United States Cuba Policy & Business Blog

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time to Lift the Embargo - Comment

Editor's commentary - Kudos to Congressman Michael Honda (D-Ca) for an intelligent presentation in the Miami Herald today
of the reasons why the embargo needs to end sooner than later. The sanctions regime we have in place against Cuba do not work to promote democracy, whether or not as it was opined by Secretary of State Clinton that the Castro government does not want the embargo to be lifted. Her argument is respectfully counter-intuitive. If the Cuban government fears us lifting the embargo and thus sabotage our efforts to do so, why haven't we lifted these sanctions yesterday? The sanctions have not worked in fifty years. What makes us think that they will work now or tomorrow? While the current human rights imbroglio needs careful attention and negotiation to unravel, the embargo only makes matters worse for the Cuban people who its proponents proclaim to care so much about and seem to ignore our people and our own economy at the same time. We are not getting any return on this foreign policy disaster except the ignorant or arrogant politicians who are content enough to get campaign checks from embargo proponents and feel like they are actually doing something to change the situation in Cuba. They are making it worse. The reality is that the Cuban government and its political system we do not agree with are in the hands of the Cuban people on the island, not in Miami or Washington DC. It is not going to change while we waste yet another 20 million taxpayer dollars in so called democracy funding and put its recipients in jeopardy in Cuba. We need to end our policies of interference and begin to use policies of influence. The first step is to lift the travel restrictions to Cuba for all Americans and ease the trade restrictions still in place. Serious face to face negotiations are needed to find a humanitarian solution to the Cubans and Americans held within this mess. When will those begin in earnest?