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Monday, March 9, 2015

Free College For Students Who Visit Cuba, Venezuela


Free College For Students Who Visit Cuba, Venezuela

Obama proposes free college tuition for students who study abroad in Cuba or Venezuela.

Moron Dowd
Daily Bungle

In a bold move to combine his efforts to provide free college and improve U.S.-Cuban relations, President Barack Obama has proposed free college for students who study abroad in Cuba or Venezuela.

Under his proposed cultural exchange program, eligible students would receive one year of free college tuition in exchange for spending the three months of their summer college break visiting either Cuba or Venezuela.

"Education should be much more than simply reading books," Obama said. "A well-rounded education should also provide opportunity to experience and learn from other cultures."

However, potential college students should not expect their travels to be a glamorous beachside vacation at a luxurious five-star resort. Instead, their visit to either country will entail volunteer work in humanitarian efforts while residing in the same living conditions of low-income, lower-class families.

For example, students who choose to visit Venezuela would have to obtain their food from state-run supermarkets, which are currently experiencing extreme food rationing due to the country’s endemic food shortages.

As for students who visit Cuba, their healthcare would be provided through the country’s state-run clinics—not the elite hospitals that were showcased in Michael’s Moore Sicko documentary (which was banned in Cuba for its inaccurate portrayal of the Cuban healthcare system), but rather the dilapidated clinics with substandard conditions that are more frequent in low-income neighborhoods.

Both countries rank relatively low in terms of human development and living conditions. Both have low levels of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, with Venezuela maintaining only $13,600 in GDP per capita, and Cuba with only $10,200.

Both countries also suffer from high poverty levels. Venezuela has 31.6 percent of its population living below its national poverty level, while sourced data for Cuba remains unavailable.

Meanwhile, their close neighbor Chile, which is the South American country with the freest economy (ranking #7 in overall economic freedom, while Venezuela and Cuba rank #176 and #177 respectively), maintains a higher level of GDP ($19,100 per capita) and a lower level of poverty (11.5 percent).

Obama’s proposal has received high bipartisan support from Congress, with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans—whom have been reluctant to support any of his proposals—in favor of it.

“I actually think this is the only good idea that Obama has had, though not for the reason he thinks,” House Speaker John Boehner (R) said. “Give a college student two weeks in Cuba, and they will be swimming 90 miles back to Florida and rushing to the nearest DMV to register Republican.”

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Margaret Thatcher once said that "the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." Any trip to the socialist "utopias" of Cuba and Venezuela would confirm her words, which is why I would support giving free college to students who visited either country. That would be the easiest way to convert millennial voters from voting Democrat.