Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What to do about Cuba

Carlos Alberto Montaner has an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald, which essentially outlines a hardline stance for U.S. policy toward Cuba.

While Fidel Castro is alive, any significant concession the Obama administration may make to Havana will be counterproductive. It will be interpreted as, ''Fidel Castro is right, and we don't need to make any substantial change in our totalitarian model.'' However, the moment Fidel disappears, Washington must make a goodwill gesture, even to Raúl Castro, as a sign of encouragement to the reformist forces, with the explicit message that the United States is willing to generously help Cubans transform the country into a peaceful and reasonably prosperous democracy.

Since he argues that Raúl will never allow real political change in Cuba, I am not sure why he doesn't want to wait for him to die too (and what happens if Fidel keeps on going like the Energizer bunny?). Regardless, he shows the same odd logic that has trapped the United States for too long, which can be summed up in the following manner:

The embargo was intended to force the Castro regime from power, but instead has helped keep it in power. However, getting rid of the embargo would be a boost to the Castro regime, and thereby keep it in power.


King Politics 10:49 AM  

Not being an expert on Cuban and Latin American policy, I for one, have never understood the embargo. I certainly want Cuba to reform and embrace democratic principles, but I'm not sure why we punish Americans (i.e. inhibiting our ability to freely travel there) and Cubans with this embargo. It's always seemed quite undemocratic to me.

Greg Weeks 11:12 AM  

In fact, that is a major driving force for potential changes in policy--namely, businesses (with strong ties to Republican governors) want to sell goods to Cuba, and wonder they can't while the rest of the world makes money.

leftside 7:19 PM  

The embargo's purpose was never conceived in reference to advancing democracy or some idealistic notion like that. The US' record in the region over the same 50 years makes it clear that this was never a priority. The strangulation of Cuba was meant primarily to prevent Cuba from becoming a socialist model to others in the region. By showing others what would happen if they dared threaten US interests, the US made its point loud and clear. Cuba simply could not be allowed to flourish.

The embargo even extends beyond US borders. Today I read that some big Chilean grocery chain being acquired by Walmart is having to divest itself of all its Cuban (and Venezuelan) products.

US elites know that if the embargo were lifted Cuba would experience an economic boom probably unprecidented in recent history. For this reason, it will remain until the Castro's are dead. Too much US prestige is invested in the embargo to just give up while they are still in charge.

sharon 5:45 AM  

thanks for sharing.......

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