Posted on Tuesday, 05.27.14
No good reason to weaken Cuba restrictions
BY CARLOS ALBERTO MONTANER
A group of prominent Americans — among them several noted businessmen of
Cuban origin — has written a public letter to President Obama asking him
to soften the measures designed to worsen the difficult economic
situation of the Castro brothers' Communist dictatorship.
The letter is not the result of a dark maneuver by Havana, although the
regime and its intelligence services view it with glee because it
coincides with their interests, but the consequence of an indisputable
truth: Nobody knows how to accelerate from the outside the end of a
dictatorship like the one in Cuba or North Korea. The letter's authors
are convinced that the old American strategy is wrong.
It's an old debate. Whoever drafted the letter — presumably
Cuban-American businessmen — thinks that embracing the enemy and trying
to strengthen the civilian society will weaken of the tyranny.
Will that letter achieve its purpose? I don't think so. It shouldn't,
for the following reasons:
1. Inconsistency has its limits, beyond which we'd have to talk about
schizophrenia. Washington has just officially declared that the Cuban
government is a terrorist government, and Raúl Castro has proved
Washington right by sending to North Korea war weapons camouflaged under
tons of sugar. Why embrace a terrorist regime while approving sanctions
against Russia or Venezuela for antidemocratic behavior?
2. At the moment when the letter was made public, Col. Alejandro Castro
Espín, son of dictator Raúl Castro, was in Moscow signing a cooperation
agreement with Putin's intelligence services. Later, the chief of staff
of the Chinese Army arrived in Havana, presumably to formalize a similar
deal. In the past, Fidel Castro warned in Tehran that all of them
together could bring the imperialist foe to its knees.
3. As Raúl Castro repeatedly affirms, and his top officials reiterate,
the purpose of the economic "reforms" is to perfect the single-party
communist dictatorship. Why should the United States cooperate with an
old and failed tyranny that is trying to overcome its difficulties and
consolidate at its worst economic and psychological moment, when the
entire power structure on the island knows that Marxism-Leninism is a
4. The Cuban regime is a tenacious and permanent enemy of the United
States. Its leaders are convinced that everything bad that happens on
the planet is Washington's fault. They never tire of saying so. In the
past, Havana made a pact with the Soviet Union and even asked for a
preventive nuclear attack during the missile crisis. Today, Cuba is in
cahoots with Iran, North Korea, Russia and the countries of the
so-called 21st-century Socialism to harm their neighbors. Does a
benevolent attitude toward such a government make any sense?
5. There is also the ethical angle. During the 20th century — and with
good reason — the United States was accused of moral indifference
because of its good treatment of dictatorships such those of Trujillo,
the Somozas, Batista or Stroessner. Now it's on the right side of
history. In Cuba, human rights are brutally violated. Last year, the
detentions of dissidents doubled. Cubans have no access to the Internet.
Three hours after the debut of 14ymedio, Yoani Sánchez's digital daily,
its signal inside Cuba was blocked. The United States should not return
to the moral indifference that affected its good image so adversely.
6. The electoral reason must be taken into account. The White House
should listen to the Cuban-American legislators, not necessarily to the
businessmen. Somehow, they express the majority sentiment of the Cubans
living in the United States. Important Democratic Sen. Bob Menéndez,
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Democratic Reps. Albio Sires
and Joe García, and Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario
Díaz-Balart differ on many issues, but they agree on maintaining a
policy of firmness toward the dictatorship.
7. The objective of the United States must be the installation of a
pluralistic and prosperous democracy in Cuba that stops expelling its
citizens toward the neighbor to the north, a democracy with which
Washington can develop respectful and normal relations. Common sense
indicates that this cannot be achieved by helping Raúl Castro's tyranny
in the middle of a crisis.
Source: "No good reason to weaken Cuba restrictions - Other Views -