Ricardo Herrero, the Executive Director of Cuba Now (or is it #CubaNow with automatic hashtags?) criticizes the embargo in the Huffington Post. He does a good job in pointing out its numerous problems and how it is counterproductive to U.S. interests and stated U.S. policy goals of helping the Cuban people. One sentence, though, gave me pause:
Any sanctions on Cuba should be targeted toward those individuals directly involved in human rights violations on the Island.
This is all the rage these days for Latin America (Venezuela is the high profile case right now) though it's not a new concept globally. I have yet to see any analysis demonstrating that targeted sanctions are effective. In fact, most of you read suggests the opposite.
Instead, at least in Latin America they're barely even intended to work. I am not sure whether advocates of Venezuela sanctions really believe they're going to have an impact (though maybe they do) but they need to be seen as doing something. In the case of Cuba, these proposals are tossed out there as a bone to appease the more rabid anti-Castro lawmakers that something will still be done. We're not getting rid of sanctions, just doing a little nip and tuck.
Having said that, I would much prefer small failed sanctions than huge failed sanctions, which is what we've got now.