Friday, January 29, 2016

My view - The U.S. should keep the Cuba embargo in place

My view: The U.S. should keep the Cuba embargo in place
By Daisy Penaloza
For the Deseret News
Published: Friday, Jan. 29 2016 12:10 a.m. MST

A year has elapsed since normalization talks were divulged between the
United States and Cuba, and the prophetic words of Cuba's dissidents
reverberate within the current, grim reality of a nation in shackles.
A year has elapsed since normalization talks were divulged between the
United States and Cuba, and the prophetic words of Cuba's dissidents
reverberate within the current, grim reality of a nation in shackles.
Pro-democracy activists "are totally against the easing of the embargo …
the government will have more access to technology and money that can be
used against us," declared Ángel Moya, a former political prisoner, one
year ago.

Sonia Garro, a member of the Ladies in White, having served almost three
years in prison at the time of her release, expressed: "A country that
violates the human rights of its people shouldn't have sanctions lifted.
Here there is no freedom of speech, there is no freedom of anything.
This will give them more leeway to continue operating with the same
impunity that they have always operated with."

On Sept. 25, 2015, Cuba's foremost dissidents sent a letter to the U.S.
Congress: "The lifting of the embargo, as proposed by the [Obama]
administration will permit the old ruling elite to transfer their power
to their political heirs and families, giving little recourse to the
Cuban people in confronting this despotic power."

Clamors for the embargo's lifting persist despite the fulfillment of
dissident and exile warnings that diplomatic recognition of the Castro
regime would strengthen the oppressors and crush popular dissent. The
removal of what little trade sanctions remain is legally and morally

President Obama's negotiations with the dictatorship were conducted sans
the legitimizing presence of Cuba's pro-democracy groups and civil
society. The darkly covert negotiations were also in direct violation of
U.S. law as outlined in the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act
of 1996 (Helms-Burton Act). The embargo should not be lifted until the
requisite conditions in the Helms-Burton Act are honored by the Castro

Situating the embargo in its proper context, Cuban activist Rosa María
Payá wisely observes: "The cruelest embargo, and the one that depends
only on Cubans to maintain or eliminate it, is the one maintained by the
Havana regime against the rights of our citizens."

While contravening U.S. laws and basic diplomatic rules of engagement,
Obama, for the past year, has been rewarding the intransigent
dictatorship with undeserved unilateral concessions. In turn, Castro
apparatchiks have indicated their steadfast refusal to concede not one
"iota" or "millimeter" in favor of measures leading to true reconciliation.

The oft-repeated rhetoric that the embargo has "exacerbated the
hardships" of the Cuban people is untrue. The Castros' totalitarian
system of governance, which has created economic, sociopolitical and
spiritual impoverishment, is the veritable culprit, not the embargo.
Fifty-five years of global trade with Cuba refutes allegations of
enforced isolation. Given Castro's propensity to default on loans, the
embargo has actually saved U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars by denying
the corrupt regime easy credit.

Sadly and devastatingly, opportunistic global capitalists, looking for
profits, perpetuate the exploitation of the Cuban people. Foreign
companies are provided Cuban workers by the state. The Castro regime
deducts 80 percent of the average employee's wages, and pays the
remaining 20 percent in worthless Cuban pesos. Doing business in Cuba
entails striking a nefarious bargain with Castro's monopolies, GAESA,
ETECSA and ALIMPORT, which control the Cuban economy. The Castro elites
hoard the foreign revenue, acquire debts and incur national insolvency.
These tactics financially ruin the nation, but in no way does it affect
the rulers' accumulation of personal wealth.

The fruits of Obama's U.S.-Cuba policy has been an "annus horribilis" of
over 8,600 short-term arbitrary detentions, weekly beatings of peaceful
protesters, extrajudicial killings, long-term incarceration of political
opponents, and a migratory crisis involving a number of Latin-American
nations. The Cuban government has demonstrated a clear unwillingness to
embrace free markets or incorporate judicial safeguards for business
investments. The political opposition, fully cognizant that commerce
without civil liberties is meaningless, seeks a restoration of their
political rights and civil liberties.

The voices of Cuba's dissidents and exiles, ignored and marginalized,
must be respected and acknowledged. The Stalinist purveyors of misery
and death must face justice for their homicidal and economic crimes.
Only then will Cubans move forward with renewed hope and optimism
forging a path to the progress and prosperity so cruelly swept away in
the Castroite madness that engulfed Cuba in 1959.

Daisy Penaloza left communist Cuba on a U.S.- sponsored Freedom Flight
In 1967 and currently resides in Bakersfield, California.

Source: My view: The U.S. should keep the Cuba embargo in place |
Deseret News -

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