http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/cuban_sanctions_prove_both_inhumane_ineffective/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Cuban sanctions prove both inhumane, ineffective

Posted June 12, 2004 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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By Nicolai Brown | Iowa State Daily Columnist | [url=http://www.granma.cu]http://www.granma.cu[/url]

It’s another election year and once again, the current U.S. president has proposed a plan for Cuba. President Bush’s claim is that if we can hurt the Cuban people just a little bit more, it will somehow helep topple Fidel Castro’s government. Specifically, Bush wants to limit family visitations to every three years and decrease the amount of money Cuban Americans can send to their relatives.

History has shown time and time again that driving the Cuban people deeper into poverty won’t make them violently “rise up” against Fidel Castro. U.S. policy on Cuba has taken business and cultural opportunities away from both nations, stoked world animosity toward the United States, and most unfortunately, made life very difficult for Cubans. The Cuban people have been subjected to economic warfare by the world’s largest economy for more than 40 years. The effects cannot be underestimated.

The war began with the hysteria-driven Cold War politics of McCarthyism. In March 1960, President Eisenhower approved a plan to end Cuban sugar purchases, halt oil deliveries to the island, and organize an invasion.

Castro’s government was unaffected by the economic measures, and the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, while quite expensive for Cuba, was an unmitigated failure for the United States.

In February 1962, President Kennedy extended Eisenhower’s trade restrictions to include everything other than non-subsidized food and medicine. A month later, he included in the embargo all goods made with or containing Cuban materials—even those produced outside Cuba. The result? The Cuban economy, and thus its people, suffered. Castro remained in power. The next year, travel to Cuba was banned and financial transactions with the country were outlawed. Can you guess the result? Economic migrants left Cuba in waves, but the Cuban government remained in power. There were no serious “uprisings.”

Seeing that its policies were doing more harm than good, the United States stopped extending its economic war on the Cuban people. Tension decreased during the 1970s, and portions of the embargo were relaxed. Legislation was introduced to end the blockade, but it failed.

A few notable hostile actions did occur though. One major incident was the October 1976 terrorist bombing of a Cuban plane by CIA-backed Luis Posada Carrilles. All 73 people aboard died. The other nastiness came when the CIA released African swine fever to the Cuban pig population. Half of a million pigs had to be destroyed, which hurt the economy and deprived Cubans of food. There was no anti-Castro revolution. He remained in power.

President Reagan tightened the embargo in the 1980s. It led to no revolt, no uprising, only further economic misery for the Cuban people. Do you see a pattern? The 1990s, predictably, saw more of the same. The old logic of “starve the Cuban people… profit!” was used over and over again, and each case ended with the same results.

There comes a time when people have to recognize the hole they’re in and just stop digging. Shoveling deeper only makes things worse.

The reason behind Castro’s steady rule, despite the crippling economic war waged by the United States, is his commitment to the Cuban people. Under what other dictatorship are the people actually considered? The national literacy campaign began Jan. 1, 1961. Cuban illiteracy dropped from 20 percent to four percent. It’s literacy rate is now equal to ours. Cuban radio even carries in-house literacy programs to other poverty-stricken nations. Cuban television beams local educational programs supplementing the schools and universities. Castro’s government gives university scholarships to poor students from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Some American students participate as well. Women make up about half of Cuba’s university and medical school students. Does this sound like the rule of Saddam Hussein?

Cuba’s infant mortality rate is equal to our low rate of only seven per 1,000 live births. It’s rate of HIV/AIDS is less than one-sixth of ours, and Cuba sends doctors all over the world in genuine solidarity. Cuba’s life-expectancy at birth is equal to ours at 77 years. Former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders toured Cuban medical facilities in 2001 and concluded that “Cuba’s health care system is better at keeping people healthy than the U.S. system.” Is this the work of an Adolf Hitler?

Cubans are poor, but they will never “rise up” against Fidel Castro.

Member Comments

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On June 12, 2004, publisher wrote:

Interesting that the Granma picked up this editorial.

I didn’t see it posted anywhere else.

Great summary of US-Cuba relations. Makes a lot of sense.

Through it on the pile with the others.

Maybe John Kerry can have a look.

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On June 15, 2004, Cubana wrote:

The above article should be entitled a one sided view of Cuba. I find it tiresomely arrogant from US journalists that if it was not for the US embargo everything would be wonderful in Cuba. Rubbish! The reason why Cuba is an economic basket case is because it is a communist dictatorship! It is nothing to do with the embargo. Cuba can and does trade with all the other countries on the planet and can buy as much food and medicine from the US as it can afford.

The reasons why the Cuban people do not “rise up” are many and varied. There is the fear factor - if Cubans do not participate in protests such as marches past the US embassy in Havana they are in danger of using their jobs. Private ownership of firearms is illegal in Cuba so what do they have to rise up with? We all saw what peaceful protest achieved in Tienamen Square. The Cuban Adjustment Act does not help, encouraging economic migrants to flee Cuba (and allowing Castro a ready made safety valve for dissent). Castro has a network of spies and informers called the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution that keeps an eye on all citizens and calls them to account for their actions. He also has a “rapid response brigade” of thugs and dogs to snuff out “anti-revolutionary” activity. Oh, and did I mention the 75 peaceful democracy activists, independent journalists and librarians who were jailed last year for up to 28 years in jail for trying to exercise their human rights? That kind of action by your government rather tends to put a dampener on any thoughts of rising up against it, don’t you think?

For information on what it is really like in Cuba please visit websites such as cubanet.com., rsf.org and amnesty.org

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On October 26, 2004, jess wrote:

Cubana, you obviously have no empathy for the terrible distress the sanctions have cause innocent people. Do you think you could survive on 8 eggs, a half-kilogram of chicken, 3 kilograms of rice, a half-litre of cooking oil per month? And what if you could only see your relatives only once every 3 years? NO matter what the true state of a country is, sanctions cause suffering of innocent people, not change of their government. Sanctions have been placed on Cuba for over 4 decades and have their been change? No. Cuba does need changes (especially with human rights like freedom of speech etc), though are sanctions the right way to go. I don’t think so. Sanctions are defined as: A penalty, specified or in the form of moral pressure, that acts to ensure compliance or conformity.
Bush’ idea of conformity is to be a god fearing Christian.