Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Clumsy and Anachronisitc" - Can I Get an Amen!?

For those pundits and politicians who have been trying to use the attack on Yoani Sanchez and her fellow bloggers last weekend as an argument against the Obama Administration's opening negotiations with Cuba, repealing the travel ban, or doing away with the "clumsy and anachronistic" embargo, here are three fresh quotes to consider:

The first is from Sanchez's latest blog post, "Made in the U.S.A.," the second from a Human Rights Watch report, "New Castro, Same Cuba," released today, and the third from an op-ed, "Lift the Ban," published in the Miami Herald yesterday by U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and Representative Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

La Flaca
Made in the U.S.A.
"It is these trade restrictions, so clumsy and anachronistic in my judgment, that can be used as justification both for the setbacks in productivity and to repress those who think differently."

New Castro, Same Cuba
"Efforts by the US government to press for change by imposing a sweeping embargo have proven to be a costly and misguided failure. The embargo has inflicted severe hardship on the Cuban population as a whole, while doing nothing to improve the human rights situation in Cuba. Rather than isolating Cuba, the policy has isolated the United States, alienating Washington's potential allies on this issue."

Lugar and Berman
Lift the Ban - Let Americans Visit Cuba
"Isolation from outside visitors only strengthens the Castro regime. U.S. travelers' dollars ... could aid the underground economy and the small self-employed sector permitted by the state, strengthening an important foundation of independence from Cuba's authoritarian system... [O]ver the last five decades, it has become clear that isolation will not induce the Castro regime to take steps toward political liberalization. Conditionality is not leverage in this case. Our current approach has made any policy changes contingent on Havana, not U.S. interests, and it has left Washington an isolated bystander, watching events on the island unfold at a distance."

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