Saturday, November 21, 2009

Embargo and Immobilism

Once again, The Us Congress and Cuba is engaged in an endless balling game. As usual, the well-known heavy machinery of both sides is throwing foam balls against each other and the central issues are the embargo and the lift of travel by American citizens.roger_wood

In the US Congress, the Cuban-American artillery threw the old litany. The well known dinosaur Ileana Ross-Lethinen (see my post about this congress person) conspicuously without any blink said:

“The majority of European tourists have been going to Cuba for rum, for music, for sex, for cigars for sun, for years. Have they brought about any change in government practices?”

Yes, Mrs Ross-Lethinen, there are no big changes in Cuba. In the other hand, my dear, 50 years of embargo and travelling ban haven’t brought any change in Cuba either, but more repression, more poverty, and more isolation to dissidents, civil society and Cuban people in general. Also, those reasons had added more immigrants to US, legally and illegally, and more death in the Florida Straits.

But, of course, Ross-Lethinen didn’t stop there, she added:

“If American wants sun, they should vacation in Florida”

Now, we are talking right now. This personage is just a Florida vacation sell-person in the Congress of US, no doubt about it. But in the other side of the aisle, President Obama said in an interview via e mail to Yoani Sanchez about this topic:

“We have already initiated a dialogue on areas of mutual concern – safe, legal, and orderly migration, and reestablishing direct mail service. These are small steps, but an important part of a process to move U.S.-Cuban relations in a new and more positive, direction. Achieving a more normal relationship, however, will require action by the Cuban government.”

Again, the entire road headed to a dead end.

For what depend of Cuba, the choices are clear: no choice. The government of Cuba doesn’t have any particular interest in develop any engagement with US. In fact, for 50 years all the efforts have been blocked by many manoeuvres of Fidel Castro. We can’t forget the incidents in the embassy of Peru in 1980 and the massive exodus to Florida of thousands of Cubans achieved the triumph of Ronald Reagan, who closed all the doors opened by his predecessor Jimmy Carter. And the key factor there was Fidel Castro.

Now, Castro is not visible in power anymore, but he is behind closed doors pulling the threads to close the doors again.

Now and then, both sides of the Florida Straits are remised to move on. I will say that a huge slap in Castro’s face would be lifting the embargo and the travelling ban. There are many things Americans can achieve with that. But the first would be showing without a shadow of a doubt that America does care about Cuba more than its leaders.

Being more lenient and more courteous with the Cuban people will show who are their friends and who are the enemies.

We can not forget that with the American dollars would be travelling freedom, democracy and concepts unknown by Cubans.

When two nations talks face to face, all the walls lifted by years of isolation and misunderstanding will come down.