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How can you visit that country? When traveling, we support people, not governments.

Wilson Santiago Burgos
Mochileando.com
  • Traveling to a country does not imply support for its government.
  • When visiting a destination with differences from its rulers, we must remember that governments never represent 100% of a country's diversity and voices.
  • We live in a world of many grays and few absolutes. There is no perfect country or traveler or destination.

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Traveling to Cuba does not make me a communist. Visiting Spain does not imply support for the monarchy. Going to the United States does not make me a defender of imperialism, and being in Argentina does not make me a follower of Milei.

When will political fanatics understand that travel is an act of support for the people, not their governments?

In times of polarization, travel has become a political statement for some. From the extremes of the political spectrum, any visit to a destination governed by a contrary ideology can be mistakenly interpreted as an endorsement of their governments when, in fact, it is a human interaction between two cultures.

This cultural exchange enriches all parties and can contribute to the fall of extremism that keeps many under regimes of oppression and others under governments that threaten the healthy coexistence and social advances that we have achieved as a collective.

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Supporting tourism-dependent communities

I have visited dozens of countries whose regimes I do not support. In fact, I live in a subjugated colony (what a contradiction when I talk about freedom!).

When visiting a destination with differences from its rulers, we must remember that governments never represent 100% of a country's diversity and voices. Some govern with a democratic majority, while others perpetuate themselves in power with tricks and juggling without the real support of their people. But behind them, there is a diverse people who, in most cases, cry out and fight for a more just society.

It is demagogic and an exercise in manipulation to claim that "your visit to a communist government or a right-wing dictatorship is an economic and political endorsement."

When traveling, you inevitably support the government of the day financially through taxes, purchases, visas or expenses, regardless of whether it is far-right or left-wing. However, you also support communities that depend on tourism and that, on many occasions, it is their only form of livelihood and their economic engine to continue educating and aspiring to change. That cultural exchange is often the hope that reminds them that a better world is possible and keeps them eager to fight against injustice. We all learn from that exchange. That is what is really important.

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I do not support the genocide of one state against another or the terrorist actions of extremist groups. I do not support governments that, in the name of "economic prosperity," undermine democracy and freedom of expression. I do not support the repression of diversity and equity. I do not endorse the imposition of any religion by the state, which should serve everyone, regardless of our beliefs. I do not support the absence of social policies that guarantee access to resources, even for the most disadvantaged. But I do not support the penalization of success either. None of these positions are contradictory and can be summed up in a single statement: I do not support the extremes. I travel to fight them.

We live in a world of many grays and few absolutes. There is no perfect country or traveler or destination. But everywhere, there are people fighting for a better world, and it is those people that I am interested in reaching when I travel and that I want to be a part of. That's the message I try to convey with each of my interactions: a better world is possible. If traveling does not help us with this, what is the point of traveling?

Wilson "Wil" Santiago Burgos is the founder of , one of the largest travel platforms in Puerto Rico and the Latin American market in the U.S.

The Key Points at the top of this article were created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and reviewed by a journalist before publication. No other parts of the article were generated using AI. .

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