Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How to Help Cuba's Transition

On the occasion of President Bush's bellicose remarks about Cuba today, let me add my voice to the chorus: the United States economic blockade of Cuba is today the single most significant factor in keeping the Cuban Communist Party in power. The Argentines, Canadians, Spanish, Japanese etc. are funding and profiting from development projects in Cuba that would be business for the US if not for the self-defeating blockade. The restrictions have been in place for over forty years and have accomplished nothing except to keep 11 million Cubans in worse economic shape than they have to be, while shielding the miserably ineffective Communist economic regime from becoming discredited, as it would have been years ago if not for the short-sighted US policy. Cuba poses no threat to the United States, militarily, politically, economically, or by any other index. If the United States normalized relations with Cuba, which it could do unilaterally without so much as a meeting with Cuban officials, the Cuban government would very likely be gone within twelve months, maybe sooner. The Cubans know this and deliberately sabotage thaws in the relationship by executing dissidents, cracking down on political organizing and so forth whenever it looks like the US might soften its line. As soon as one of the political parties in this country succeeds in getting Florida's electoral votes without pandering to the aging revanchistes in Miami, the American agriculture and business community will have our Cuban policy dismantled in weeks, not months, because we're bleeding business. I can respect political differences, but if you believe that the economic blockade of Cuba is good American policy at this late date, you cannot be thinking straight. It is an absolute no-brainer.

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