The US Blockade on Cuba is More Unpopular Every Day

Elio Delgado Legon

Havana bus stop.

HAVANA TIMES —The US blockade on Cuba continues to generate news and more and more enemies in the international community. The most recent news was related to what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote on the subject in her recent book Hard Choices.

The possible Democrat presidential candidate tells us that she had suggested to President Obama that he take steps to normalize relations with Cuba, claiming that the policy of blockade maintained for over 50 years has failed.

Recently, during an interview with Univision, Mrs. Clinton again referred to relations with Cuba and insisted on her wish to move in this direction and to have US citizens travel to and from Cuba without restrictions whatsoever.

On more than one occasion, renowned US politician and former President James Carter has also declared his opposition to the continuation of the blockade imposed on Cuba. He even visited our country and met with its leaders, to whom he expressed his wish to see relations between the two countries restored.

This year, a large delegation of US politicians and entrepreneurs, headed by the chair of the US Chamber of Commerce (who called for improved commercial relations between the two countries), visited the country.

I’ve mentioned three important political personalities from the US who declare themselves against Washington’s economic, commercial and financial blockade, imposed on Cuba more than 50 years ago, a blockade that has cost our country more than one trillion dollars but has not achieved its objective of destroying the revolution. The economic losses it creates have caused the Cuban people numerous shortages, but they have not achieved the declared objective of making the people blame the government for the country’s economic problems, for the Cuban people are neither illiterate or ignorant.

In addition, on 22 consecutive occasions (and almost unanimously in recent years), the UN General Assembly has voted for the elimination of this measure. The United States and Israel have voted for maintaining the blockade, and the world’s opinion has been consistently ignored.

Though it is true the Obama administration has lifted a number of restrictions on cultural, sporting and religious exchanges and made it easier for Cubans to visit their relatives and send remittances to the island, it is also true his government has stepped up its persecution of banks that conduct any type of financial operations with Cuba, imposing huge fines on these.

The fines applied on banks have resulted in a situation in which no banking institution wants to offer Cuba’s consular office or Cuba’s UN representation any kind of financial service, in violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relationships. Banking services have also been denied the Cuban embassy in the Dominican Republic, and the oil company Shell refuses to supply Cuban planes with fuel. So, what restrictions have actually been lifted? The US government has loosened the screws at one end and tightened them at the other.

I hope Mrs. Clinton, were she to become president, is true to her declarations and demonstrates she has more common sense than the 11 presidents who have come before her, since the time the blockade was first established.

The Cuban government has declared on numerous occasions that it is willing to hold talks with the United States on an equal footing, particularly on controversial issues and those that affect relations between the two countries.

68 thoughts on “The US Blockade on Cuba is More Unpopular Every Day

  • With regard to the comments upon the Cuban electoral system, the only intelligent response is: RUBBISH – GARBAGE – BASURA. “It costs nothing to be nominated for and win even highest political office in the land”. When did you see anyone challenge either of the Castro brothers?

  • The only genocide is the Castro vrothers prehistoric dictatorship.
    What you said is like blaming your body because it got sick

  • The Cuban people and the revolution never “rejected” multiparty democracy. The anti-Bastista revolution was fought to restore the democratic constitutional multiparty system as set up under the 1940 constitution. The Castro coup imposed a one party Stalinist style system.
    “Elections” in Cuba are a sham as the UN rapporteur stated. Local candidates are “selected” in “public” meetings run by the “chivatos” (informers) the CDR. From then on committees controlled by the regime select al “national candidates”.
    Cubans have no choice and no democratic remedy as all “candidates” always are “selected” by the regime that controls the complete process.

  • It is rubbish to say that Cuba only has money to import food. Go to the shops owned by the military (Gaviota) and the others owned by state companies – look at the electrical equipment, TVs stoves, refrigerators. What abouit all the Yutong buses and rubbishy Geely cars imported from China for State companies such as Viazul and Cubacar?
    What about BMWs for the leadership?

  • The profits from all those cell phones go to the owners of ETECSA – Rafin SA – Raul and Fidel Castro

  • As I said elections in Cuba are not monitored so they can’t be commented on. The results were expected. What I’m saying is that everyone is aware of this…Se cae de la mata.

  • I guess you haven’t been to Cuba lately. Cell phones are everywhere. Perhaps you are thinking about the military-grade spyware that Alan Gross was covertly distributing in Cuba. That would be a crime in any country, including the USA.

  • The last thing he wants is to live like a Cuban.
    He demands rights for himself that he gladly denies others.
    In that sense you are correct calling him “hypocritical”.

  • Here’s one quote from your 2008 elections
    “…Both brothers easily won re-election to the rubber-stamp legislature known as the National Assembly of Popular Power, as did all of the 614 candidates presented to the island’s 8.4 million voters on Jan. 20.” USA Today
    These results have quite a bit in common with voter results in North Korea and the old Soviet Block….near 100% turn out and unanimous government support. Seems to defy human nature. As I said before, it’s all quite obvious.

  • In reality Cubans have enough of the corrupt one party dictatorship they have expressed in various polls.
    The “vast majority” want change, but their freedom of expression and association is repressed.
    The people now has NO SAY in how the system works. It is a Stalinist dictatorship
    Freedom of speech and multi-party democracy can save Cuba.

  • Review the coverage in the international news media coverage of those elections for yourself. They talked about the Cuban electoral system like I had never seen before in the capitalist media. And, for most part, they were getting it right. I was pleasantly surprised.

    Much to your chagrin, no one — not the anti-Cuban Miami media, or even those Cuban stooges on the US payroll — were suggesting that there were any irregularities. They couldn’t. Too many people from around the world were watching and could see for themselves.

  • “The heroic resistance of the Palestinian people in Gaza is an inspiration to the world” The aggressive actions of Hamas led by their leader safely esconced in Qutar and with the declared objective of eliminating Israel off the map is an example of the callous use of civilians in Gaza as human shields. People get what they vote for or support and pay the price – in this case sadly with their lives and those of their children.
    Israel has a right to exist. Hamas has been properly described as a terrorist organization. Even Palestinians detest Hamas extremism. Yes, I have been to Israel and to the West Bank but not closer than 300 yards from Gaza. Have you?

  • That’s does not seem possible as Cuba does not allow ANY monitoring of this sort. Any outside interest was because of a “transition” in power (I believe that’s how it was represented in the international media). Fidel, after almost 50 years in power had to step down due to an illness, and as we all suspected his brother Raul stepped in.

    But you are correct on one point, it certainly wasn’t secret. Everyone already knew Raul would take power. A sure bet in Vegas!

  • your arguments somehow never seem to address the reality that elections in Cuba are meaningless. A Castro sits on top and appoints underlings and functionaries who make laws by decree which the parliament rubber stamps. Now, you may like him and admire him, many do (there’s no accounting for taste), however few people in today’s world believe Cuba to have any real sort of democracy or freedom. In fact I’d like to see anyone have the conversation you and I are having in a public forum in Cuba. Why cant they? …answer me that!

    …Like your Cuban elections, it’s all a fraud, a “Potemkin village” for the useful idiots to rally around.

  • As I recall, the first elections after Fidel retired (2008?) were under an international media microscope. There was not a hint from any quarter — not even from the rabidly anti-Cuban Miami media — that this was anything but a clean vote. Only the tin-foil hat brigade (you, too?) would think the vote wasn’t secret. Must be frustrating as hell for you.

  • And Saddam Hussein had 99% support in his elections before the US attack/invasion. Strange that he had to go into a hole and few were willing to defend that great system everyone supported. Your idea of the Cuban elections is heads down on a piece of paper but has nothing to do with reality where no choice is no choice and many people do not think their vote is secret.

  • Every national election in Cuba amounts to a plebiscite on the Revolution and its institutions in that voters have the option of rejecting every candidate on the ballot. Typically, only about 5% do so. (I suppose you would fall into that small minority.) If the majority did so, an entirely new slate of candidates would have to be put forward and another vote held.

    For obvious reasons, there are never any plebiscites on the political system in the US. They only real option to “vote” against the US political system is to not vote (as 40 to 60% typically do). And such abstentions are ignored in the US system. Their numbers are kept for statistical purposes only.

  • LOL! Good point. Actually, the NSA has the means to tap the phones in Cuba anyway.

  • There is an old post by Circles Robinson (the editor of Havana Times) that I like to use to refute your misleading statement (my apologizes to Circles)

    “…virtually all decisions are made as executive orders by the Council of Ministers, the parliament is relegated to rubber stamping decisions already made and sometimes already implemented.
    Virtually all votes are unanimous and any debates among the members are held behind closed doors. Even an abstention is highly rare. This is to say 612 deputies routinely agree with every executive order passed by the Council of Ministers”.

  • Yours is a purposely misleading argument loaded with false assumptions.

    ….To make a long story short the Cuban people currently HAVE NO SAY in their government. They were mislead by Castro and when his true colors finally showed it was too late – for the Cuban people.

    The Castro brothers have ruled the island by decree for 50 + years, with disastrous results – a great big “mierda” of a disaster, from agriculture to industry it’s one long failure of central planning.

    As a Cuban I would yet be happy to see the 1940 constitution restored, but I fear the damage has long been done. The sad future I see is one of authoritarian military rule with a somewhat open economy – a la China. And the Cuban people? …They continue to get the shaft!

  • In reality Cubans had had enough of your corrupt, multiparty system. And, from what I can tell, the vast majority have not been clamouring for a return to that system. But this system is precisely what the US regime would inflict once again on the Cuban people who would have NO SAY in the matter.

  • I don’t agree with you. And your plebiscite wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. As I have indicated before, Cuba is government by decree with a sham of a voting process meant only to give the illusion of democracy. In reality Cuba has been ruled by one family for over 50+ years

  • There is always a broad consensus developed in committees before any matter comes to a vote in the National Assembly. Just because we don’t see the kind dysfunctional and destructive hyper-partisanship seen in US legislatures doesn’t mean the Cuban system is not democratic. Quite the contrary.

  • I think you would have found very few Cubans in 1959 who supported the multiparty system in their country, subject as it was to the corrupting influences listed above. In 1976, they voted overwhelmingly in a plebiscite in favour of a socialist constitution featuring a one-party state and collective ownership of the means of production and distribution.

  • correction: I meant to say “Castro did not portray his revolution as being Communist and said as much.”

    My apologies for the confusion

  • The old communist die hard’s love to continue spewing these lies about the revolution. Unfortunately for you History leaves a a record, and that record shows that Castro said his revolution was NOT portrayed as being. Castro said as much and indicated that he was looking to restore the 1940 constitution. So it’s clear that for the most part the Cuban people knew nothing of what Castro’s true intentions were. I can lend you my old Feb 1959 copy Bohemia magazine if it will help.

    The Cuban electorate has absolutely no power (even taking your comment at face value) as the National Assembly is simply a “rubber stamp” committee to the Decrees of the Castro dictatorship. …No Honesty there!

  • I am not talking about “theoretical” possibilities. The fact is, under the terms of the despised Helms-Burton Act, the US-sponsored genocide will continue until Cuba’s socialist system is thoroughly and irreversibly dismantled. And the Cuban people are to have no say in the matter. Some “democracy!”

  • The text of the law is very clear: it excludes only the Castro dictatorship and does not exclude a role of the state in a mixed economy.

    All European countries meet the description I gave. The government is the “residuary actor” that takes on socially important roles that only a government can take on (infrastructure, social security, …).
    The extent of the role of a government isn’t determining: the driving forces and the residuary nature of the government are. That can change over time.
    Hungary, Sweden meet the criteria. China is an oligarchy with communism as an excuse. Venezuela is a state under destruction from a madman that speaks with birds. Singapore is economically market driven but socially authoritarian.

  • You said “a real mixed socialist or social democrat system with a large role for the government in the essential services of is fully compliant” and I asked on what grounds did you decide that this was compliant. You then bring up a description that most economies in Western Europe and none that could be described as mixed socialist or social-democrat would be compliant with. There is no agreed criteria for determining what is and what isn’t a market economy. A little test for you – which category would these countries come under – Hungary (1980s), the former Yugoslavia, China, Singapore, Sweden, Venezuela.

  • But Bob, the point is that the embargo and it’s limitations, stigma, and uncertainty is the key component that is hampering much more investment in Cuba from abroad. To be successful in this integrated global economy, it’s necessary to have access to the largest market in the world. How successful would China have been if the US had not opened their doors to both investment and consumption of Chinese manufactured products?

  • I didn’t say Cuba is “compliant” as it lacks a lot of aspects both on the economical part (compensation of expropriated goods, …) and the political part (no freedom of speech, no parties, ….). It has introduced some minimal aspects of a market economy.

    I think this describes it pretty well:
    An economic system in which economic decisions and the pricing of goods
    and services are guided solely by the aggregate interactions of a
    country’s citizens and businesses and there is little government
    intervention or central planning. This is the opposite of a centrally
    planned economy, in which government decisions drive most aspects of a
    country’s economic activity.

    That Cuba hasn’t achieved that yet is clear. The disastrous “state planning” system is still in place.
    It also still is a dictatorship.

  • Multiparty politics was a scourge in pre-revolutionary Cuba, and the Cuban people resoundingly rejected it with the triumph of the Revolution. The corrupting influences of the AT&T, United Fruit (now Chiquita), other monied interests and the CIA are still present (now only 90 miles offshore) and waiting to pounce on Cuba given the opportunity.

    The Cuban electoral system can rightly be called a no-party system. No political party, not even the PCC, is allowed to influence the outcome of elections. Elections are an entirely grassroots process in Cuba. It costs nothing to be nominated for and win even highest political office in the land. Every member of the National Assembly (including both Fidel and Raul) had to obtain the support of 50%+ of their constituents. (Your man, Baby George Bush somehow managed to be “elected” in his 2nd term with only 24% support of the US electorate. Even his opponent got more votes!) To keep things honest, Cuban voters have the opportunity to reject EVERY candidate on the national ballot — real power that US voters can only dream of.

  • Cuba’s credit rating is Caa2 which is defined by Moodys as “highly speculative” That is one step lower than Greece. Cuba has a very lengthy history of defaulting on international payments.

  • The answer to your comment about the US embargo holding back investment in Cuba and their ability to export is quite simple. There is much more to the world economy than the US. If there were unfilled opportunities in Cuba, Canada would jump in in a greater extent, the EEU would jump in, oil rich countries would jump in, China would jump in, South American countries would jump in. The US embargo cannot limit what any other country can do with Cuba. They would all come forward with investments and to create Cuban exports. But that simply is not happening in any significant amount.

  • On what grounds do you say it is compliant. The act says that it needs to be a market economy with private property rights. I’m assuming that Samual Faber’s ideas on democratic planning wouldn’t be compliant. But since there is no recognized definition of what constitutes a market economy and what doesn’t it is open to interpretation. In one way every economy has an element of market and every economy has an element of planning. A totally stupid clause in a stupid act that should never have reached the statute books.

  • The US wants to export Communications equipment so that the NSA can spy on everyone in Cuba as well.

  • Bob, you wrote… Cuba’s problem is that they have no money to pay for imports other than food. True enough. But the answer and the blame points squarely at the US government because their policies limit Cuba’s ability to produce products and services for export to US markets. So when you suggest that the embargo is having little effect on Cuba in the modern era, I think that’s a tad misleading.

    Hypothetically speaking, consider what would happen to Canada if all of a sudden the US decided that my country could no longer export our products and services to the US. And further imagine the chaos and poverty that would ensue if all US investment in Canada were to become illegal.

    You wrote that the US cannot import from Cuba…but then Cuba has very little to export. Agreed. But imagine for a moment a Cuba without the embargo where all countries…including the US, could invest in large manufacturing and assembly facilities on the island to produce many products for export to America…and beyond. With Cuba’s inexpensive labor force, American investment could become very profitable. The Cuban government would also profit, no doubt, but their new funds would then become available to import heavy machinery, raw materials, and to source US contractors to repair, replace, and expand Cuba’s crumbling infrastructure. And last, but not least, the Cuban people would have countless new employment opportunities available to them that they don’t presently have on the island, leading to a marked increase in disposable income and a higher standard of living.

    So again, Bob, with all due respect…your suggestion that the embargo is having little impact on Cuba is just a tad misleading. Access to US markets is key to attract foreign investment, the production of exports, and to stimulate an accumulation of disposable income and purchasing power for importing both products and services to Cuba.

  • Practice what you preach, Dan. Stop posting comments here without prior government approval. Do not express any opinions not provided to you from the Ministry of the Interior.

    Oh, and love to Cuba and subject yourself to all if the same living conditions you insist are the Cuban man’s privelage.

    Until you do that your words are nothing more than the hypocritical complaints of a spoiled child.

  • Communications equipment is specifically excepted from the embargo. The US embargo, that is. The Castro embargo restricts communications equipment because they fear the prospect if Cubans communicating freely with each other and with the outside world.

  • “Better is possible”? You mean like the current potato shortage in Havana? Are you referring to the increase in power outages on the island? Is that better? In the month of July, there were more than 1,000 dissident arrests and detentions. Is that what you consider an improvement? Walter, you are living in the past. Like the US embargo, the Castro revolution has failed to live up to its original purpose. Like the decrepit leadership in Cuba, it seems that you have failed to see that your once noble socialist ideals have been replaced by corruption, propaganda and crumbling buildings. It’s too late for the Castros but are you ever going to change? (Name calling? Guilty. But far from childish.)

  • Now for your statement:

    “Thanks to the US blockade, the socialism is still alive and stronger than ever, and Cuba is going to be the first real Communist country in the world.”
    US sanctions haven’t made Cuban socialism alive and stronger than ever. It was Fidel Castro’s decision b/c he thought that banning private enterprise was important to end what he saw as an atmosphere of misery and evil for the Cuban peasantry and workers. It’s true that socialism is alive in Cuba, because the economic changes sanctioned at the 6th party congress aren’t described as either market socialism or Chinese-style capitalism, but instead an “updating” (or alternately, “Socialism with Cuban characteristics”).

  • You are right. The embargo hurts the Cuban people a bit because it prohibits the sale of building materials and communications equipment to Cuba. And the embargo also gives nations an incentive to resist pressure not to trade with Cuba because they feel that America is acting like a dictatorship when telling its trading partners not to invest in Cuba. But the reason why the embargo is effective because it deprives the regime in Havana of enough cash to crush all opposition. As a matter of fact, the Ladies in White and Oscar Biscet and the Christian Liberation Movement have proven themselves to be so brave and noble despite the regime’s efforts to silence them because the US is using the embargo to keep money out the hands of Cuba’s dreaded G2 security apparatus.

  • You seem to have an inferiority complex, or you didn’t take a course on int’l relations. The Cuban people, not the US, theoretically have the potential to decide Cuba’s political future. I’m sure that some banned opposition parties in Cuba who want Cuba to be democratic and respectful of human rights also want Cuba to uphold universal health and literacy for all, and want multiparty elections to be free of campaign funds.

  • The sarcasm in your comment is confusing. Do you really believe “the socialism is still alive and stronger than ever”? Have you been paying attention? Cuba is moving away from Socialism not towards it. Hardly a present or future candidate for “the first real Communist country in the world”. You should read Griffin’s comment below. Good advice.

  • Technically, so does the US. Not much of a “blockade”, let alone genocidal is it? The Castros are free to do business with whomever they please. They simply have to remember to pay for it. That seems to be their problem, not the embargo.

  • Dan, considering that you currently enjoy all of the freedoms stipulated under HB, which of these “terms” do you wish to deny the Cuban people? Once HB is repealed, Cubans will be better off. Freedom of the press and free speech should not be feared. Releasing political prisoners is the right thing to do. Open and independent elections, with international observers, is healthy for any country. Please respond with why repealing HB under these conditions and not the ones you make up in your head are a bad thing for the Cuban people.

  • The only “terms” in HB is the end of the dictatorship.
    The US has gradually softened the trade sanctions even becoming the 5th trading partner of Cuba in 2008. Cuba only has replied with more repression.

  • Cuba is already moving to a market-oriented system. Even the current dictatorships does not deny that market reforms are needed.
    The only “genocide” that is going on is the genocide of the regime against the suffering people of Cuba.
    The US is a large supplier of food and medicines. The regime is the one that limits purchases for political reasons and lack of funds.

  • Many thousands of my fellow Cubans risk their lives swiming to freedom on your shark infested sea of happiness. I AM Cuban and I visit Cuba on occasion, so I know the reality. Ya can’t fool us you old fool!

  • Take it easy on the mojitos, dude.

  • Under Helms Burton a real mixed socialist or social democrat system with a large role for the government in the essential services of is fully compliant.
    The only regime that is utterly rejected is the Castro dictatorship.

    There is no “blockade”. There are trade sanctions. those exclude food, medicines and medical equipment. The US is one of the biggest trading partners of Cuba, its 5th in 2008.

  • There is no “blockade”. There are trade sanctions. those exclude food, medicines and medical equipment. The US is one of the biggest trading partners of Cuba, its 5th in 2008.

  • The irrationality and inhumanity of U.S. policies toward Cuba are becoming more obvious and less sustainable, even to those who selfishly hate and fear efforts to make society more equal and just – like the Cuban revolution and other efforts by people to free themselves from oppressions. The basic question people around the world are asking is, who really supports and who really oppresses the majority of the people.

    Meanwhile those who profit from war and inequality rationalize their use of wars, overt and covert. U.S. actions toward Cuba in these last 50 years have included both. The Cuban people have paid an unnecessary and terrible price for this. The haters of any real social improvements are losing their arguments for their God of selfishness. Imagine how much Cuba might have achieved without the U.S. invading, sabotaging and even today instituting ridiculous and harmful actions.

    Paying minimum wages to youths to pretend to teach HIV prevention to Cubans? Paying hundreds of thousands to an agent from Maryland? What terrible waste and stupidity. Remember Katrina? How Bush rejected hundreds of experienced doctors from Cuba who volunteered to help the devastated people of Louisiana? They still haven’t’ gotten the health care they need. The main reason for all of this hatred is that to the extent Cuba succeeds, it shows that better is possible, even for people who have too long been oppressed and exploited.

    Calling names and using childish arguments is losing its appeal. Thank you Elio for being neither “dim-witted” nor a sycophant.

  • I think you mean that the terms of surrender demanded in the Helms-Burton Act must be met before the widely condemned US embargo is lifted. Very disingenuous.

  • US blockade to Cuba should be in place forever and ever. Thanks to the US blockade, the socialism is still alive and stronger than ever, and Cuba is going to be the first real Communist country in the world. We Cubans are swimming in the Sea of Happiness. US and puppets wants to end the blockade because it has not produce any changes in Cuban regime. What they really want? To change the US blockade for something else that will produce a change in our Socialism. No way Jose!! Keep the US blockade!!! Thanks to the blockade we still have our loving Socialism, and in the future our Communism!! Viva Cuba Comunista!!!

  • Section 206 states that the the US embargo will continue until such time as substantial movement to have been made toward a “market-oriented economic system based on the right to own and enjoy property.” Demonstrable progress must also have been made in “returning to United States citizens [or corporate entities]… property taken by the Cuban Government from such citizens and entities on or after January 1, 1959.” In other words, the genocide is to continue until socialism in Cuba has been thoroughly and irreversibly dismantled, regardless of what the Cuban people may want.

    The US has what I call money-based elections. It can cost millions of dollars just to get nominated, and perhaps billions to get elected. And I doubt that anything else would be see as, ahem… “free and fair” by the sponsors of the US genocide.

    As it stands now, I believe the Cuban electoral system is more democratic than the US ever was.

  • Mr. Delgato Legon states ” they have not achieved the declared objective of making the people blame the government for the country’s economic problems”.

    Now I do not live in Cuba but visit every 6 weeks or so. My travels from Pinar del Rio to Santiago show 90+% of the Cuban people blame the Cuban government for the country’s economic problems.

  • I encourage everyone to step back and analyze how little the US trade embargo really means in the modern era. Cuba can buy all the food and medicine they can pay for from the US. Cuba can buy anything from any other country. Cuba’s problem is that they have no money to pay for imports other than food.

    Any American who cannot find a way to easily visit Cuba legally is just not trying very hard. Americans can send all the money they want to relatives, as very broadly defined, in Cuba and non relatives in limited amounts.

    Americans are buying houses and starting private businesses in Cuba although they have to tell while lies to get around the Cuban government regulations.

    Yes, the US cannot import from Cuba but then Cuba has very little to export.

    I am just failing to see where the US trade embargo is having much economic impact on Cuba once I dismiss the prevalent public rhetoric and look at the actual economic facts.

  • Mr. Delgato Legon is simply wrong when he states “persecution of banks that conduct any type of financial operations with Cuba”. In reality a foreign bank can conduct ANY type of financial operations with Cuba so long as payment is not made in US Dollars, thus involving the US banking system. They are free to do anything they want in Euros, Sterling, Canadian, or any other currency.

    It is true huge fines have been levied against foreign banks who have acknowledged that their management was complicit in the creation of blatantly fraudulent documentation and submitting such to the US Treasury Department.

  • Not only that, the Tel Aviv based BM Corp runs the largest citrus plantation in Cuba at Jaguey Grande, since 1993.

  • Is the embargo effective? Yes and no. At this point, for Cuba it is more of an irritant; for the most part, the rest of the world blithely ignores the U.S. embargo. When O,F.A.C. penalizes foreign banks and businesses for violating the embargo, this causes resentment and animosity in these nations. Also, as we are currently seeing in the case of Russia, embargoes have a tendency to backfire: the losses to the U.S. and E.U. agricultural sectors are Latin America’s, Africa’s and Asia’s gains. When we speak of blockades, Israel’s action against Gaza is a prime example. Here, too, blockades tend to have unintended results. The heroic resistance of the Palestinian people in Gaza is an inspiration to the world, and especially to a growing number of young people. There has been a sea change in local attitudes towards Israel. This weekend there was a major demonstration in front of our local post office, and two other cultural events (a film and an art exhibit) in support of Gaza. Also, we too can boycott! Today I put a new app on my smartphone which allows me to point it at any product in a store or supermarket, and instantly it will tell me if the product is overtly–or covertly– of Israeli origin, so as better to boycott it.

  • A minor point: I think it would be a mistake to interpret Israel’s vote against the UN resolution condemning the embargo as support for the embargo. Israel trades freely with Cuba. In practice, it ignores the US embargo.

  • A BLOCKADE is an effort to cut off food, supplies, war material or communications from a particular area by force, either in part or totally. A blockade should not be confused with an embargo or sanctions, which are legal barriers to trade, and is distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually directed at an entire country or region, rather than a fortress or city.

    For some reason this term “BLOCKADE” does not fit! More like an “EMBARGO” with holes like Swiss Cheese!

  • I agree with Mrs. Clinton that it is time to normalize relations with Cuba. Like Mrs. Clinton, I believe normal relations can only be possible with a free Cuba. What Elio, and other dim-witted Castro sycophants seem to think is that being anti-embargo means pro-Castro. I hope the embargo is lifted soon. I hope that means that Cubans will be free of Castro tyranny and able to make their own choices.

  • Section 206 makes no mention of lackeys or money-based elections. What is does stipulate are things like: free and fair elections, free speech and freedom of the press, and private property rights. Which of these rights, which you currently enjoy, do you reject for the Cuban people?

  • Another Democrat running for President promising to normalize relations with Cuba? We’ve heard it all before.

    The only outcome acceptable to the US regime is the complete and unconditional surrender by the Cuban people to US corporate interests. No whiff of socialism will be tolerated. Only money-based elections in which US lackeys are the only winners will be recognized by Washington. Chaos would reign, but so what? Cuba must be made on an example of. The Cuban people must be punished for ever daring to challenge the might of The Empire.

    Think I’m exaggerating? Check out Section 206 of the despised Helms-Burton Act.

  • Amen.

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