"The embargo against Cuba is the stupidest law ever passed in the U.S." (Jimmy Carter)
Yet President Jimmy Carter imposed more economic sanctions against more nations than any American president in modern history. These sanctions were against, Rhodesia, South Africa, Uruguay Paraguay, Chile, (the Shah's) Iran and (Somoza's) Nicaragua. President Carter was extremely selective in imposing his sanctions, let's give him that. He was careful to punish only U.S. allies.
But hypocrisy is not our issue here. Stupidity is our issue—more specifically, the stupidity (or dishonesty) of claiming the U.S. embargoes all commerce with Cuba.
Last year after a junket to Castro’s fiefdom the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a report titled “Changing Cuba Policy.” Havana instantly erupted in thunderous acclaim for its policy “recommendations.”
"After 47 years," starts the Senatorial report, "the unilateral embargo on Cuba..." Let's stop right here. Webster's defines "embargo" as "a government order imposing a trade barrier." As a verb it's defined as "to prevent commerce."
Yet according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce (that one would surely hope the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations could easily access.) the U.S. transacted $710 million with Cuba in 2008, and has transacted more than $2 BILLION worth of business with Cuba in the last decade. Currently the U.S. is Cuba's biggest food supplier and 5th biggest import partner. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Cuba's biggest donor of humanitarian aid including medicine and medical supplies for decades. All this together with the almost $2 billion a year in remittances from the U.S. ranks our nation right between Red China and Hugo’s Venezuela as a Castro business partner. Some embargo!
The so-called U.S. embargo merely stipulates that the Castro regime pay cash up front through a third–party bank for all U.S. agricultural products; no Ex-Im (U.S. taxpayer) financing of such sales.
Much of Castro’s enthusiasm for the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee report stemmed from their report’s criticism of this eminently wise (for U.S. taxpayers) policy. Enacted by the Bush team in 2001 this cash-up-front policy has kept the U.S. taxpayer among the few in the world not screwed and tattooed by Fidel Castro.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.