has also been a country that 10 percent of its population hasnpreferred to leave (often under difficult and risky conditions)nfor both economic and political reasons. Such matters arenovedooked by the sympathizers, perhaps in part because thenCuban regime, personified by Castro, never lost its outwardnself-assurance and never showed any hesitation in claimingnmoral superiority over the United States and other capitalistnsystems (of which Cuba remains the most vitriolic critic).nPresumably, Castro’s charisma and durability play a part inncementing the loyalties of foreign admirers: an originalnrevolutionary hero still at the helm and unwilling to dilutenthe revolutionary purity and idealism of his system bynconcessions either to “bourgeois freedoms” or capitalisticngreed.nThus, among American or Western European intellectualsnon the left it never became quite acceptable to take anstrongly critical stand toward the Cuban system. As thenexiled Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas observed, “it is notnfashionable to attack Fidel Castro; that would not benprogressive.” Not only that: “It is difficult [in the West] tonget ahead as an enemy of a regime like Cuba … Inencounter this in academic circles everywhere. At Harvard Inwas asked not to talk about politics during a lecture. In thenmeantime communist writers like Cintio Vitier and MiguelnBarnet were given free reign to talk of nothing else.”nThe Christian Science Monitornestimated in 1987 that “1,500 Americansnare living and working in Nicaragua.”nThe motives of these people were summed upnby a member of a women’s brigade intentnon building a school: “Going to Nicaragua isna direct act of conscience in opposition tonour government’s aggression and innsolidarity with the Nicaraguan people.”nJesse Jackson is among the friends of Cuba. His attitudentoward it is, as Fred Barnes put it, “similar to ShirleynMacLaine’s [attitude] toward China in the 1970s, or thenWebbs’ toward the Soviet Union in the 1930s. . . . Jacksonnvisits the schools on the Island of Youth and finds themn’creative.’ In truth they are the essence of totalitarianism,nwhere Cuban children are leached of what a pro-CastronAmerican tells me are their ‘backward attitudes.'”nCuriously enough, church delegations and groups arenprominent among the last-ditch supporters of Cuba. Anspokesman for a delegation of Methodists said, “Wensaw … a country where the great majority of peoplenbelieve that they are the masters and beneficiaries of a newnsociety … we were inspired. Cubans are characterizednby … a burning desire for the rest of humanity to gain thenfreedom that Cubans have so recently won . . . We returnednhoping that our communities can lead America inndeveloping humility we need to learn from Cuba.” Methodistnbishops were persuaded that in Cuba those who arenimprisoned have opposed policies designed to removen30/CHRONICLESnnninequalities, and found such grounds for imprisonment farnsuperior to those prevailing in countries like Chile or Brazilnwhere, they averred, it was those in favor of social justicenwho were sent to jail.nThe National Council of Churches study guide praisednthe Cuban educational system: “Permeating Cuban educationalnpractice is the concept that a new type of society willndevelop a new type of human being . . . [who] regards worknas the creative center of life and is bound to others bynsolidarity, comradeship and love.” Another publication ofnthe National Council of Churches concluded that “at homenCubans have found a new dignity . . . Internationally, thenisland nation . . . has been adopted as a symbol of revolutionarynhope and courage by the Third Wodd.” Furthernsouth, the Archbishop of Sao Paulo assured Castro on then30th anniversary of the revolution that he was “present dailynin [the archbishop’s] prayers” and that “Christian faithndiscovers in the achievements of the revolution signs of thenkingdom of God.”nThe enduring support for Cuba has also found expressionnin the sympathetic (though not totally uncritical)nreport of a delegation organized by the Institute for PolicynStudies to reassess prison conditions on the island. Cratifyingly,nthe participants “encountered a very strong sense ofnmission in most prison officials. They expressed great faithnin their system and . . . seem determined to work increasinglynon their plan for re-education and for incorporation ofnthe penal population into work and free society. . . . Thenregular prison facilities we saw were all clean and hygenic,nand we heard no serious complaints in this regard; we heardnno complaints about the use of instruments of torture . . .nneither did we find any policy of extrajudicial executions orndisappearances.” Such statements call to mind the laudatorynobservations of the Webbs visiting the Soviet Union in then1930’s. They noted that “the [prison] administration is wellnspoken of and is now as free from physical cruelty as anynprison in any country is ever likely to be.” Debra Evenson, anprofessor at the law school of DePaul University in Chicago,ncould not stomach even such restrained criticism of Cubannprisons as was presented by another member of the IPSndelegation, Aryeh Neier (in The New York Review ofnBooks), and in a vigorous rejoinder assured readers of thenCuban prisons’ superiority over American ones.nThese exchanges and the prison report preceded by just anfew months a 137-page report of the Americas WatchnCommittee that offered renewed evidence of the humannrights violations and overall repressiveness of the Cubannsystem.nNo matter how devoted the remaining supporters ofnCuba have- been, the major setting of the pilgrimages andnpolitical tours shifted by the 1980’s to Nicaragua. “Politicalntourism” may better describe the new phenomenon, sincenvisits to Nicaragua have been for the most part highlynstandardized, conducted group tours of sympathizers rathernthan journeys of discovery by distinguished individuals.nA new feature of the visits to Nicaragua has been thenphenomenon of volunteering to work on various projectsnsuch as picking coffee beans or construction. (This type ofnvisit had few precedents in the Soviet Union, but wasnmodeled on the Venceremos Brigade program of Cuba,n