At Your Own Risk …

Don’t have a Patatún or a Sirimba, but here’s an op-ed. from the bankrupt South Florida Sun Sentinel that brings facts and reality as opposed to the wishful thinking and hope for change of the anti-embargo crowd to the recent media campaign for change in the United State’s Cuba policy.

Obama administration could be yet another that fails to change Cuba
Guillermo I. MartinezColumnist
December 11, 2008
This theater of the absurd has a revival every four or eight years; every time the United States elects a new president.
The plot is simple. The United States should lift the economic embargo on Cuba imposed almost half a century ago. Most embargo opponents say Washington should do so unilaterally, without any pre-conditions. Cuba will change by itself once we lift an economic embargo that clearly has not worked.
An American initiative of this type, the thinking goes on, would pressure Cuba to reciprocate and release its political prisoners, soften restrictions on some type of private ownership of property and businesses and end the stranglehold the regime holds on all facets of life on the island.
At this point, the violins play vigorously to introduce actor Vinicio del Toro as Che Guevara, as in the film. Drums bang as Roger Cohen publishes a lengthy article on Cuba in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. A new poll says Cuban-Americans want the embargo lifted.
Finally a magazine publishes an interview with Raúl Castro saying he is willing to meet with president-elect Barack Obama at a neutral site, “for example, Guantanamo.”
All want Obama to lift the embargo and restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba. Changes in Cuba will come later.
All of these polls, books, articles and lobbying never mention the times different administrations in Washington tried to establish closer ties with Fidel Castro’s regime, always to be rebuked and embarrassed internationally.
Efforts at improving relations with Havana began under President Gerald Ford and continued with Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Castro’s response to some of these efforts: Sending Cuban troops to Africa to fight on behalf of the Soviet Union; the Mariel Boatlift; machine-gunning Cubans trying to leave the island on a tugboat; having Cuban pilots in Soviet-made jets shoot down two Brothers to the Rescue planes; and allowing more than 35,000 Cubans to leave the island in 1994 on rafts made of anything that would float.
Anyone naive enough is welcome to try again. They do so at their own risk.

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