There have been numerous news articles about the so-called “new” leadership in Cuba and the need for a change in U.S. policy, specifically an end to the embargo.
I say that the onus in on Cuba, if they want an end to the embargo, it is as easy as pie. All they have to do is implement certain changes, changes which are accepted normative standards of behavior within the community of nations that respect and uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and negotiate a settlement for expropriated properties.
A couple of years ago, Henry posted a letter in response to ENCASA, an group of activists working to end the embargo. While the letter is dated from 2006, and was addressed to a particular group, the principles within have not changed. Just cross out fidel and add raul.
An open letter
From Ordinary Americans in Favor of a Free Cuba
In response to the missive distributed by a group calling itself ENCASA
We are a group of ordinary Americans, many of us Cuban-Americans, who are united in our desire to see the people of Cuba completely free of the communist dictatorship that has dominated their lives since 1959. We stand behind the President of the United States of America, our elected Representatives in the U.S. Congress, and our Senators who have made the strengthening of sanctions against the Castro regime in Cuba a high foreign policy priority.
In forty-seven years since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution the United States has conducted twelve presidential elections, the Iron Curtain and the Soviet Union have fallen; in short the world has changed. In those forty-seven years the United States has on at least two occasions entertained a rapprochement with the Castro regime. In all instances, efforts to reach out and normalize relations between both countries have failed dismally.While almost every variable in the Cuban equation has changed one has remained constant and, of course, that is the leadership of the dictator, Fidel Castro.
Mr. Castro has sabotaged attempts at rapprochement because it would inherently mean compromising that which he refuses to compromise, namely his “right” to subvert other countries in Latin America, and beyond, with the goal of spawning violent revolutions and his “right” to use terrorist methods. It is plainly obvious to even the casual observer that the central theme of Fidel Castro’s policies always has been and continues to be anti-Americanism. In short, Castro’s contempt for the United States overrides any concerns he may have ever had about the Cuban people.
It defies logic to believe that after forty-seven years Fidel Castro will suddenly have a change of heart regarding the role of the United States in the world and conversely his role as its opponent. In short, there can be no meaningful dialogue with Cuba as long as Fidel Castro is in power.
We believe that rather than weakening or removing the embargo against Cuba, that the U.S. has a moral obligation to lead the free world in isolating its totalitarian regime. Cuba has been trading freely with almost every other country in the World for more than ten years and yet there has been no progress towards reestablishing human rights on the island nation. The unique structure of the Cuban economy is one in which the communist government sets the rules so as to capture as much hard currency as possible to preserve its hegemony, while at the same time limiting the natural democratizing effects of free trade.
Additionally, ordinary Cubans are not permitted to openly mingle with foreigners so as to avoid their being “corrupted” by outsiders. We denounce anyone from any country that visits Cuba as a tourist. We feel that it is cruel and inhumane to enjoy beaches and other recreational facilities that are off limits to Cuba’s own citizens which have essentially become a slave labor force.
The Castro regime has also devised a shrewd scheme in which Cuban exiles provide a significant amount of its lifeblood of hard currency through remittances and family visitations. While we certainly understand and sympathize with the desire of Cuban exiles to help their families in the short run, we feel that this system only helps to keep Castro in power by ameliorating the destructive consequences of Cuban economic policies. We therefore are in favor of the strict limitations on remittances and travel to Cuba currently in place.
Contrary to what some would have Americans believe, the United States currently trades with Cuba. In fact the United States is Cuba’s largest supplier of food and agricultural products. These transactions are conducted on a “cash up-front” basis. We sympathize with American farmers that would like to open and develop new markets. After all we are capitalists. But we believe that a free Cuba of the near future will be a much more viable business opportunity than today’s Cuba that has shown a propensity to default on all types of financial obligations. The last thing we would ever want is for American taxpayers to be left paying the tab, a tab that would prolong the life of the Castro regime and thereby hurt ordinary Cubans.
Our opponents would have one believe that we have no compassion for those ordinary Cubans and that we have dubious motives. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is because we so badly desire freedom for them that we advocate policies that will hasten the demise of Castro and his dictatorship. The blame for the failures of the Cuban economy can and should be put squarely at the feet of Castro and his sycophants. U.S. free trade with Cuba will be no more of a “magic bullet” in solving Cuba’s problems than Cuban trade with Canada, Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom, or Russia has been to date.
Now that Fidel Castro has found a new economic sponsor in Venezuela, he has once again made subversion and furthering his internationalist agenda a top priority. His repression of the Cuban people has also worsened. We believe that it is the United States’ best interests to continue to view Cuba as a dangerous adversary, rather than a potential partner as long as a communist regime is in power there.
We would be unanimously in favor of removing economic sanctions against Cuba under the following eight conditions:
1. That all Cuban political prisoners and prisoners of conscience be released immediately and granted an unconditional amnesty.
2. That all Cubans be allowed to move freely within the country.
3. That the existing system of apartheid-like segregation be eradicated immediately, specifically that all Cubans be treated as equals to their foreign counterparts, such as “prominent scholars and artists” from abroad.
4. That all Cubans be granted access to all sources of uncensored information, whether in broadcast, print, or Internet immediately.
5. That all Cubans be granted the freedom to express their opinions freely without fear of repercussions.
6. That all Cubans be allowed to travel abroad freely.
7. That all Cubans be allowed to live, work, and seek a better life for themselves as they see fit.
8. That all Cubans be allowed to elect their leaders through verifiable, transparent democratic elections as allowed for in Cuba’s last legitimate constitution, the Constitution of 1940
In short, we want Cuba to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since Fidel Castro has demonstrated that such reforms are repugnant to him, we feel that there is no other recourse for freedom- loving people than to try to accelerate the inevitable demise of Cuba’s current form of government.
Lastly, we would like to emphasize that ENCASA in no way represents the feelings of ordinary Cuban- Americans. The group is self-appointed and consists of some well meaning but naïve individuals as well some recognized leftists and Castro collaborators. The true leaders of the Cuban Diaspora are the ones that are elected democratically every two, four and six years.
The “new” leadership, fearful of the Revolution’s demise, is playing with a full deck of flashy propaganda cards. Don’t fall for their tricks, don’t fold now against a bluff, don’t throw away Cuba’s future.
The original post of the letter is here.