Daily News and Commentary
Bluenotes and Three Heads
Tales and Humor
Our Animal Companions
Ukraine, Cuba and The Embargo
Tuesday, December 28, 2004 By: Juan Paxety
End the embargo?
Democracy seems to be in place in Ukraine after the people went into the streets to demonstrate against a stolen election, forced another vote, and elected a reform candidate. Michael Ledeen, in NRO's Corner points out
For those of us who have long preached the power of democratic revolution, it's a happy day, and I hope that our leaders draw the appropriate lessons:
--The mild support we gave to the democratic forces in the Ukraine proved far more powerful than most of the experts expected. The revolutionaries required a bit of guidance in the methods of non-violent resistance, a bit of communications gear, and many words of encouragement. They did the rest. The same can and should be done elsewhere in the world (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea...)
--Our democratic values are shared by the overwhelming majority of the people in the world, and are rejected, sometimes violently, by tyrants and their followers. We need to stick to our principles, which means that we cannot blindly and compulsively support all the policies of individual anti-democratic leaders just because they help us. That kind of support always gets us in trouble (as in the Middle East, where we are justly criticized for our many decades of support for corrupt tyrants). Sometimes we will have to make some compromises, but when we do, we must still support democratic forces--openly, unapologetically;
It's too bad Mr. Ledeen didn't remember to add Cuba to his list of places non-violent revolution should be encouraged. Or, perhaps, Mr. Ledeen is looking at the idiocy of U.S. foreign policy and understands we as individuals aren't allowed to help the revolution.
People all across the U.S. and other freedom loving countries helped the Ukrainians by sending money, that communications gear, and support. The Bush Administration has cracked down on travel to Cuba and limits the amount we can send our relatives there. That's supposed to hurt castro.
But at the same time, it allows States and big corporations to trade directly with fidel's monstrous dictatorship. From The Des Moines Register
Iowa pork has been sold to Cuba for the first time, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge said after returning from a trade mission to the Caribbean island nation.
Judge said $1.5 million of pork products and $7.5 million of corn, soybeans and wheat were sold to the Cuban government's food importation agency, Alimport, by Iowa businesses that sent representatives to Cuba with her.
While we're all in favor of Cubans being able to eat, but is this the way to feed Cubans and rid the nation of fidel? Or is this more likely another Oil-For-Food scheme with fidel in the role of Saddam?
In Mr. Ledeen's words, we need to stick to our principles, even with a murdering dictator who hates us. If we are going to allow some, such as the State of Iowa, to break the embargo, let everyone break it. Let's overwhelm casto's economy with the economy of the U.S. Let me send my cousins in Cuba as much money as I want. Let me visit and encourage them and provide information on the methods of non-violent resistance when I want. And if castro blocks travel, raise hell. He's used what he calls a blockade as a propaganda weapon for decades. Turn his intransigence against him Maybe, just maybe, if the Cuban people have food in the bellies of their children, as they did in 1958, and they will overthrow a dictator themselves. And we can see the same celebrations in Havana as we see in Kiev.