Monday, November 24, 2008

Debate at USA Today

USA Today has posted a debate on the US embargo towards Cuba. The editors have made their argument against the embargo, and Radio Mambi's Ninoska Perez-Castellon argues for. Below is a brief summary.

USA Today argues:

"The embargo has failed embarrassingly in its original intention of removing communist dictator Fidel Castro from power and triggering a rush to democracy... Over the longer term, the new administration would do better to model Cuba policy on longstanding U.S. policy toward China. U.S. leaders have long held that engaging with China is the best way to foster more political freedoms. An Obama administration would still need to pressure the Castro regime hard to release political prisoners and allow more human rights...Relationships between nations, as in extended families, are shaped by history. When the reasons for old antagonisms are lost in the mists of time and are counterproductive, probing new approaches makes sense."

Perez-Castellon argues:

"There seems to be a renewed interest in lifting the embargo and normalizing relations with Cuba... To do so, would mean that the countless crimes committed by [the Cuban government] would be ignored and, what is worse, the existing ones would become acceptable... The fact is that for the embargo or the additional sanctions to be lifted, certain steps must be taken: Respect for human rights, the release of all political prisoners and free and democratic elections. It's the Cuban regime that must change, not U.S. policy."

In a nutshell, Perez-Castellon is saying that we should continue waiting for changes inside Cuba. How long we should wait is not stated. But, those who are familiar with Perez-Castellon's past comments know that she means the US should tighten sanctions further (maybe intervene militarily) and THEN we wait for a sign of weakness for the US to take advantage of.

On a related note, the Brookings Institution just released their recommendations concerning US policy towards Cuba. So far it looks GREAT. I will be reading them and posting them in a moment.