Cuba embargo has its detractors, supporters

AP News
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Posted: Feb 07, 2012 2:25 PM
Cuba embargo has its detractors, supporters

Washington's 50-year-old economic embargo of Cuba, which the island's leaders refer to as a "blockade," has its supporters and detractors. Here's what some people have said about it:

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"We know the blockade will continue and there will be increased financing of efforts to turn a handful of mercenaries into a destabilizing opposition, but that doesn't take away the dream of a revolutionary people like ours, instructed, armed and free, which will never stop defending itself." _ Cuban President Raul Castro, in a speech to lawmakers Dec. 23, 2011.

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"In addition to imposing economic pressure on the Castro regime and holding it accountable for actions against U.S. interests, the embargo is a moral stance against the brutal dictatorship. Over the last 50 years, the embargo has served as a constant form of solidarity with the Cuban people. I am ever hopeful that a Cuban Spring will arrive as long as we maintain and enforce policies which support the freedom-loving will of the Cuban people." _ U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American Republican from South Florida and chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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"The blockade affects everything and everyone, although it doesn't really affect me personally so much because I have my son in the United States and he sends me everything, even money. But in this country, anyone who doesn't get dollars from the United States gets completely squashed by the blockade. I'm sick right now and undergoing chemotherapy treatment. It's always a big pain to find medicines. My son has to send me a lot of them." _ Annia Rosales, 64, of Havana.

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"(It's) completely necessary. The government there hasn't changed at all. ... There's only one party. And when the younger (leaders) come up, they push them aside." _ Miami resident and retired landscaper Rufino Alvarez, 75, who spent 16 years in prison in Cuba for conspiring against the government.

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"The embargo has been an absolute failed policy for 50 years. ... That is what has enabled the Cuban government to maintain the status quo. Everything is blamed on the embargo, from the lack of basic civil rights to political liberties. ... The only thing it has allowed is Cuba to maintain the status quo and every (U.S.) political candidate to get the votes from Florida and New Jersey by having coffee and talking about Cuba. The embargo has nothing to do with foreign policy. It has everything to do with domestic presidential politics." _ Alfredo Duran, an exile who fought at the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961 but stunned many of his fellow exiles in 2001 when he returned to Cuba and met with Castro.

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"I think the blockade is propaganda from the government and in reality the only blockade here is internal, and that does have a tremendous effect on all Cubans who live in this country." _ Marta Blanco, 74, of Havana.