Cuba blockade is 50-year bad policy


Jimmy Carter is an exemplary ex-president. He beats the rest of his counterparts hands down. He is in a "league of his own."

The most recent confirmation of this fact was his March 28-31 visit to Cuba where he called for lifting the nearly 51-year-old blockade against Cuba (along with freedom for the Cuban 5 - more about that in another column). I hope that the Obama administration and a majority in Congress will heed his advice.

The blockade, put in place in October 1960, never should have been imposed on the young socialist state in the first place. There was no good reason then and there is even less reason now. A half-century has passed and regime change is still a fool's errand; the Cold War has wound down; and relations with other socialist states like China and Vietnam have been normalized.

Moreover, there is no widespread hue and cry among the American people to continue the blockade. To be sure, sections of the Cuban American community and other right-wing elements are rabid in their support of it, but is their opposition enough to sustain a 50-year economic embargo? I don't think so.

The explanation must lie in support for the blockade by sections of the ruling class and foreign policy establishment. Evidently some in these circles still can't stomach the fact that the Cuban people led by Fidel Castro, Raul Castro and other Cuban patriots had the temerity to make a socialist revolution that is still unfolding 90 miles from our shores.

Some in U.S. corporate and foreign policy circles still consider Cuba and the rest of Latin America "our backyard."

The election of Barack Obama and his expressed desire to reconfigure U.S.-Latin America relations offered hope that a change in our policy towards Cuba was in the making. But it hasn't yet occurred. Some initiatives have been taken by the administration, but they have been minor.

There has been no hint of any major overhaul of U.S.-Cuba relations, including the lifting of the blockade.

And, I'm afraid, that will remain the case as long as this administration, like earlier ones, insists on internal political changes in Cuba as the price that the Cuban government has to pay for the blockade to be lifted and relations normalized.

If this hasn't worked for 50 years why would anyone think that it will work now or in the future? Don't our policymakers know from experience that the Cubans won't yield to pressure, won't bargain away their independence and choice of social systems?

The Cubans make no such demands on us and we should make no such demands on them.

The Cuban people and their compatriots in the global South want a new political and economic order - free from U.S. dominance, blockades, sanctions and boycotts. They insist, rightly so, on equality and normalized relations. The sooner the foreign policy establishment and the Obama administration understand this and act accordingly, the sooner export trade (which equals jobs), the sale of farm products, and other forms of interaction between the two countries can begin.

In the spirit of Jimmy Carter - Lift the blockade! Normalize relations with Cuba!

Image: A view of Havana. Patxi64 // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0



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  • I would only add that one of the main reasons for beginning the blockade, would be that the revolution in Cuba would influence other peoples and countries in Latin America to seek the same solutions to the same miseries that have plagued Latin America for centuries.

    Posted by Armando Ramirez, 04/27/2011 11:05am (5 years ago)

  • I doubt anyone fears Cuba; thousands of Europeans go there each year without going back to Europe and starting revolutions. For that matter, people from all over the Caribbean go there, and don't spark insurrections immediately upon returning to their countries.

    And American business would be happy to do business with Cuba - especially agribusiness. The embargo is simply a Cold War relic, a quirk of American politics, mainly in place because of inertia, and because no president wants to lose Florida's electoral votes.

    Posted by Victor, 04/27/2011 9:59am (5 years ago)

  • Yes, and don't forget state politics in Florida. Both parties cater to the reactionary Cuban exile vote and that is a big factor in holding our foreign policy towards Cuba hostage to the Miami exile reactionaries-- despite the fact that younger Cubans are taking a more liberal and progressive stand toward the island.

    Posted by Thomas Riggins, 04/27/2011 9:19am (5 years ago)

  • We have unity on this issue. We need more and more, with action.
    The sections of the U. S. right and far right, and fascist minded "Cuban American" puppets, intend to lie,steal and kill to kill democracy and socialism in Cuba-and in the U.S.
    With them its a matter of barbaric principle. Those who are taken by the sheer force of the power of Yankee barbaric imperialist propaganda, must at this time, yield to reason and peace, for the earth is at peril and needs an immediate peace, environmental and its people medical attention, in which areas Cuba leads the world.
    It seems, that until U.S. citizenry follows, in mass, the leadership of our fallen brother, Lucius Walker, for peace, friendship and cooperation with Cuba, what Sam calls "the foreign policy establishment", which truly has an agenda foreign to the interest of the mass of U. S. citizenry, will prevail.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 04/27/2011 5:14am (5 years ago)

  • I agree with this article, and it makes a good point as do unto others as they have done unto you. Here however, is the further look at the problem.

    In 1823 U.S. President James Munroe declared in his manifest destiny, that the western hemisphere belonged to the U.S.A. and that all other Colonial-Imperial powers had best not intervene in their sphere of power, at their peril.

    It is not only forty years of blockade being practiced here, but also the whole process of American Imperialist Empire building in the name of freedom and democracy. That means the freedom and democracy for U.S. Imperialism to plunder and rape the Latin American People and the British areas and people of Canada and the first nations.

    It is an unjust war, and illegal aggression against the indigenous nations, and the peoples, plants, animals, air, land and water of the region.

    The world is watching in nervous anticipation to see how the new worlds power is going to deal with such a plundering destruction of the worlds' livability.

    Workers of the world, unite!! Viva socialist liberation. End pollution wars, not endless wars for more and more pollution. Scrap the war machine, and its manufactury which leads to a four hour work day and the, make love, not aggressive wars any more.

    Posted by Union Jack, 04/27/2011 4:17am (5 years ago)

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