Looks like Mauricio Claver-Carone has found his Mini-Me. His name is Rudy Mayor, a US-Cuba Democracy PAC “Young Leader” who recently penned this shameless (or naive) piece of historical revisionism about Nelson Mandela and multilateral sanctions against apartheid, in which he claims with a straight face:
No one will know exactly why the world was able to unite behind Mandela but continued to do so little for dissident leaders like Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet or Berta Soler. However, the U.S. should not let the fact that few countries have stood resiliently against Castro persuade them to change course now.
Just as we look back and reminisce at the strength of Mandela and the support we gave his movement, the U.S. will be able to look back at how they always supported the Cuban people over its oppressors – and that too is worth reminiscing about.
Cute, isn’t he? Who can blame Mr. Mayor. He probably came of age looking up to former Conngressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who recently boasted that his greatest accomplishment in Congress was getting the Embargo codified under the Helms-Burton law (though he got a huge assist from Fidel when the latter shot down two Brothers to the Rescue planes, so Fifo should also get some credit). It’s kinda like boasting about birthing a child with three heads. You have to love it as a parent, even if it doesn’t function right and everyone else thinks its an abomination.
But I digress.
Arturo Lopez-Levy pointed out just a few of the many things wrong with Mr. Mayor’s oped in a recent response piece for The Havana Note:
The UN General Assembly, which almost unanimously supported sanctions against apartheid South Africa, has condemned Washington’s unilateral sanctions against Cuba more than 20 times. The sanctions against South Africa, which were approved multilaterally by the Organization of African Unity, sought to change public policy in such a way as to eliminate discrimination based on race. It did not try to impose a specific political system on the South African people. The Helms-Burton law, in contrast, does just that for Cuba.
The U.S. embargo against Cuba does not meet the standards of human rights promotion, especially since it does not include periodic evaluations of its effects on the civilian population, especially on vulnerable groups.
Solid points. Another reason why the world hasn’t backed the U.S. Embargo is because of the extra-territorial provisions of the Helms-Burton Act (the law which codified embargo sanctions), that allow foreign companies doing business in Cuba to be sued in US courts. The law calls it “trafficking” in nationalized property, which hints at the true motives of its authors. Not surprisingly, Helms-Burton gets no love outside of the United States.
In 1992, only 54 countries voted to condemn the U.S. Embargo on Cuba while 78 countries abstained. In 1995, the year before Helms-Burton was passed, 117 countries voted to condemn the embargo, while 38 abstained.
Four years after Helm-Burton went into effect, a whopping 167 countries were voting to condemn it, while 4 abstained, with only Israel and the Marshall Islands siding with the United States. See the numbers here.
It seemed as if the rest of the world was coming to realize that the best way to combat Cuban totalitarianism was not through isolation, but through openness. Yet back in the early 90′s, those in the U.S. who sought a multilateral position against the Cuba regime had an opportunity to court international support for their cause. It would have been difficult, but back then they could have negotiated and appealed to better angels of the international community, and a multilateral position might have materialized.
Now, one would think that in order to get people to side with you on something, threatening to sue them might have an adverse reaction, but that’s exactly what the authors and supporters of the Helms-Burton law did anyway. They must have figured, “oye, if it works in Hieleah, it must work in Geneva“, but alas, that wasn’t the case.
And so, with the stroke of Clinton’s pen, Lincoln and the hardliners screwed up the only chance they would ever have to rally international support for their Embargo against Cuba. In the process they gave the Castros the most reliable propaganda weapon they have in their arsenal to garner international sympathy for their wicked struggle against “yankee imperialism”.
Since then hardliners have had to resort to paying off members of the U.S. Congress not to lift a finger on the Embargo. Because when you have no moral or intellectual ground to stand on anymore, money is all that can keep you relevant.
So why hasn’t the world decided to support the U.S. position against Cuba, Mr. Mayor?
Because the world thinks Lincoln Diaz-Balart and the hardline lobby he created are a joke.