You say embargo, I say ...
As you would know by now, George W Bush made it clear in last night’s speech that his administration has no intention of lifting the trade restrictions imposed on the Castro regime by John F Kennedy back in 1962.
Not until there is democratic change in Cuba, the US president said.
Now, regardless of your view on the effectiveness or otherwise of the embargo, this was very much as expected. After all, did anyone really believe that Bush would announce he’d be lifting (or even relaxing) the existing sanctions? Hardly.
Still, the presidential comments have upset a few Cuban “experts” in the US, including our old friend Wayne Smith, the often-quoted former diplomat who was once head of the American mission in Havana.
One of those Americans who has long promoted “active engagement” with the Castro brothers, Smith told The International Herald Tribune that “the idea that our embargo, after 47 years, is going to bring down the Cuban government, or even force it to do anything, is absurd”.
“They have trading relations with almost every other country in the world,” he added. “They can get whatever they want."
Well, in this case, Smith is dead right.
And as a bonus, his views run counter to those of the Castro regime and its apologists outside the island who blame the restrictions on trade with the US for the many economic and social ills that sadly beset the Cuban people.
Will Havana ever forgive him?