You almost feel sorry for Arturo Lopez-Levy, a “former” Cuban intelligence officer who now touts himself a U.S. academic. There is no doubt he was simply following orders from Havana when he attempted to go after the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC and its director Mauricio Claver-Carone yesterday in the Huffington Post just a week after the Castro dictatorship’s Foreign Ministry failed miserably in their laughable attempt to discredit the organization. Although Lopez-Levy is not one of the sharpest tools in the Castro tool shed, I am certain he was smart enough to realize he was being set up for failure. And not just failure; miserable and embarrassing failure.
Well, Lopez-Levy’s worst fears came true when Mauricio Claver-Carone responded and schooled this self-proclaimed academic with a lesson in history, exposing him for the apparatchik that he is.
You almost feel sorry for him. Well, almost… Que se joda. Eso le pasa por ser ñangara.
The Facts About South Africa and Cuba Sanctions
In “Mandela, Miami and Cuba: The Real Story,” Arturo Lopez-Levy, a “former” Cuban intelligence official and current PhD student at the University of Denver, accuses supporters of sanctions toward Cuba of creating a “false parallel” with sanctions toward South Africa.
How? By arguing that sanctions were merited toward apartheid South Africa, but not toward totalitarian Cuba.
Fortunately, we don’t feel compromised or pressed to formulate any pretzel logic, in order to defend one repressive regime versus another.
We are free to state the facts.
In the 1980’s, U.S. President Ronald Reagan pursued a policy of “constructive engagement” (that was the official name of the policy) with South Africa’s apartheid regime. This policy was promoted as an alternative to economic sanctions.
It was during a 1984 visit to Washington, D.C., that Archbishop Desmond Tutu famously decried, “constructive engagement is an abomination, an unmitigated disaster.”
History has proven that Reagan was wrong on South Africa.
Yet, thanks to a bipartisan effort in the U.S. Congress, Reagan’s policy of “constructive engagement” was overridden in 1986.
Lopez-Levy falsely writes, “those who consider the South African example to be a precedent for the embargo against Cuba don’t acknowledge that the sanctions against apartheid never prohibited travel or investment, but rather imposed a code of conduct for constructive compromise.”
He should really do his research before writing.
In 1986, the U.S. Congress overrode Reagan’s veto and passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act.
This legislation banned all U.S. trade and investment in South Africa.
It also banned air links to and from South Africa. Specifically, it prohibited the takeoff and landing in South Africa of any U.S. owned or controlled aircraft. It also prohibited any South African aircraft from engaging in air transportation with respect to the U.S.
Pursuant to the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, South Africa went into a deep recession, which (thanks to no foreign bailouts) spelled the beginning of the end of its apartheid regime.
Lopez-Levy also falsely contends, “the sanctions against South Africa… did not try to impose a specific political system on the South African people. The Helms-Burton law, in contrast, does just that for Cuba.”
As a matter of fact, Title I of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act:
“Require[d] U.S. policy toward South Africa to be designed to bring about the establishment of a nonracial democracy in South Africa.”
That sounds pretty specific.
It further “declare[d] that U.S. policy toward the other countries in the region shall be designed to encourage democratic forms of government, respect for human rights, political independence, and economic development.”
And what system does Helms-Burton seek to “impose” on the Cuban people?
According to Section 1 of Helms-Burton:
“To assist the Cuban people in regaining their freedom and prosperity, as well as in joining the community of democratic countries that are flourishing in the Western Hemisphere.”
“To encourage the holding of free and fair democratic elections in Cuba, conducted under the supervision of internationally recognized observers.”
It’s increasingly unclear whether Lopez-Levy is hostile to the facts — or to democracy.