Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Debate over the Cuba Embargo and Adjustment Act

The Debate over the Cuba Embargo and Adjustment Act
June 28, 2014
Miguel Fernandez Diaz (Café Fuerte)

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba Poll 2014, a survey conducted by the Florida
International University (FIU), has caused a great media stir and
different factions within the Cuban community are venting their passions
as they set out to ratify or challenge the results.

Some of the most significant upshots include the fact that, in
Miami-Dade county, 52% of Cuban-born residents are against the US
blockade and 86% in favor of maintaining the Cuban Adjustment Act.

These conflicts are of a psychological nature: from the legal
standpoint, lifting the blockade that has been in effect since 1962 and
maintaining the Cuban Adjustment Act (passed in 1966) is impossible. It
is rather curious that even experts and analysts pour forth opinions
without grabbing this particular bull by the horns.

There are two legal foundations that ought to be at the center of the
debate and which are all too often neglected when people speculate about
the Cuban dilemma:

According to the Helms-Burton Act (passed in 1996), the president of the
United States can take measures to suspend the embargo if he believes
that a "Cuban transition government" has come to power and notifies the
pertinent committees of this following consultation with Congress. To
lift the embargo, the Cuban government would have to give way to one
that is "democratically elected" (as Section 204 establishes).

According to the Legal Immigration and Immigrant Responsibilities Reform
Act (1996), the Cuban Adjustment Act would be revoked if and only if the
"democratically elected government" demanded by the Helms-Burton Act
comes to power in Cuba.

The contradictory aspect of the opinion poll is that those surveyed do
not appear to adhere to the political decision that establishes that the
Cuban Adjustment Act presupposes the embargo (and vice-versa), until the
White House determines that Castroism has disappeared in Cuba.

Catch 22

Another far more significant contradiction thus comes to the fore: if
the embargo were contributing to the disappearance of Castroism, the
Cuban Adjustment Act would be helping perpetuate it, driving a constant
exodus of Cubans that, after settling permanently in the United States
(some 384,344 Cubans did so between 2001 and 2012), enter into the
travel and remittances industry. The Havana Consulting Group estimates
that Cuba takes in US $ 2.8 billion in cash through remittances and US $
3.5 billion through in-kind remittances sent from the United States.

And, since a quarter of a million Cuban immigrants acquired US
citizenship between 2001 and 2013, the anti-Castro electorate is being
gradually eroded by voters who, in their overwhelming majority, are
moved, not by the historical mission of establishing a "democratically
elected government in Cuba," but by the personal desire to make their
lives in the United States more comfortable and helping their relatives
back home, even if they're aware that they are also helping the regime
this way.

How will these contradictions within the Cuban community ever be reconciled?

Source: The Debate over the Cuba Embargo and Adjustment Act - Havana -

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