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Cuba, the embargo and politics

I was born and raised in Cuba but in 1961, three months after the Bay of Pigs fiasco and thirty two months into the Castro regime, having experienced and suffered under a repressive, totalitarian, communist regime, I managed to escape and sought refuge in the USA. I was nineteen at the time.
So it may surprise you that I am in favor of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Why? The embargo, designed to isolate Cuba, has been going on for about 55 years. The Cuban government blames it for some of its shortcomings, like the lack of food. Cuba imports almost 80% of the food it consumes, which is peculiar because Cuba is a very fertile land capable of three crops a year. So obviously this failure underscores the collapse of the Castro system and we finally have them where we want them, right? Wrong! The USA is Cuba’s main food supplier and Cuba’s 5th largest trading partner.
How is that possible? Well, maybe we sell them food for humanitarian reasons, right? Well, not really. As long as they pay cash our Agro businesses will argue that if we don’t sell them the food, someone else will. Might as well be us.
So instead we should use the embargo to choke of their source of income, their economy, right? Wrong again. Cuba gets most of its money from perfectly legal remittances by Cuban exiles to their families in Cuba.
So what exactly does the embargo entail?
For one thing, Americans cannot officially travel to Cuba. But Cubans with close relatives in Cuba can, and do so, often, bringing jeans and electronics and everything that their ‘close relatives’ in Cuba ‘need’ or can make a living by selling. Apparently that is different from exporting goods to Cuba which is strictly prohibited under terms of the embargo.
In short, the embargo and the lack of diplomatic relations are a political farce. The same Cubans who ‘support’ their families—and hence the regime—oppose reconciliation and the politicians, whether the Republican Rubio in Florida or the Democrat Menendez in New Jersey, eager for Cuban votes, have kept this farce going. If you don’t believe me just consider that after fifty five years of embargo the Castro brothers remain in power—Fidel is 88 and Raul, the current president, 83. We all know the definition of insanity; doing the same thing but expecting different results.
And please lets not bring up human rights or the freedom of Cubans because the USA is friends and have diplomatic relations with some of the worst offenders in the world.
So lets stop the nonsense and get on with it. If we really want the Castro regime to fail, lets resume diplomatic relations, let Americans export goods to the island, let Americans travel to Cuba and let Cubans get a real taste of how we live, let them get a hold of jeans and Rock and Roll and flat TVs and cars that run and in no time Cubans will demand access to those items, free enterprise will get a foothold and the USA will regain a friendly neighbor. Cubans are clever people who have been making do as best they can since 1959. Take it from me; some of my best friends are Cuban.

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