Monday, January 08, 2007

Cuba: 8 Reasons to Dump the Embargo and Travel Ban

Here is something I wrote in reponse to some conservatives asking this question about the embargo: "The rest of the world is free to trade with them, so why is it that we should lift our santions?"

1) It is an utter failure. 47 years after the embargo was put in place to punish Castro’s turn left, we still have a Castro in power.

2) It violates the basic right of Americans to travel. They get around this by saying travel is ok, but spending money there is illegal… Americans should be able to travel to a place 90 miles from its border, which shares much in common with us. And if Cuba is such a failure, the US should encourage us leftists to go there and see for ourselves.

3) It is morally and ethically undefensible. The United Nations has voted every year that the embargo is illegal, this year 183-4 (we had Israel, Marshall Islands and Palau on our side). The embargo is estimated to cost Cuba billions of dollars a year, besides the headaches of trying to secure parts for old American machines or goods that are only manufactured by US owned companies. Cuba is forced to transport things like Rice and grain from China and Vietnam, rather from the port of Miami and New Orleans. Cuba is not allowed to sell anything to the largest and most natural market. Cubans can not import many items like automobiles because ships are prohibited from entering U.S. ports for six months after making deliveries to Cuba.

4) The embargo costs American businesses billions of dollars of lost business. Already, despite all the restrictions (like having to pay cash), Cuba has jumped to the top 20 in export markets.

5) The American people support normal relations with Cuba (66% to most recent polling) and the (Republican) House of Representatives has passed positive legislation numerous times in recent years - only to relent under Bush’s veto threat.

6) Cuban Americans are often not allowed to visit family members if they go ill or have died (they can only visit once every three years, thanks to Bush). And, per Bush’s rules, aunts, uncles and cousins no longer count as family members to be visited.

7) The embargo gives the Castro brothers an excuse for shortcomings of the Revolution.

8) Cuba policy continues to play the largest role in our Hemisphereic policy, forcing counties to choose sides and alienating the US from much of our neighbors.


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