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I’ll spare you the whole diatribe this time around and just stick to the highlights:
Damien Cave of The New York Times
has written an article
titled “Easing of Restraints in Cuba Renews Debate on U.S. Embargo” The essence of the anti-sanctions position in the story is made by Carlos Saladrigas:
“Maintaining this embargo, maintaining this hostility, all it does is strengthen and embolden the hard-liners,” said Carlos Saladrigas, a Cuban exile and co-chairman of the Cuba Study Group in Washington, which advocates engagement with Cuba. “What we should be doing is helping the reformers.”
The thesis put forth by Mr. Saladrigas is that lifting sanctions would weaken and dissuade hardliners while helping reformers. Over the past four years the Obama Administration has loosened economic sanctions in Cuba. If Mr. Saladrigas’s argument is correct then one should see that reformist elements in the regime are asserting themselves and winning policy discussions. That has not been the case. On the human rights front the situation has deteriorated.
What have we witnessed in Cuba over the past four years? The death under suspicious circumstances of national opposition figures such as Laura Inés Pollán Toledo on October 14, 2011 and Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas on July 22, 2012. Increased violence and detentions of nonviolent activists. An American citizen arrested and sentenced to 15 years in a Cuban prison for attempting to provide internet access to the local Jewish community in Cuba. The Obama Administration has continued its policy of extending a hand to the Cuban regime and has little to show for it except more repression and the deaths of high profile activists.
: Here, pro-embargo Washington lobbyist Mauricio Claver-Carone claims we haven’t seen reformist elements assert themselves over the past four years, yet this pesky list of reforms paints a very different picture
. I guess those just happened by themselves? Or maybe Fifo ordered them through one of his haikus? Anyway, there’s a reason why violence and detentions of nonviolent activists has increased in Cuba. Because there’s a lot more nonviolent activism in the streets.
Mauricio ignores that the rise in grassroots activism has directly coincided with the relaxation on American travel and remittances to Cuba. I’m guessing that’s because it would tear apart his claim that isolating Cubans is the way to foment change, wouldn’t it? Kinda like how the Miami exit polls shredded his claims that the Cuban-American community strongly backs hardliners
Caradura-Carone goes on:
…In China and Vietnam the United States lifted sanctions unconditionally and have de-linked human rights considerations from economic considerations. The result has been a deterioration of human rights standards in both countries. On the other hand in Burma where sanctions were maintained the military junta, after years of trying to manipulate its way out from under them has had to recognize the political opposition and provide a space for them in Burma’s parliament.
: Never mind that there is more political instability in China today
than at anytime since Tianamen Square. Caradura-Carone ignores three important facts: (i) there are and have been international sanctions against Burma, its hasn’t just been the US flying solo, as is the case with Cuba; (ii) we never had a travel or export ban (except for financial services) against Burma like we do against Cuba; and (iii) our sanctions against Burma are not codified under a Helm-Burton type law that conditions their suspension on litany of preconditions that amount to Burmese ruling party having to voluntarily taking themselves out of the picture before we engage. One must wonder if Burma’s domestic opposition would have ever made any progress had it been under as severe a sanctions regime as the one we impose on Cuba?
What’s really funny here is that a Cuban state-sponsored news agency also published a summary (of sorts) of Cave’s article, and save for calling the Embargo a “Blockade”, they didn’t inject nearly as much spin as Claver-Carone did in his blog post.
Yes, we are now at a point where our pro-embargo lobbyists are outshining the Cuban regime in the falsehoods and propaganda game.
Before I go to bed, here’s one last example of the unabashed hypocrisy over at Capitol Hill Cubans:
at 9:02 AM
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I think the overwhelming majority of the opposition is against giving more space to the Castro tyranny. This mandate can be seen as a betrayal of Cuba’s citizenry and peaceful opposition.
– Guillermo Fariñas,
Cuban pro-democracy leader and past recipient of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Award, on the European Union’s decision to explore an agreement to “normalize” relations with the Castro regime, El Nuevo Herald