaccurate to say the government promotes it. Even when Castro made the remarks, Trumbull said, he was not boasting about Cuba's prostitutes as sex workers.

"Castro was merely trying to emphasize some of the successes of the revolution by saying 'even our prostitutes our educated,' " Trumbull said. "Castro was trying to defend his revolution against negative publicity. He was in no way bragging about the opportunities for sex tourism on the island."

Finally, last night, Castro blasted Bush for his statements [re-paragraphed]:

An indignant Fidel Castro used a live television appearance Monday night to respond to White House charges that his government encourages child prostitution.... Castro depicted President Bush as "sinister" and his charges as "irresponsible statements by the president of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Castro demanded evidence for the attacks on his country.... "How it is possible that such unspeakable, foul slander is hurled against Cuba?"

The answer, said Castro, comes from inside the mind of the president — the subtitle to a book by psychoanalyst Dr. Justin Frank, called "Bush on the Couch." Castro quoted Frank, who delves into Bush’s professed bout with alcoholism and argues that his history of untreated alcohol abuse could impair his judgment. Bush, charged Castro, could be having a difficult time "distinguishing between relevant and inconsequential information."

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