Yesterdays usual slanted press coverage of the announcement from Cuba did have a positive aspect; the statements by government officials expressing solidarity with the Cuban people in their desire for democratic change.
I know, talk is cheap, especially in Washington, but I believe there is value in people knowing that it is not just exile hardliners and their right wing allies that desire freedom for the Cuban people. American officials of all stripes, chimed in on the side of the freedom for Cuba, including Nancy Pelosi: “The resignation of Fidel Castro is a reason to hope that freedom is closer than it was when he was the public face of an oppressive regime, but is not a guarantee of a democratic future for the people of Cuba.
“As Cubans at home and those living abroad continue their efforts to create a true democracy in their nation, all of us in the international community should continue to encourage the aspiration of the Cuban people for liberty – the fulfillment of which is long overdue.”
However, not everyone rose to the occasion, and Babalu readers will not be surprised to read that two frequent flyers to Havana have kept their bargain with the
“The United States’ embargo on Cuba is one of the most backward and ineffective foreign policies in history. Today, America has an opportunity to finally turn a new page.” — Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.
“Let’s hope that his resignation opens a new chapter. Whether that new chapter will be open, however, largely depends on a new approach to Cuba by the U.S. government.” — Rep. Jeff Flake., R-Ariz.
Chris Dodd and Jeff Flake are implying that somehow U.S. policy is punitive and irrational, and that the U.S. is responsible for Cuba’s problems. They ignore the reason for the embargo, which is in response to the billions of dollars Cuba owes for expropriated American property. Cuba has never offered to provide compensation for that property. They ignore the fact that the U.S. is already the largest supplier of food to Cuba, and they ignore the fact that Cuba is free to trade with any other nation it chooses. Most importantly, they ignore the fact that it is Cuba’s failed socialist system of government that is responsible for Cuba’s failed economy, not the United States.
Why should the U.S. fund fidel castro’s failed dictatorship?