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So, You Still Think There's An Embargo - XXXI
Friday, December 22, 2006   By: Juan Paxety

Some folks in Washington think there is

The half-assed Cuban embargo is under attack once again from various agencies in the U.S.  Florida Today supports House Democrats who say they want to end the travel ban.

Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass. and other forward-thinking House members will also fight to lift the U.S.'s 45-year-old trade embargo with the communist nation.

That's long overdue, though some Florida politicians -- including Gov.-elect Charlie Crist and U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, R-Orlando -- still cling to the embargo in a play for support from South Florida's Cuban-exile community.

The embargo never weakened Fidel Castro's grip on power and is a useless relic of the Cold War that serves only to punish ordinary Cubans, who continue to live in grinding poverty.

Florida Today has obviously fallen for the foolish idea that the embargo, not the totalitarian polices of fidel castro, has caused the economic problems for Cubans. Again as has been thoroughly documented on this site, food and medicine are not embargoed and the U.S. is one of Cuba's largest suppliers of food.

Making money off of Cuba is in the eyes of the folks in Alabama.  The Huntsville Times reports in a poorly written article on the Alabama legislature's call for an end to the embargo.

Alabama can make more economic hay if policies are changed

It's a reiteration, not a change of philosophy. And it doesn't carry the same clout it would if he were destined to head the state Senate again. Nevertheless, it's commendable and important for state Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, to urge the United States to reconsider its trade policy with Cuba.

Barron was part of a state delegation that recently returned from the island nation. It's one of his last acts as president pro tem of the Senate, a position he won't seek again because he doesn't have the votes to win.

Barron has called for an end to the trade embargo.  Earlier this year, the Alabama legislature passed a resolution calling for a change in the trade policy, but the governor vetoed it.  Now Barron wants to try again, and is joined by Agriculture Secretary Ron Sparks, who also went on the recent trip to the island. 

It's Barron's contention that this quasi-embargo makes no sense. And with Alabama's inroads in the Cuban economy, our businesses and industry stand to benefit greatly from broader trade.

Here are some other reasons for reconsidering the sanctions:

They aren't working. Other countries are trading with Cuba. They are reaping the economic benefits. We're cutting off our noses to spite our faces by keeping the embargo in place.

Cuba is about to undergo a major transition. Whether or not he's on his death bed, Fidel Castro's days obviously are drastically numbered. And when charismatic leaders pass away, countries change. Alabama is poised to benefit from that change.

Surely we have learned by now that we can't impose our way of government on other nations. We have to take them somewhat as they are. Talking to them, interacting with them and, especially, trading with them is a more productive program than isolating them - particularly if they don't pose national harm to us, as Cuba doesn't.

The Decatur Daily is also calling for a change in policy.

The Bush administration is missing an opportunity to straighten things out with Cuba because of the strong anti-Castro lobby in the U.S.

With longtime dictator Fidel Castro apparently dying, Cuba may be vulnerable to change. Attempting to make a friend of Cuba rather than carry on the fallout from the Cold War makes a lot of sense.

Again, a case of not paying attention to what's going on in Cuba. raul is clamping down, not relaxing his hold on the people of the island.

Perhaps Decatur's interest in the Cuban situation has something to do with this story. A Decatur based company just signed a contract with Cuba to deliver processed soybean oil.

Back in Florida, Governor-elect Charlie Crist and other officials announced their support for continuing the embargo.  Tampa Bay Online reports:

With Fidel Castro's health waning, Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov.-elect Charlie Crist and other federal and state officials reaffirmed their support of the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba in hopes it will lead to the communist government's downfall upon his death.

"The hour is upon us and the time is now," U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Orlando, told supporters of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy political action committee at the group's annual luncheon. Martinez was born in Cuba, but his family sent him to Florida four decades ago when he was 15 to escape the Castro government.

As for the Congressional delegation that paid a visit to Cuba, they learned some things that you might not expect.  Charlie Bravo has an observation you won't read in the mainstream media.


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