Cuba Politics

Colin Powell aide Larry Wilkerson blasts Cuba policy report

Posted May 10, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Politics.

By Lesley Clark | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Miami Herald

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.

Member Comments

On May 11, 2004, publisher wrote:

Oops. Is that one more against?

Please, serious, post all postive support for this report.

We are looking for comments from supporters.

You can have all the “ink” you need.

On May 17, 2004, serial catowner wrote:

It seems obvious that our sanctions have kept Castro in power for so many years.  Without the obvious external threat to unify support him, he would have retired long ago.  Whether this is good or bad for the Cuban people I cannot say.  I do know it is bad for the people of the U.S..

If we had welcomed Castro with an embrace in 1958, it seems likely the Cubans would have a living standard closer to Jamaica or Puerto Rico.  Keeping full health care and education for several generations will probably be, on the balance, a good thing for Cuba.

For the people of the U.S. it means our electoral process is bent by a group that isn’t really thinking of us at all.  This is almost never a good thing.

On May 17, 2004, armybrat wrote:

I can’t help but believe that what really drives US policy against Cuba (and other countries with a social conscience) is the absolute fear that the Cuban model would provide a measure of widespread prosperity for ordinary people, and thus endanger the elitist/racist/supremacist ideology that forms the basis of American privilege and hegemony. 

I do believe that the decades of economic persecution is aimed solely at undermining any form of government that promotes the general welfare of ordinary people - it would be disastrous for corporate America (and the wealthy) were Cuba to prosper in the shadow of predatory capitalism and prove that there is indeed a superior alternative.

I also can’t help but believe that were it not for the US’ sustained attacks against Cuba and Castro, that a much freer and more democratic government would have evolved - Castro’ defensive tactics, which limit personal freedom, free speech, and civil rights, are a direct result of decades of persecution by the US - which engages in the very same tactics all over the world. 

We must never forget that the CIA has used every sort of despicable covert action to attack Castro - it isn’t paranoia when people really are after you!  The US has forced Cuba into a fortress mentality - a police state - by constantly attacking it economically, politically, and in the past, militarily.  A not-so-small fortune has been wasted in demonizing Castro and socialism - the bane of predatory capitalism.  Had the US spent the same ratio of money against, say, Sweden, that country too would be wary, defensive, and probably impoverished.