Editorial in The Republican, Springfield, Massachusetts
Embargo of Cuba a historic failure
Sunday, November 04, 2007
The United States has its hands full with the war in Iraq, the continued threat of terrorism and Iran's nuclear ambitions.
So what did President Bush want to talk about recently when he spoke at the State Department in Washington?
Fidel Castro and democracy in Cuba.
Bush repeated his support of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, which has been in place since 1961.
He appealed to the nations of the world to stand with the United States against the oppressive Castro regime.
And he asked the international community to contribute to a Freedom Fund for Cuba to promote democratic reform in the island nation.
Given his low popularity ratings in the world and the failure of U.S. policies in Iraq, it is unlikely that many nations will rush to help Bush in this cause.
In fact, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday calling for an end to the embargo, as it has done each year for the past 16 years. The vote was 184 in favor and four opposed.
The next administration, whether it is Democratic or Republican, should end the embargo and lift travel restrictions.
The Bush administration and eight other administrations before it have argued that the embargo would force Fidel Castro to change his evil ways and allow economic reforms that would eventually lead to a more democratic government. This policy has failed for more than four decades, and it's time for the U.S. to show that it has learned from its mistakes.
Castro has felt no pain, at least not pain caused by U.S. policy. In fact, he has used the embargo to demonize Bush and other presidents, to distract his own people from the abuses and failures of his oppressive government and to strengthen his hold on power.
Castro and his brother Raul, in charge while Fidel continues to recover from gastrointestinal surgery last year, probably wish Bush would talk about Cuba every week.
If the U.S. wants to see change in Cuba, it will first have to make some changes itself.