As the White House last week prepared to put its stamp of approval on a range of Cuba sanctions recommended by Colin Powell, a senior aide to the secretary of state was quoted as calling the decades old-standoff against the communist island, the “dumbest policy on the face of the Earth.’‘
The outspoken remarks appear in the June issue of GQ magazine.
In the article, GQ writer Wil Hylton interviews several Powell aides, including Larry Wilkerson, Powell’s chief of staff who is described in the article as having a ‘‘mind meld’’ with Powell. The two have worked together for 15 years.
Wilkerson criticizes some administration officials as hawkish, citing a lack of interest in negotiations.
‘‘When all you use is a stick, you’re not going to get very far,’’ Wilkerson said in the article, suggesting that with negotiations ‘you can make more progress than if you just sanction somebody and walk off and say, ‘That’s it, I’m not dealing with you anymore.’ ‘’
‘‘It hasn’t worked in Cuba for 40 years,’’ Hylton said.
‘‘Dumbest policy on the face of the Earth,’’ Wilkerson is quoted as saying. “It’s crazy.’‘
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters last week that the remarks were “not the secretary’s words.’‘
‘‘The secretary,’’ Boucher said, “has expressed himself on the subject of Cuba many times. He has done a thorough and excellent job of preparing a report for the president, along with the Commission on a Free Cuba.’‘
The new restrictions limit family visits to Cuba by Cuban Americans from once a year to once every three years and tighten the list of Cubans who can receive cash from family in the United States.