Cuba Politics

A lifeline for loved ones in Cuba - Miami Herald Opinion

Posted February 19, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Politics.


The Bush administration has announced a review of U.S. policy toward Cuba with the intention of making it tougher. Thats appropriate. Our policy should be constant and reliable, based on firm principles that protect the core interests of the United States: promoting democracy, fairness, economic freedom and human rights. But tactical elements of that policy should be periodically reviewed to ensure relevance and efficacy. One of those tactics is the issue of money sent to Cubans in Cuba by relatives in the United States.

Ties that bind

Putting aside doubts that this initiative might be an election-year ploy to gain Cuban-American votes, the administration appears to be reacting to South Florida Republican legislators and some Cuban-exile community calls for the president to take a harder line.

On a recent visit to Miami, Treasury Secretary John Snow suggested that the administration might toughen current rules that allow Americans to send up to $300 per quarter to relatives in Cuba. These rules also allow Cuban-American travelers to take up to $3,000 to Cuba each quarter to be divided among 10 households.

If the rules are regularly abused, as is suspected, they are an appropriate target for stricter enforcement. But before lowering the limits or cutting the remittances altogether, consider that family visits and cash support are the human face of the Cuban-exile community.

It may be true that an unintended effect of providing Miami cash to Cubans in Cuba is to help prop up the government by making life in Cuba more bearable. Thats ironic and unfortunate. But the people-to-people bond that these remittances strengthen are a concrete way of maintaining ties between all Cubans—ties that will be tested in the period after Castro. The stronger the ties, the better will be the understanding in the future.

We also believe that those dollars give a measure of autonomy to ordinary Cubans in Cuba who otherwise would be even more dependent on the regime for food, clothing and work. They pay for medicines that the regime’s vaunted healthcare system fails to provide. And they fuel entrepreneurs who could become the backbone of a future free-market economy that can bring prosperity to Cuba.

Enforce the rules

Naturally, the Cuban and Cuban-American community in South Florida contains a variety of viewpoints on the subject. So, its certain that some will disagree, some arguing for a true blockade, others for lifting all restrictions.

But if the administration is seeking to negatively impact the Cuban government, and earn the goodwill of the exile community, stricter enforcement of the laws and regulations already on the books is the right way to proceed.

Considering the benefits derived from remittances to Cuba from South Florida, as they ponder how to ‘‘toughen’’ the rules, U.S. officials should keep in mind the time-honored cardinal rule of physicians: First, do no harm.

Member Comments

On July 05, 2004, turrubiarte wrote:

Envios Obatala pone a su disposiciûn su servico de envíos de dinero y paquetería a la Isla de Cuba vía MÈxico. Por la Solidaridad y Desarrollo del pueblo cubano. Experiencia y Honestidad
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
A partir del 20 de julio del 2004 telefono :(52) 7717156787

No borres este correo, envialo a alguien que lo necesite