I haven't really posted about the recent trip that some US congresspersons took to Cuba because honestly it's just the latest in a well-orchestrated public relations campaign to attempt to remove what's left of the embargo. A campaign that will fail just like all the previous attempts. Why will it fail? Simply because Congress doesn't make foreign policy for the country. The president does. And with a friendly congress for 6 years the president hasn't had to veto much, but he will have to start now.
I did want to direct your attention to this Associated Press report and give my analysis of the idiotic assertions and statements made within it.
Lawmakers promote agriculture trade on Cuba trip
WASHINGTON - Reps. Jerry Moran and Jo Ann Emerson, back from a weekend visit to Cuba, said Monday the U.S. government should ease travel restrictions and expand agricultural trade with the communist nation.
"It's become clear to me that personal freedom follows economic opportunity," said Moran, R-Kan. "The larger trading relationship we have, the higher standard of living that Cuban people have, the more demands they will make upon their government for change."
The problem with this theory as I have stated before is that economic opportunity for ordinary Cubans will not necessarily follow a lowering of the embargo. The reason is that the castro regime has rigged the game. There is no private enterprise allowed legally in Cuba. The economy is completely dominated by government/military monopoly. The government simply siphons off any profit to be made, thereby enriching itself (and funding terror and revolution around the world in the process). The Cuban people only get the crumbs. This isn't a theory. This is exactly how the Cuban system works right now, today, with all of the other trading partners Cuba has. Why would U.S. trade be any different?
"Every single person with whom we met said they want to have negotiations to start building dialogue and communication between them and Washington, which is a different tone than they've taken in the past," Emerson said.
The Bush administration has said it will not open talks with Cuba until it becomes a Democracy. While Moran said he's not a defender of Castro's regime, he asserts U.S. policy is misguided.
"There's a growing recognition that what we're doing is not working," Moran said.
Of course they say they want a dialogue. They want something the U.S. has. But they have never been willing to give up what the U.S. would require in such a negotiation: Freedom for the political prisoners, a call for free multi-party elections, restoration of human rights and property rights. The tired old argument that the embargo doesn't work rears its ugly head again. Well I can say with equal conviction that engagement doesn't work. Europe has been trying that for more than 15 years and Cuba is just as repressive as it ever was. Canada has always had a friendly relationship with Cuba, sending tens of thousands of tourists there every year and how are they repaid? Cuba denounced Canada in the United Nations for HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, of all things. With friends like those, who needs enemies?
"My guess is sooner rather than later that Fidel Castro is no longer going to be the leader of Cuba," Moran said. "That gives us an opportunity to try to increase our relationship and develop an influence over the future Cuban government."That's exactly right. So why would you cash in your only chips now? I'd love to play poker with this guy.
Moran and Emerson have long supported easing the trade embargo on Cuba. Moran backed a law passed by Congress in 2000 that allowed for the export of agricultural products, food and medicine to Cuba for the first time since the embargo began. Cuba purchased about $1.4 billion worth of agricultural commodities from U.S farmers from 2001 to 2005.
But the Bush administration last year imposed new restrictions that require Cuba to pay for goods before they leave U.S. ports. That change frustrated Cubans and caused trade to drop again. Moran and Emerson have tried unsuccessfully to stop the U.S. Treasury Department from enforcing the new rule.
Yes, Cuban purchases dropped because Cuba is a cash poor country. fidel castro is a deadbeat with debts all around the world. Why should our country extend favorable trade conditions to Cuba? So that we can be made the fool like all the other countries that went down that road? No thanks.