Another Way of Looking at the US embargo on Cuba
By Henry G. Delforn*
HAVANA TIMES – Yes, the hate is worse than you think because you don’t know the consequences of the laws, it’s not publicized. But this is not about Cuba, it’s about the crisis of established US laws and how they contradict the US Constitution.
One assumes that the laws passed by Washington have been tested to be in agreement with the US Constitution, but no, politics can change the objectiveness of testing, resulting in unconstitutional laws that do not reflect our values and affect you in shocking, surprisingly horrible ways. This is especially so when these laws are conceived based on revenge and hate.
Once these hate-based laws pass and become law of the land, they’re usually fought and made void in a court of law but this could take decades, if not centuries, when the damage is recognized and publicized.
What exactly am I talking about? I’m talking about hate as being the basis for statutes, regulations, and executive orders related to the embargo on Cuba. Fact is, many of the laws in Embargo Laws do not comply with the Rule of Law in the US Constitution, the supreme law of the United States of America. This is a crisis because the opposing side to legal integrity and Rule of Law is highly leveraged in other than human welfare.
Congress can create monsters that feed on our souls, and congressional intervention, political discourse and international public opinion to kill the monster have all proven futile over time. But to be sure, short of civil war, the founding fathers have blessed the Supreme Court and backed it with the teeth to uphold and enforce Rule of Law so that any Embargo Law, any law, repugnant to the Constitution is void, per Marbury v. Madison, 1803. Let me elaborate.
A better article title would have been, “When it comes to the Embargo on Cuba, Washington and its Media Depend on Misinformation and Ignorance to Maintain it’s Hate for Havana in Unconstitutional Embargo Laws at the Expense of Human Rights Violations of its Citizens” … that’s a mouthful, let’s break it up.
First, “Human Rights violation of its Citizens”. US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1992 admitted that Washington and its media confuse Human Rights with Civil Rights when it comes to Cuba. This is misinformation. Nonetheless, more recently Jose Miguel Vivanco, director of the US-sponsored Human Rights Watch, said in reference to a returning Cuban-born journalist who was denied entry: “Returning to the country of origin is a Human Right”. Hence, likewise, if a Cuban-born US citizen is prevented from returning to Cuba by US law (any law, Vivanco would say) such action is also a violation of Human Rights.
Second, “Hate for Havana”. This goes back to 1960 when the US State Department (initiated by a memo from Mr. Mallory) called for laws to bring about poverty, hunger and desperation in Cuba. Hence the embargo. This is an act of hate. But Mallory doesn’t get near half the credit for the hate. In May 1960 the revengeful testimony before the US Congress of new immigrant Mr. Diaz-Balart (brother-in-law to Fidel Castro, a high-ranking Cuban politician, founder of the first anti-Castro organization, and father of retired and presently serving US congressmen) has now over time demonstrated that hate gets passed from generation to generation by way of love for parents.
Third and last, “Unconstitutional Embargo Laws”. An actual example is required to show how some of these regulations violate the US Constitution. So let’s do that. One of the oldest parts of Embargo Laws includes the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR). Take the case of a Cuban-born, retired US senior citizen collecting Social Security Administration (SSA) Old-Age benefits. Let’s say she lives in Miami with the only remaining family in Cuba and has inherited no assets after the passing of her immediate family. This person finds it extremely difficult to live on social security alone, so she decides to retire and spend her remaining years in Cuba with family. This is a rational economic decision, think about living on $1k per month in Miami. Her apartment rent alone may be that much and food stamps are insufficient. So she returns to Cuba. But imagine her surprise, anguish, and desperation when SSA informs her that they cannot make payments while she’s in Cuba! This is an actual SSA policy, consequence of hate in Mallory’s memo and Diaz-Balart’s testimony.
The operative word is “surprise” … she didn’t know. She never got a warning letter from the SSA informing her that no money would be paid if she planned to retire in the country she was born. But ignorance keeps the masses calm and misinformation provides confusion. If you read the SSA policy in question, you see that this confusing policy is based on Treasury Circular 655 originally intended to protect US citizens in foreign countries, but the policy has been twisted in interpretation, hijacked by Havana haters to punish the very person it was intended to protect.
Not even the embargo on Iran contains this SSA policy. So here’s US law in the form of an Embargo Regulation that prevents a US citizen from returning to the country of origin. It’s a violation of Human Rights according to the US-sponsored Human Rights Watch.
You may say, no!, US law is not preventing her from returning to Cuba! She’s free to go! But that argument is naïve. True, she has the choice to go but is then harshly punished for it with nonpayment of her earned retirement. The punishment is a consequence of Embargo Laws, of the memo and testimony.
Why not do the humane thing, what the founding fathers wanted done evident in the US Constitution, and allow her to retire in Cuba with family and benefits? Heck, Cuban nationals in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (Cuba) get the same SSA Old-Age benefits! Why is Washington discriminating against an US citizen?
Any daring litigator will at least argue that the punishment of nonpayment violates the principle of civilized treatment simply for exercising her right to economic liberty. The principle of civilized treatment is guaranteed by the 8th Amendment, and damage is inflicted on a discrete and insular minority defined by her national-origin that grossly discriminates per 5th or 14th (Equal Protection) Amendments.
SSA is discriminating on the side of Cuban nationals and against US citizens when they pay Cuban nationals living in Cuba (GTMO) and don’t pay a US citizen living in the same country. It’s a strict scrutiny case.
Ironically, while the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 22 & 25, provides protection for social security and an adequate standard of living and health in old age. It is this same Universal Declaration that’s quoted in the Embargo Laws that prohibits the SSA payment.
Its hypocritical insanity, ignored to continue the business of embargo fines producing revenues from the banking industry. But grandma still does have a chance, not because Embargo Laws go away by themselves one sunny morning in Congress or White House, no, they go away with hard-earned, inspirational legal fights bankrolled by a worthy foundation committed to argue and win one statute, one regulation at the time.
Let’s close by revisiting “Misinformation”. Words matter. Did you know that the so-called Helms-Burton Act is a misnomer? At best, it may be called the Burton Act. Fact is that the bill by Senator Helms (S.381) was voted down, it never passed. Helms was not even a sponsor of the bill that did pass. It was Rep Burton’s bill (H.R.927) that became the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996. Why honor a second hater? Call it the Burton Act.
And finally, who knew that there’s no such thing as a Cuban-American? Fact is that all persons born in Cuba that reside in the US have their Cuban nationality automatically void, stripped by Embargo Laws that distort the concept of licenses. CACR strips of your “cubanidad” and “cubanía”. You are NOT Cuban.
So there you have it, “When it comes to the Embargo on Cuba, Washington and its Media Depend on misinformation and Ignorance to maintain it’s hate for Havana in unconstitutional embargo laws at the expense of human rights violations of its citizens”. But know this, “A Law repugnant to the Constitution is void”, and any Article III court must rule by law. And while this case is an example of depriving one’s “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, so-called unalienable rights (Human Rights) per Declaration of Independence, the damage is done not by the US Constitution, on the contrary, it’s done by rogue US politicians, “Cuban-American” politicians, who have hijacked US laws and put Rule of Law in crisis in America. Do you think they want you to know that?
(*) Guest author Henry G. Delforn is an investor (Cuban-born U.S. citizen who lives in North Carolina and enjoys his independent political affiliation).
 State Dept, Mallory memo https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v06/d499
 Testimony of Rafael Lincoln Diaz Balart
 CUBAN ASSETS CONTROL REGULATIONS
 McNamara on Human/Civil Rights
 MARBURY v. MADISON
 Principle of civilized treatment guaranteed by the 8th Amendment https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-CONAN-2002/pdf/GPO-CONAN-2002-9-9.pdf
 Human Rights Watch on re-entering country of origin https://qcostarica.com/prevented-from-entering-havana-cuban-journalist-asks-for-refuge-in-costa-rica/
 Burton Act, Helm Bill
 no cubano: always licensed (hence, always not a national of any foreign country)