Thursday, October 25, 2007

You say embargo, I say ...

Ah yes ... the US commercial embargo.

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?


Blogger Lori said...

If Cuba can get whatever they want from any other country, what is the big deal then? Why does Cuba care if the US lifts the embargo?

Is everyone clear that if the US were to lift the embargo it would not mean that American buisness men will be able to conduct business with regular Cubans? They have to conduct business with the Cuban government and extend credit to same.

Would Mr. Smith and anoyone else who thinks the US should lift the embargo cover the debt that the Cuban government will no doubt aquire, when it defaults as it has done with every other country sutpid enough to extend it credit?

Right now the US does plenty business with Cuba but on a cash basis, why should that change? Cuba purchases from the US all things from condiments to yatchs from the US, right now. For a list of the items bought by Cuba in 2006 visit the US State Department.

Finally, the US did not put the embargo in place to behead the Cuban government, it was put in place as a response to apropiations. In all other instances where the US has lifted a trade embargo placed on a country for the same reasons, that country has at least partially compensated the US for appropiated properties. Why should it be any different with Cuba?

11:27 pm  
Anonymous asombra said...

Lori, you're being far too rational. This is not about reason or logic; it never has been. This is about a hypocritical double standard employed by people who have no shame but definitely have an agenda, and that agenda has little or nothing to do with what's truly best for Cuba and its people.

Smith knows perfectly well that if the free world would handle Cuba the way it did South Africa, the totalitarian Stalinist regime that has monopolized ALL power for nearly half a century would end. Why doesn't he call on the free world to do that, instead of criticizing the US embargo? I'm sure you can do the math as well as I can.

Smith is beneath contempt, even more so because he doesn't have the slightest right to meddle or pontificate on Cuban affairs. His presumptuousness is amazing. He has absolutely nothing to say to any Cuban about anything to do with Cuba, and no Cuban with an iota of dignity would ever give him or his kind the time of day. It's beyond me why anybody would give his views on Cuba any notice; they are as irrelevant to Cuba as he is.

1:22 am  
Blogger Lori said...


It just really upsets me to see ALL the people that have come out at the same time WORLD WIDE, to critizise Bush, but never once have they come out with so much unity, against fidel. It boggles the mind.


Did anyone ever think that "tropical gulag" would ever have been printed in newspapers worldwide when describing Cuba had Bush not said it?

Yes Cubans all over the world know what goes on in Cuba, but are we that egocentrical to believe that world wide regular citizens know it too? No Cuban heard anything new yesterday, but many people around the world did, and I'm grateful that the most powerful man on the Earth took 40 mintues to speak about Cuba, to the State Department and to the world.

2:57 am  
Anonymous asombra said...

I know, Lori. It's both depressing and disgusting that so much of the supposedly freedonm-loving world is so brazenly hypocritical, indifferent and opportunistic when it comes to Cuba's tragedy. It always has been. My contempt for it grows every day.

2:06 am  

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