The Cuban Embargo’s other purposes

People happy about the Obama administration’s change in policy towards Cuba had a remarkably consistent theme in their comments during the day, ‘the Cuban Embargo has failed.’

You won’t be surprised to learn that the actual current legislation — Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996 — offers only the following platitude in the introduction to the bill:

“… to plan for support of a transition government leading to a democratically elected government in Cuba, and for other purposes.”

Clearly part A has not occurred, but part B, “other purposes,” now that has been off the charts.

That’s why I don’t believe that the legislation’s one supposed intended effect is the reason for the change in policy. To believe that requires us to assume that this administration puts great stock in the precise language of legislation. Try and remember that when we read about the next Obamacare exemption.

But better to let the Washington Post’s editorial make the case about “other purposes”:

Mr. Obama argued that his sweeping change of policy was overdue because the strategy of isolating the Communist regime “has had little effect.” In fact, Cuba has been marginalized in the Americas for decades, and the regime has been deprived of financial resources it could have used to spread its malignant influence in the region, as Venezuela has done. That the embargo has not succeeded in destroying communism does not explain why all sanctions should be lifted without any meaningful political concessions by Cuba.

“Cuba has been marginalized in the Americas for decades,” … let the significance of that seep in.

If the Cuban Embargo legislation was a company, “other purposes” would be going public. If the Cuban Embargo legislation was an athlete, opponents would be begging for drug testing. If it wasn’t an incredibly effective piece of legislation, opponents wouldn’t be exalting 50 years later over cosmetic changes to a policy which cannot touch the heart of the legislation, which is to isolate a repressive regime.

Exiled Cuban-Americans vs communist sympathizers on the island … game, set, mismatch all along.

The Washington Post editorial is copied in full at end of post.

————————————————————————————————————————–
Obama gives the Castro regime in Cuba an undeserved bailout
By Washington Post Editorial Board December 17

IN RECENT months, the outlook for the Castro regime in Cuba was growing steadily darker. The modest reforms it adopted in recent years to improve abysmal economic conditions had stalled, due to the regime’s refusal to allow Cubans greater freedoms. Worse, the accelerating economic collapse of Venezuela meant that the huge subsidies that have kept the Castros afloat for the past decade were in peril. A growing number of Cubans were demanding basic human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.

On Wednesday, the Castros suddenly obtained a comprehensive bailout — from the Obama administration. President Obama granted the regime everything on its wish list that was within his power to grant; a full lifting of the trade embargo requires congressional action. Full diplomatic relations will be established, Cuba’s place on the list of terrorism sponsors reviewed and restrictions lifted on U.S. investment and most travel to Cuba. That liberalization will provide Havana with a fresh source of desperately needed hard currency and eliminate U.S. leverage for political reforms.

As part of the bargain, Havana released Alan Gross, a U.S. Agency for International Development contractor who was unjustly imprisoned five years ago for trying to help Cuban Jews. Also freed was an unidentified U.S. intelligence agent in Cuba — as were three Cuban spies who had been convicted of operations in Florida that led to Cuba’s 1996 shootdown of a plane carrying anti-Castro activists. While Mr. Obama sought to portray Mr. Gross’s release as unrelated to the spy swap, there can be no question that Cuba’s hard-line intelligence apparatus obtained exactly what it sought when it made Mr. Gross a de facto hostage.

No wonder Yoani Sánchez, Cuba’s leading dissident blogger, concluded Wednesday that “Castroism has won” and predicted that for weeks Cubans will have to endure proclamations by the government that it is the “winner of its ultimate battle.”

Mr. Obama argued that his sweeping change of policy was overdue because the strategy of isolating the Communist regime “has had little effect.” In fact, Cuba has been marginalized in the Americas for decades, and the regime has been deprived of financial resources it could have used to spread its malignant influence in the region, as Venezuela has done. That the embargo has not succeeded in destroying communism does not explain why all sanctions should be lifted without any meaningful political concessions by Cuba.

U.S. officials said the regime agreed to release 53 political prisoners and allow more access to the Internet. But Raúl Castro promised four years ago to release all political prisoners, so the White House has purchased the same horse already sold to the Vatican and Spain.

The administration says its move will transform relations with Latin America, but that is naive. Countries that previously demanded an end to U.S. sanctions on Cuba will not now look to Havana for reforms; instead, they will press the Obama administration not to sanction Venezuela. Mr. Obama says normalizing relations will allow the United States to be more effective in promoting political change in Cuba. That is contrary to U.S. experience with Communist regimes such as Vietnam, where normalization has led to no improvements on human rights in two decades. Moreover, nothing in Mr. Obama’s record of lukewarm and inconstant support for democratic change across the globe can give Ms. Sánchez and her fellow freedom fighters confidence in this promise.

The Vietnam outcome is what the Castros are counting on: a flood of U.S. tourists and business investment that will allow the regime to maintain its totalitarian system indefinitely. Mr. Obama may claim that he has dismantled a 50-year-old failed policy; what he has really done is give a 50-year-old failed regime a new lease on life.

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About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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One Response to The Cuban Embargo’s other purposes

  1. Wichi Perez says:

    Good point. The fact that Cuba complains about it means it has at least some value. Florida, all of it, should NOT welcome any thawing with Cuba as this state has benefited from Cuba being off limits to US tourists( at least technically off limits). Wonder how many Americans know that Cuba stole/took/approriated many large US companies and their property? 5%? 10%? 1%? The return of the Cuban spies/ conspirators is reprehensible. How many Nazi guards or operatives has the US ever released? How would our Jewish community feel about that? The reality is that America doesnt and didnt consider the murdered pilots as ” real Americans”. Unfortunately, the grossest violators of the embargo are right here in our 305 midst, in the millions and even billions of dollars.As an AMERICAN, which is the country listed on my passport, i am appalled not in the warming of relations but the return of those spies who facilitated the murder of Americans, to go back to their countryt to be received as heros. But again, this president( lower case ” p” on Purpose) is a complete fool on matters foreign. The reason for this is he fundamentally sees America, and its prior acts, as flawed, and seeks to change America into his simpering, white zin sipping vision- Western Europe. A former colonial oppressor now humbled, knees bent, seeking forgiveness from the ” oppressed”, squashing inititiative and free enterprise. If he only could understand that our enemies are, to quote former NFL coach Dennis Green- what we thought they were.
    Our enemies.

    And bowing to them doesnt change them, only us.

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