Advice to President Obama on the Cuban Embargo
Posted: 02 January 2009 09:31 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  992
Joined  2005-11-19

Charles King

The Cuban revolution is fifty years old today and the embargo a little younger. President Elect Obama has been quoted as being in favor of lifting the family travel restrictions and the remittance limits. Now we hear from an undisclosed transition source that this may mean only backing the restrictions off to pre Bush levels. This will not please 68% of Americans who favor free and open travel to Cuba. The chances are that rather than sweeping change, we will be looking at a tiered platform of change. Look for the change to come first back to Clinton levels, next an expansion of these, followed by the full travel restrictions lifted and lastly the end of the embargo.

Hopefully, Obama is far sighted enough to see that the Cuban embargo has much more reaching effects than just US-Cuba relations. The fact is US policy is quicksand and impeding our entire Latin American policy. Anti US forces frequently cite the US double standard and autocratic reign in The United Nations.. They point to our harboring of the convicted terrorist Luis Posada or the double standard that is Guantanamo. Or how we acquired the military base that is on the Cuban mainland. They often mention Mr. Bush’s axis of evil and Mssrs.Bolton, Negroponte, Armitage et al convincing Mr. Bush and Congress that Cuba is a sponsor of terrorism. Obama can look at the OFAC and see how their expenditures are skewed toward Cuba and away from the Bin Laden’s of the world who are indeed terrorists. Otto Reich s sometimes cited as being rewarded for being a terrorist with government posts or how it was the Bacardi family lawyers who helped draft the Helms- Burton legislation. These actions make all of Latin America a skeptic at best.

The fact is that all of the US veterans of Latin American policy are an ole boy network with ties to the CIA, junior diplomats learn quickly that to be anti embargo is to guarantee them a seat at a desk in obscurity. We see Calib McCarry administering 59,000,000 USD for “promoting” a transition. The list of duality goes on and on. But what the American people fail to see is what the rest of Latin America sees clearly and that is a duality dating back to the United Fruit Company politics. Banana republics under the guise of Mr. Bush and America’s freedom initiatives. Latin America does not view these as freedom initiatives; they look at Cuba and see the US is not a good neighbor and has its own agenda. We watch Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, lead ALBA, the leftist trade block and see only Costa Rica and El Salvador (our two closest allies) failing to condemn the US in a resolution.

Latin America is slipping away and unless Obama stops the bleeding it may well crumble the very foundations of this hemisphere. When we see the entire 2008 Latin American aid budget be a paltry 5 billion compared to us spending 10 billion a month in Iraq; we do not have much of a case in Latin America. The easiest and most efficient way to stop this bleeding is to show some compassion and tolerance toward Cuba. Cuba, despite all of its problems continues to lead Latin America in education, medicine, culture and sports. These of course make Cuba’s case against the US very visible. Latin America is watching Mr. Obama and so is the rest of the world. If Obama wants to turn the tide in Latin America he must begin with Cuba and that means relations and immediately starting to lead by example thus showing the world we can be a good neighbor. A strong start would be lifting all travel restrictions; not just those of family. After all, we can travel to China or anywhere else in the world without Treasury restrictions, so why prohibit us from visiting Cuba? We are the “land of the free and brave”. Yet we Americans are neither brave enough or free enough to visit Cuba.

Charles Spencer King

Mr. King is an author who frequently writes on Cuba and US- Cuba relations


Cuba consulting services

Posted: 02 January 2009 09:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
10 to 29 posts
Total Posts:  22
Joined  2008-11-12

Hi Rob, Thanks for showing off my Op ed.


My Cuba books are found here Havana: My Kind of Town and Nature’s Ancient Religion