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Old 03-31-2009, 09:16 PM   #1
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Cuban Embargo Likely to End?

Washington Post

Roughly a year after Fidel Castro stepped aside and handed much of the responsibility for leading Cuba to his brother Raúl, there is new momentum in Washington for eliminating the ban on most U.S. travel to the island nation and for reexamining the severe limitations on U.S.-Cuban economic exchanges.


Dorgan, who is the lead author of the unrestricted travel measure, said Menendez and a small, bipartisan group of House hard-liners are fighting a losing battle. "It's sort of all over but the shouting, whether our country should maintain this embargo," Dorgan said.

Menendez "has a right to take a position and assert it very strongly," Dorgan said. But, he added, "it's pretty clear to everybody that this is a failed strategy and has been a failed strategy for a long time."
47 years of a failed foreign policy that never achieved any of its stated goals.

Seems to have very wide bipartisan support, nice to see that too.

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Old 03-31-2009, 09:18 PM   #2
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I wouldn't have any problems with that, targeted sanctions perhaps but indeed the embargo hasn't achieved its goals.

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Old 03-31-2009, 09:36 PM   #3
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Also interesting:

Majority support for ending the U.S. embargo against Cuba:
• 55 percent of Cuban Americans oppose continuing the embargo.
• 79 percent think the embargo has worked not very well or not at all.
• This poll marks the first time that a majority has supported ending the embargo in an FIU survey of the Cuban American community since it began similar polling in 1991.
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:13 AM   #4
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Long, long, long overdue.
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:32 PM   #5
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Of course Obama would remove this trade barrier, he is a communist.
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:44 PM   #6
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It would make a lot of sense to remove the embargo. If we do business with China, which is also communist and has a lousy human rights record, then it is hypocritical to but an embargo on Cuba.
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Old 04-02-2009, 10:01 PM   #7
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This is a horrible blow to America's faith-based initiatives. We need to believe the embargo will work, so the Cubans' heart will be open to Democracy's voice.
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:23 PM   #8
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Go Obama!

President Barack Obama plans to lift a longstanding U.S. ban on family travel and remittances to Cuba, a senior administration official said Friday, in what could be an opening gesture toward more openness with the Castro regime.
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Old 04-03-2009, 08:48 PM   #9
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'opening gesture toward more openness' is a horrible turn of phrase by the reporter.

'preliminary gesture toward more openness' might be smoother.

Sorry, I just get cranky about trivial things sometimes.
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:42 PM   #10
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I was in Cuba last week and asked many of them their opinion on Obama and none of them are hopeful any meaningful change is coming, which is obviously understandable..
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CTU2fan View Post
Long, long, long overdue.
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:55 PM   #12
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Commentary: Obama should ask Cuba to lift restrictions -

Commentary: Obama should ask Cuba to lift restrictions

By Roberto González Echevarría
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Roberto González Echevarría is Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literature at Yale. His latest book in English is "Love and the Law in Cervantes" (Yale). He is also the author of "The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball" and several books on Cuban literature.

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (CNN) -- As President Barack Obama fulfills his campaign promises to ease restrictions on travel to Cuba, a unilateral move that seems to presage a further relaxation of tensions between the United States and Cuba, he should ask for reciprocal actions by the Castro regime.

The first should be that the Cuban government lift its restrictions on Cubans traveling to other countries.

Cubans are not free to leave Cuba. If they do so without approval they can be, and many have been, charged with "salida ilegal," or "illegal exit." There are at present hundreds of Cubans with visas to other countries who have not been issued the "white card" by the authorities allowing them to travel.

Latin American countries should make the same demand. There are many Cubans with valid visas to travel to them -- most notably Hilda Molina, the Cuban doctor who has for years been asking to go to Argentina to visit her family -- who have not been allowed to do so.

As the new measures will certainly have an impact on the tourist industry, President Obama is in a privileged position to demand the current apartheid practiced in Cuban hotels and other facilities be removed. Mostly whites work in those hotels, and blacks, particularly Cuban blacks, generally are not allowed in them.

Another move should be to resume normal postal service, so that the goods sent by Cuban Americans to their families do not have to go via specific companies licensed by Havana, at outrageous cost. This gouging creates the possibility of corruption on both sides of the Florida Straits at the expense of ordinary Cuban Americans.

Since more of them will now be traveling to the island, another measure to eliminate tensions among them and their relatives resident in Cuba, and in the spirit of conciliation, should be the abolition of the "Blas Roca Rapid Action Brigades." These are mobs under government employ whose task is to harass dissidents, like the Ladies in White, mothers and wives of political prisoners, or anyone suspected of being against the government.

These fascistic groups often gather in front of someone's house, and pelt it with eggs and stones while chanting insults to those cowering inside. Sometimes the abuse turns physical if they dare come out. These actions are called "acts of repudiation."

Another promise of President Obama, recently reiterated by Vice President Joseph Biden, is that lifting the embargo will necessitate some improvement in human rights on the island. A significant first step would be the release of political prisoners. Independent journalists are rotting in hideous jail cells in Cuba for expressing their opinions.

With such a request, President Obama would best the writer Gabriel García Márquez, Fidel Castro's chum, who has not said a word about the imprisonment of his colleagues -- he has just been happy to round off his first 50 years of servitude. President Obama should also insist on a free press that can criticize the government without fear of reprisals.

Lifting the embargo would allow Cuba access to lending organizations such as the World Bank, which should be wary of Castro's history of nonpayment: The country has the largest per capita foreign debt in the world.

My apprehension about enacting policies that will improve economic conditions on the island is that they will only serve to strengthen the white, male gerontocracy's grip on power. In totalitarian regimes with no transparency or input by the people on the allotment of funds, history shows that the ruling class keeps the lion's share. Cuba is no exception.

The elite's privileges dwarf anything that earlier ones enjoyed. I was amused to read a statement by one member of the Congressional Black Caucus delegation that recently traveled to Cuba in which he said that Fidel Castro lives in a modest house with his family.

According to Juan Reinaldo Sánchez, a lieutenant colonel who was a member of Castro's bodyguard for 17 years and who defected to the United States, Castro occupies an elaborate complex that includes houses for his family and close associates, not to mention a key off Cuba's southern coast, with docks, yachts and helicopter pads that could favorably compete with those owned by villains in James Bond movies.

Fulgencio Batista, the dictator deposed by Castro who, by the way, was the only person of color to be president of Cuba, never boasted of anything resembling it. His "Cuquine" ranch was a joke by comparison. Besides, in spite of the current cliché about the embargo having failed, the fact is that whenever the Castro regime has enjoyed some solvency, it has invested in exporting revolution to other Latin American countries. In reducing Cuba's capability to spread revolution, the embargo has been a partial success.

I applaud this move by President Obama. Half a century is a long time, people want to see their families and help them in whatever measure they can, and since there is no periodic renewal of the government in Cuba, change being dependent only on the whims of biology, some relief is needed to ease the pain now, not whenever the inevitable finally happens.
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Old 04-14-2009, 11:22 PM   #13
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Obama's continued sanity continues to impress.
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:53 AM   #14
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The quid pro quo would do everybody some good. I hope he asks for something in return before lifting the embargo. We probably won't get it, but at least we would be making a conscious effort. As to whether or not we should do it anyway will be a test of Obama's word to the Cuban American community. They'd probably call him a liar and condemn him to hell if he did it without the freedoms granted to people in the home country.

Anyway, I think you'd find a lot more people in Little Havana approving the restriction ban but still criticizing that communist Obama. Even my uber-anti-Obama supervisor agrees with lifting the travel ban.

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