"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.
Here’s a few items regarding the so-called embargo studiously side-stepped by much of the MSM, the U.S. Farm Lobby and Castro lobbyists (but I repeat myself.):
Per-capita-wise, Cuba qualifies as the world's biggest debtor nation with a foreign debt of close to $50 billion, a credit rating nudging Somalia's, and an uninterrupted record of defaults. In 2007 one of the world’s most respected economic forecasting firms, the London- based Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked Cuba as virtually the world's worst country business-wise. Only Iran and Angola ranked lower. This firm predicted that Cuba's abysmal business climate would remain that way for the next five years, at the very least.
Standard & Poors refuses even to rate Cuba, regarding the economic figures released by the regime as utterly bogus.
In 1986 Cuba defaulted on most of its foreign debt to Europe. Three years ago France's version of the U.S. government's Export- Import Bank, (named COFACE) cut off Cuba's credit line. Mexico's Bancomex quickly followed suit. This came about because the Castro regime stuck it to French taxpayers for $175 million and to Mexican taxpayers for $365 million. Bancomex was forced to impound Cuban assets in three different countries in an attempt to recoup its losses.
Last year the Castro regime suddenly froze $ 1 billion held in Cuban banks by foreign (mostly Spanish) businessmen. “Cuban banks informed depositors that they had no foreign exchange to back up the convertible peso in which many were doing business,” explained Reuters Havana Bureau. Spain’s criticism of the U.S. “embargo” has recently become much shriller.
However valuable to American taxpayers today, U.S. sanctions against Castro's Stalinist regime were not originally enacted due to their abysmal credit rating. Following please find a list of items the Congressional Black Caucus, the U.S. Rice Producers Association and Castro lobbyists (but I repeat myself) are frantically trying to erase or obscure:
In July 1960 Castro’s KGB-trained security forces stormed into 5911 U.S. owned businesses in Cuba and stole them all at Soviet gunpoint – $2 billion were heisted from outraged U.S. businessmen and stockholders. Rubbing his hands in triumphant glee, Castro boasted at maximum volume to the entire world that he was freeing Cuba from "Yankee economic slavery!" (Che Guevara's term, actually) and that "he would never repay a penny!"
This is the only promise Fidel Castro has ever kept in his life.
Not all Americans surrendered their legal and hard-earned property peacefully. Here's court records from a suit in the 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Miami-Dade County by Katy Fuller, whose father was murdered in 1960 by "Cuba's Elvis!" (Dan Rather's term Fidel Castro) for resisting the theft of his family farm.
From The Estate of Robert Otis Fuller vs The Republic of filed May 5 2002:
"Agents of the Castro Government acting under orders of the Castro Government, led Bobby Fuller to a firing squad where he was shot and killed after being tortured by having his blood drained from his body. Thereafter, his body was thrown into an unmarked mass grave in an unknown location."
Here's another lawsuit against "One Helluva Guy!" (Ted Turner's term for Fidel Castro) by the family of U.S. citizen Howard Anderson who resisted the theft of his filling stations and Jeep dealership by Castro's gunmen in 1960: Anderson v. Republic of Cuba, No. 01-28628 (Miami-Dade Circuit Court, April 13, 2003). "In one final session of torture, Castro's agents drained Howard Anderson's body of blood before sending him to his death at the firing squad."
"Death to the American!" screamed Howard Anderson's communist prosecutor at his farce of a trial on April 17, 1961. "The prosecutor was a madman!" says a Swiss diplomat who witnessed the trial, "leaping on tables, shrieking, pointing, as Mr. Anderson simply glared back."
Two days after his "trial," Howard Anderson's refused a blindfold, to glare at his executioners. Medically he was probably in shock at the time from the blood-draining. "Fuego!" The bullets shattered Howard Anderson's body at dawn on April 19, 1961. "Castro is very selfless and moral" assures his friend Oliver Stone.
As I write a Castro-regime plenipotentiary, Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega, is visiting Washington, ostensibly to receive an award from the Knights of Columbus. Most Cuba watchers are convinced he’s also here to negotiate an end to the U.S. “embargo.” Recent pictures of the Castro brothers show them quite upbeat, not exactly snickering and rubbing their hands and poking each other in the tummy, but something pretty close. Looks like a good time for U.S. taxpayers to grab our wallets and hold on tight.
Granted it did no good with the GM or Citigroup bail-outs. But let’s hope the U.S. Senate somehow comes to its senses. The man who already stole $2 billion from U.S. stockholders, who jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin and murdered them at a higher rate pre-war Hitler, who came closest of anyone in history to nuking us, who right before 9/11 stood arm in arm with Iranian Mullah’s bellowing, “together Iran and Cuba can bring America to her knees!”—this blood-drenched thief, tyrant and megalomaniac, it seems to many, doesn’t really deserve a U.S. bail-out.
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.