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By Peter Dent, Galiano Island.

Thank you for publishing George Jonas's travel advice article ("Choose your vacation spot wisely," Dec. 22). I have taken his advice. I am returning to Cuba this January for my third visit.

It is clear that Jonas has no use for the current Cuban political climate. Given Jonas's general right-wing views, it is predictable that he would be more comfortable in Arizona.

Here is another perspective. Cuba is not a "failed culture." For Canadians seeking a safe, economical and different holiday, Cuba is a wonderful option. In spite of the punitive and outmoded U.S. boycott, only Cuba has achieved universal literacy in the Caribbean. The revolutionary goal of training physicians to provide universal health care has placed the country in the unique situation where it is able to export doctors to other countries.

Cuba is not a democracy. On the plus side, there is basically full employment. There is also an emerging local free-market economy selling to tourists.

Due to the U.S. boycott, there are significant shortages in some basic commodities. Yet the Cubans manage and thrive. It is a nation filled with music, dancing, laughter and a great pride in the Cuban culture.

I have been to Terezin. Jonas's comparison of Cuba with Terezin belittles those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

I encourage those looking for a safe, interesting winter holiday in this hemisphere, free from strip malls, Wal-Marts, KFCs or McDonald's, to try Cuba.

If on the other hand, you'd miss Taco Bell, Burger King and lots of unregistered handguns, join George Jonas in Arizona.

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