The Cuba Embargo: A Fork on the Road

Fernando Ravsberg*

Cardinal Jaime Ortega, head of Cuba’s Catholic Church and a key figure in efforts to build closer relations with Raul Castro’s government. Photo: Raquel Pérez

HAVANA TIMES — The periodical of Cuba’s Catholic Church, Espacio Laical (“Secular Space”), has criticized a group of Cuban dissidents who, during a tour abroad, called on the United States to maintain the economic embargo it has imposed on the island for over fifty years.

Many Cuban dissidents support Washington’s policy of economic pressure but avoid publicly expressing this within Cuba, where the majority condemns the so-called “U.S. blockade”.

During a recent international tour, however, a number of them have spoken in favor of the embargo. These dissidents include around 20 of the island’s most renowned bloggers, the Ladies in White and the Human Rights Commission.

The editorial published in Cuba’s catholic journal, titled “A Fork on the Road” (“Senderos que se bifurcan”), criticizes these dissidents because they “insist on asking major centers of power around the world to destabilize the Cuban government, and to take measures that can do profound harm to the people of Cuba.”

The aim of the embargo, which is to “deprive Cuba of money and supplies, to reduce its financial resources and real wages, cause hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government.” (1), had been established in official U.S. government documents as early as the 1960s.

In view of this, it is understandable that the Cuban Catholic Church and Vatican should oppose these measures, whose severe social costs are evident. It is a posture the Church has maintained, in fact, since the times before it established closer relations with the Cuban government.

The proposal advanced by the Catholics is complicated, because it calls for a space where Cubans with different conceptions of patriotism can debate their positions. Reaching an agreement regarding who fits into this category, and who are to be excluded from it, will not be an easy task.

Espacio Laical acknowledges that “Cuba has to change in many ways” and expresses its gratitude towards individuals and institutions committed to such change, but adds that “the key figures behind these changes cannot be the centers of power of certain powerful and influential countries.”

The periodical affirms that “the majority of Cuban patriots” appeal to those who wish to help Cuba not to become “conspirators who are willing to lead us down uncertain roads, which have not been traced by the express will of the people.”

In addition to expressing support for the US embargo, Cuban dissidents have requested additional material aid. Relations between the United States and the island’s dissidents, bloggers and human rights organizations would appear tainted by the US $20 million which Washington destines to financing their activities every year.

In a confidential cable published by Wikileaks (cable # 202438, sent on April 15, 2009), the U.S. diplomatic chief in Cuba, Jonathan Farrar, acknowledged that Cuban dissidents “were more concerned about getting money than about taking their proposals to broader sectors of Cuban society.”

The Church also appears to have lost faith in the opposition. In recent years, it has built tighter links with the Cuban government, gained spaces for its evangelization work and promoted measures of immense social impact, such as securing the release of all political prisoners and 3,000 common inmates.

In a way, Cardinal Jaime Ortega has become a kind of privileged interlocutor of President Raul Castro, and the two are building relations of trust which are putting behind decades of mutual misunderstanding and aggression.

It is within the context of these relations that Espacio Laical calls for greater understanding “between Cubans with different conceptions of patriotism”, so that others do not “manage to impose a new model which responds to partial interests or, worse, to hijack the country’s destiny.”

The majority of Cubans believe that the embargo is responsible for many of the economic difficulties they have had to live with. Photo: Raquel Perez

The Church periodical thinks it possible that “together, and with the people’s active participation, we can fashion a new social model for Cuba, with the aim of adjusting it to the nation’s pressing demands, a model that is the true expression of the general will.”

The proposal advanced by the Catholics is complicated, because it calls for a space where Cubans with different conceptions of patriotism can debate their positions. Reaching an agreement regarding who fits into this category, and who are to be excluded from it, will not be an easy task.

Deciding what criteria define a “patriot” will be a difficult process indeed, but it seems likely that the Cuban Catholic Church and government already agree on one thing: that public condemnation of the US economic embargo on Cuba is one of these criteria.

(1) Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958 – 1960, Volume VI, Cuba, United States Government Printing Office, Washington 1991, p. 885

(*) An authorized Havana Times translation of the original posted in Spanish by BBC Mundo.

79 thoughts on “The Cuba Embargo: A Fork on the Road

  • I wholly agree with you. The simplistic view that Cuba was better before Castro fails to define it in relative terms. Yes, Cuba was doing better before the debacle of the Castro regime, but Cuba was a country that almost every year faced 9 moths of 30% unemployment because our economy was sugar-centric. The graft, political abuse and domestic gangsterism was also considerable. No, not just the US imported mafia, I am speaking of the Policarpos and the Colorados and their gangs, never mind the political and electoral corruption. Not to mention the “instructive guidance” to our policies from the US Embassy. Indeed, some of us lived very well, both in relative and absolute terms. However the gaping wound of lack of political and social discipline laid opened for years aided and abetted by dominant and powerful US corporate concerns constituted the fertile ground for the Castro infection to set in. Then we left. thinking and hoping that the US would pull the chestnuts out of the fire for us. We left thereby rendering the regime opposition free. Would many of us had been killed, and tortured? Yes, but it was our problem an NO ONE ELSE’S!!! We once were a Spanish colony, then American colony, then a Soviet colony. We do not need to become a Miami colony. We should opine AFTER the dissidents and the intellectuals who stayed and have faced this beast for 53 years do. We forfeited our right of primoginiture when we hot footed it out of there and passed the baton to the CIA. Cuba is a Cuban issue full stop.

    The Embargo has been a resounding failure as a policy. But it is one that is useful to both the Cuban regime and the “cafe con leche” politicos in Miami. For the Cuban regime it provides the ubiquitous excuse/explanation for their dismal failures. The Miami Troika uses it as a political soap box for electoral purposes – all of which is highlighted every four years by the candiidates “de rigour” visit to Little Havana to proclaim that he would be much harsher on Fidel than his opponent then disappearing until the next cycle.

    It’s all a charade with 11 million Cubans in Cuba having no say so and facing horrible repression and privations. A play with 29 Florida electoral votes as its price of admission.

  • You are desperate as hell aren’t you, Dan Christensen.
    Your lies were exposed and I did do the opposite of confirming your lies. I exposed them as have done others here.
    The links that I and others have posted speak for themselves. Your lies won’t change anything.

  • The only one that is posting propaganda that harms the Cuban people are you, Dan Christensen.
    Supporting the human rights abuses and propagating the lies of the Castro dictatorship is being anti-Cuban.
    The CIA certainly doesn’t back you, Dan Christensen. I am quite sure they think you are an idiot like I do.
    I post facts that I support with links to varrious sources. you post lies, insults, innuendo and paranoid crap. you do that over and over again in the desperate hope that through repetition something of your lies will stick in the mind of the uninformed.
    All those that expose you as the liar you are you call by the same name as if only one person could expose your lies. Well I have news for you, Dan Christensen, lots of people can very easily expose your lies by just doing a quick search online.

  • Bottom line: No one outside of your tiny circle of fanatical Cuba haters — not even the CIA! — is buying into YOUR bottom line. Deal with it, Paul.

  • Did you ever write to the CIA as I recommended with your findings about these supposed “inconsistencies” of yours? If so, were they at least able to contain their laughter?

  • CL wrote: “The CIA doesn’t back you up Dan Christensen. Not in any way. The make no statement on the quality of the data reported by international organizations.”

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t want it to get out that I was backed by the CIA!

    Also, there are literally mega-bytes of the worst anti-Cuban propaganda on web repeating your outrageous claims here, but for some reason it doesn’t rate so much as an asterisk at the CIA website. Why do you suppose that it is, Paul? The simplest explanation, of course, is that these claims are just not credible. Deal with it.

  • Thanks for confirming that you cannot cite any warnings from the CDC, the Canadian (or British) government advising tourists to avoid travel to Cuba. Your only link mentions the British embassy recommending “sensible precautions” and seeking medical attention for cases of diarrhea — stuff you should always do when travelling in the tropics.

  • The one that is grasping at rather pathetic propaganda tactics or straws are you, Dan Christensen. You are such a bore with your endless repetitions and constant misrepresentations of what others have said and posted.

    In summary:
    I have in my posts shown with pertinent links (up to 2012) that orders were given not to diagnose or report a disease (dengue) and cases where the causes of death of persons were purposely misreported (dengue and cholera). That is in line with the reports from promedmail that medical data in Cuba is misreported for political reasons (as per international experts and Cuban doctors that left the island).

    Bottom line: Cuba health data is not reliable.

  • You antics are boring, Dan Christensen.
    Creative as your pathetic strategy to discredit others is, it is somewhat original. It also is utterly boring.
    The one in a “fix” is you, Dan Christensen.
    The links I posted (see above) clearly document the fact that the Cuban system purposely falsifies data.
    The facts reported by Promedmail have in no way been discredited by your antics. To the contrary: the additional links I posted just reinforced the conclusions drawn there: Cuban medical data isn’t reliable.

    Your attack on Amnesty International in the Mendoza case is typical. It and other organizations like (Promedmail, the medical journal “The Lancet”, …) have supported Dr. Mendoza on moral, ethical, scientific and human rights grounds.

    As far as the official account by the Cuban regime: no international expert was ever allowed to investigate the epidemic in Cuba. What experts did notice is that the data of the regime had inconsistencies on the death toll.
    From reports at the time:
    “Dr Carlos Dotres, Minister of Public Health, stated that the outbreak in Santiago de Cuba is now under control, and has caused no more than 10 deaths, none of those in adults.”

    Dr. Kouri : 12 nationwide (of the laboratory confirmed cases so that
    excludes those with falsified death certificates)

    “Of 2,946 laboratory-confirmed cases, 205 were dengue hemorrhagic fever, and 12 were fatal. No deaths were reported in persons under 16 years of age. Now the epidemic is fully controlled.”

  • The CIA doesn’t back you up Dan Christensen. Not in any way. The make no statement on the quality of the data reported by international organizations who are most often limited to reproducing the official and utterly disgraced Cuban numbers.
    International experts and Cuban doctors that have left Cuba do.
    Their statements on the dubious quality and political manipulation of data stand.
    You are a truly desperate and paranoid man, Dan Christensen. Your weird propaganda tactics will never cease to amaze me.

  • Travel warnings are issue to ensure people avoid places and – if they can’t – take adequate measures to protect themselves, Dan Christensen.

    “Tuesday, January 15th 2013 – 22:00 UTC
    Cuba admits 51 cholera cases in Havana; travel warnings from UK and US”

    The CDC has in fact often advised against “non essential travel” to countries with dengue like Cuba.

  • In addition…

    CL wrote: “The author in Promedmail made one point very clear: Cuba’s health data can’t be trusted. He reports the clear statement from international experts and Cuban doctors that have left Cuba that the data is being manipulated for political reasons. He is way to generous when offering an alternative explanation why this data is incorrect.”

    As always, you are grasping at straws. By saying 16 years ago that the lack of reporting of mild cases of dengue may also have been due to understaffing, the author undermines these other claims. (Without sophisticated and expensive testing, it was then impossible to distinguish mild cases from ordinary flu. The treatment is the same in both cases even today.)

    That one sentence changes the whole meaning. I can see that it pisses you off, but that really is your problem, Paul. Acknowledging the views of others doesn’t mean you agree with them. Readers can, of course, judge for themselves, but the MOST that you can say in support of your claims in this particular case is that the author wasn’t convinced one way or the other. And after 16 years, this is the best you can do, Paul? Is it any wonder not even your pals in the CIA are buying into your BS?

  • You have the strange habit of changing your handle whenever you get into a fix, Paul.

    Your desperate grasping at straws on that ProMed quote has already been exposed and debunked here. (See above.) As always, when all else fails, you simply repeat yourself. Like your idol?

    While some members of the international medical community actually supported Mendoza on political grounds, none have accepted his figures or questioned the official account by Cuban authorities that has been available at the CDC website for 15 years. (See link above.) As we have seen here, you have been unable to cite even a single independent expert in the field who will support your outrageous claims. Not even your pals at the CIA are buying into your BS, Paul! Deal with it.

  • I suggest to you, and I think even the CIA will back me up on this, that it is YOUR websites that are misleading, Paul.

    You have been unable to cite even a single, independent expert in the field who will support your outrageous claims. That ProMed fellow you quoted from 16 years ago — the ONLY expert in the field you could cite! — would not support your outrageous claims even in that one instance. Doesn’t that tell you ANYTHING?

  • Please quote a travel warning from the CDC or the Canadian government that advised tourists and travelers to avoid travelling to Cuba for any reasons.

  • You have the strange habit of calling everyone that exposes your lies “Paul”, Dan Christensen.

    You clearly have some delusional paranoia thing going on. You called a whole series of posters by that name.
    I guess it just shows how desperate you are to divert attention from the facts.

    The author in Promedmail made one point very clear: Cuba’s health data can’t be trusted. He reports the clear statement from international experts and Cuban doctors that have left Cuba that the data is being manipulated for political reasons. He is way to generous when offering an alternative explanation why this data is incorrect.

    The fact is that the author and his sources say the data isn’t correct. That is the point I made and the point you can not refute.

    As far as the case of Dr. Mendoza goes: the man reported a dengue epidemic the Castro dictatorship wanted to hide to protect tourism. He was duly jailed for that and later forced in to exile after Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience. That accolade shows they did see him as anything but a liar. Lots of international medical associations also supported him.

    The link you post is to a “report” by the Cuba government. Not a CDC report. As such that basically repeats the lies the regime spread after being forced to admit there was indeed a dengue epidemic. Their spin on it was that “it wasn’t as bad”. The fact is that they created the data to make it look “not as bad” by ordering doctors not to diagnose cases dengue – and death by hemorrhagic dengue – as what they were. Strange causes of death appeared.

    Just like death by cholera became deaths by “gastrointestinal infection by waterborne transmission” or “acute respiratory insufficiency” in the recent cholera epidemic the dengue epidemic in 1997 was called “an unspecified virus” and death were referred to as by “bleeding to death”.

    Data was and is being falsified, Dan Christensen. That experts agree on.

    “Castro’s dupes”
    Lawrence Solomon / Urban Renaissance Institute, February 1, 2003.

    Cholera reportedly kills 15, sickens hundreds in eastern Cuba

    “Public Health Ministry covers up dengue outbreaks”

    Cases Appear to be Declining; Physician Jailed on Charges of “Enemy Propaganda”
    Published in Malaria Weekly, August 4th, 1997

  • The issue here is whether medical data from Cuba is reliable. That is by the way what most health services act on.

    From the links I and Cubaqus posted it is clear that the data is manipulated and can’t be relied on due to (intentional) errors. Raul Castro himself stated these “errors” exist.

    Maybe some health services are m misled. Others aren’t as a scan of the sites on dengue and cholera show.

  • To my knowledge, there has never been any suggestion by the CDC or Canadian government that tourists and travelers should avoid going to Cuba for any reason. Just some commonsense precautions — e.g. avoiding food and drinks from dubious sources, etc.

  • The author clearly wasn’t convinced that these outrageous claims were true. Deal with it, Paul. With his work experience in Cuba and in his professional opinion, the author can only suggest the that a lack of reporting may have been the result understaffing, presumably in medical labs equipped to do this particular kind of testing. In no way does he or any other credible source suggest would that reflect on the accuracy of other statistics like infant mortality. And your pals at the CIA would seem to agree. Must be frustrating as hell for you.

    As for Mendoza, his was convicted of spreading wildly inflated death counts for obvious propaganda purposes at the beginning of the outbreak. The official version of the dengue outbreak has been accepted by the international medical community as indicated by the report still at the CDC website 15 years later. See CDC archive at:

    That same year (1998), Fidel received the World Health Organization’s Health for All Medal for Cuba’s advances in health care.

    Deal with it, Paul. Your lies have been exposed once again for all the world to see. Aren’t you getting tired of getting your butt kicked day in and day out. after all these years? Time to retire to strictly copying and pasting, I would say. You just aren’t up to any kind of debate these days.

  • The author confirms that both international experts and Cuban doctors have reported that medical statistics have are manipulated for political reasons. As another possible reason he gives faulty reporting.
    Either way the author confirms that the data isn’t reliable.
    That is a fact that all your lies, insults and spin will never change, Dan Christensen.

    Here is another report from a man arrested for reporting on a cover-up. A man that Amnesty International later adopted as a prisoner of conscience: Dessy Mendoza.

    “En marzo, –declaró el presidente del Colegio Médico Independiente de Santiago de Cuba—las autoridades sanitarias prohibieron a los médicos diagnosticar el dengue.”

  • As usual, you are grasping at straws, Paul. Does the author believe that mild cases of dengue were being somehow covered up? No. He actually suggested that a lack of reporting in this case may have “may simply be an understaffing issue.”

    We also know that such mild cases are indistinguishable from ordinary flu without sophisticated and expensive lab tests. And the outbreak in question occurred 16 years ago. As we see above, it was only last year that dengue testing kits were being made widely available by the CDC for the first time even in the US.

    Once again, you have come up empty-handed, Paul. The only expert in the field that you can cite is unable support your outrageous claims even in this single instance 16 years ago — never mind in any other areas of health statistics (e.g. infant mortality) today.

    Once again, we see what a TRULY desperate liar you are. No wonder even your pals in the CIA think you and the Miami crowd are full of shit on this one!

  • Maybe you should write to the CDC and the Canadian government with your “findings.” Give them these links to your silly little blogs, and let us know what they say, Paul.

    Despite your best efforts, no one outside your tiny circle of fanatical Cuba-haters is buying into your BS, Paul.

  • As shown Promedmail does NOT dismiss the claims.
    It says clearly the data is manipulated or erroneous due to bad reporting. Raul castro’s comments clariofy a

    As far as I can see your point about Raul Castro’s comments is that the regime “only lies” about non health data.
    Who do you think you are fooling Dan Christensen?

    Note: get some help and stop confusing me with other people that have exposed your lies.

  • Again, your only source at ProMed dismissed the questionable conclusions of your unnamed “experts” and the Cuban exile community. 16 years later, you STILL cannot cite, with a name and a quote even a single independent expert in the field who has concerns about the reliability of Cuban health stats (e.g. mortality rates). No record system is perfect, but the overwhelming consensus of expert opinion seems to be that Cuba’s health outcomes data is no less reliable than, say, those of the US. I guess that’s why not even your pals at the CIA are are buying into your BS, Paul.

    Your quotes from Raul were not about health data, which no one but fanatical, anti-Cuba propagandists like you question. It was about imprecise economic data. And years later, your pals at the CIA are STILL showing Cuba’s infant mortality rates as the best in the Americas — considerably better than the US for years, and now even marginally better than Canada. Much as they would love to, I’m sure, your pals clearly aren’t buying into your Capitalist Magazine BS either.

    Must be frustrating as hell for you. You just keep repeating the same lies and distortions, word for word, over and over again, year after year. And I just keep kicking your lying ass. When will you learn, Paul? Better to stick with copy and paste at your dozens of pathetic little anti-Cuban blogs that no one seems to read (you are the only poster). You are in way over your head in any kind of debate.

  • No one is buying into that BS either, Paul. Under “Travel Health Notices” for Cuba, the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, “There are no notices currently in effect for Cuba.”

    Under “Advisories” for Cuba, the Canadian government reports: “There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Cuba. Exercise normal security precautions.”

    As you know, Canada is the Cuba’s largest source of tourists. Must be frustrating as hell for you.

  • The link to the respected network of experts Promedmail shows that both international experts and Cuban doctors have confirmed that Cuban health “statistics” are manipulated for political reasons.

    On the specific case of dengue see:

    Even raul Castro admitted Cuban statistics are lies on various occasions:

    “The Revolution cannot lie,” he said in comments published by the Communist Party newspaper Granma. “This isn’t saying that there have been comrades who have lied, but the imprecision, inexact data, consciously or unconsciously masked, can no longer continue.”
    “Raul Castro Speaks About Cuba Food Woes”

    “”Too much secrecy, too many lies” have taken the revolution to a critical situation”

    Also see:

    Another example:
    To the extent that the Cuban government’s health claims are credible, the results often came at a price no civilized society could countenance.
    Patients with AIDS were forcibly removed from society and isolated in sanitaria. Expectant mothers with AIDS were coerced into aborting their babies. Abortions were similarly used to improve infant mortality statistics
    in general — Cuba has twice the abortion rate of most countries — by terminating high-risk pregnancies. To obtain co-operation from doctors, their compensation was tied to their patients’ infant mortality rate. Many
    Cuban mothers claim that their doctors killed their baby at childbirth — babies who die at birth do not show up in Cuba’s infant mortality data.

    Note: from what one can see on the web it was your “butt” that was kicked by your nemesis, Dan Christensen.

    Keep making a fool of yourself.

  • Sadly, for you, your “very valid source” does not support your outrageous claims of falsified statistics. Quite the contrary — the author dismisses them. Just like old times, eh, Paul? Your same old lies and distortions over and over again. Me kicking your butt. When will you learn?

  • In fact: Compay did quote a very valid source: an international medical forum called promedmail.
    Your lies and insults won’t change the facts.

  • After more that a decade, it seems you STILL cannot cite even a single independent expert in the field to support your outrageous claims of falsified health statistics.

    While it seems you take obvious pleasure in the shortages of medicines and equipment created as a result of your beloved, genocidal embargo (see above), Cuba’s health care system, despite the best efforts of you and your political masters, is still widely regarded as the best in the region. Not even your pals at the CIA will publicly question their remarkable achievements. Unlike you, they cannot afford to become an international laughingstock.

    The only real expert you can cite, as we see in your quote, dismisses US and exile propaganda saying “a lack of reporting (of mild cases of dengue) may simply be an under-staffing issue.” Not exactly grist for your mill is it? It is a well known fact that mild cases are outwardly indistinguishable from ordinary flu. At the time, only sophisticated and expensive testing could distinguish them. In no way does this undermine Cuba’s achievements. Why don’t you write to the author? I’m sure he would be only too happy to confirm this for you. (Hee, Hee!)

    Really, if this is really the best you can do, you might as well concede the point. Clearly, there is no consensus of expert opinion to support your outrageous claims — quite the contrary. Once again, we see what a TRULY desperate liar you are… Paul.

  • My name isn’t Paul and you are very much aware of the experts referred to from other sites where I found the reference of others exposing your lies.

    This reference exposes your lies that the CIA confirmed Cuban health statistics for example:
    “Exposing Michael Moore’s Lies About Cuba”

    “”After many years of increasing disrepair, the Cuban health system is now in crisis,” says Jorge Salazar-Carrillo, a professor of economics at Florida International University and expert on Latin American economies.

    In reality, Cuba has three types of health systems, argues Jaime Suchlicki, the director of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami and a leading expert on Cuba. One for the Cuban military, members of the Communist Party and leaders of the government. A second one is for foreigners who pay in dollars or foreign currency and a third one for the general Cuban population.

    “The first two are excellent, with modern equipment and availability of medications,” he says. “The third, which is for the majority of the Cubans, is a veritable disaster with poor equipment and few medications and in many instances without the availability of Cuban specialists.””

    The site has translation online:

    ” People emigrating from Cuba or visiting Cuba, including international health representatives, have reported that it is in line with Cuban Government policy to report mild cases of dengue as “influenza”. Cuban physicians have confirmed allegations that some disease reporting in Cuba is politically influenced ”

    It also said some errors may be due to “However, lack of
    reporting may simply be an understaffing issue.”
    See Archive Number 19970627.1390

    In any case: the Cuban reports are unreliable
    The point I made and proved.

  • What “international experts” might these be, Paul? Can you name even one independent expert in the field of public health who will support your outrageous claims?

    I have been asking you this for over a decade now and every time you came up empty handed, sometimes to quite comical effect.

    How about it, Paul? One name, one quote, and, of course, a link to the original document. We know how you like to twist people’s words and take them out of context, especially on this particular issue.

  • International experts and Cuban doctors that have left Cuba have confirmed Cuban “statistics” are not reliable.

  • These claims here have been circulating among the Cuban exile community for decades, but not even the rabidly anti-Cuban CIA seems to take them seriously. I can’t imagine that they would post favourable data about Cuba if they weren’t compelled to do so by a consensus of expert opinion.

  • Some basics facts about Cuba’s medical system are in order:

    There has never been a thorough and independent outside survey of the Cuban medical system. All facts and statistics relating to their medical system are considered state secrets. It is illegal for Cuban medical workers to speak to foreign journalists or researchers without government permission, and even then they are well warned to stick to the party line. The only information available is that reported by the Cuban government. No reasonable person can accept the veracity of such information.

    There are some reasons why the Cuban infant mortality rate is exceptionally low. In Cuba, babies who die within the first 24 he’s are recorded as stillbirths, not as infants deaths. This is not the standard procedure in the US, Canada or Europe. As a result, the infant mortality rate is skewed lower by this accounting trick. Estimates put the true infant mortality rate about 50% higher than reported by the official sources.

    Secondly, if the attending doctor suspects a birth defect or other high risk pregnancy, he will order the pregnancy terminated. The mother has no choice in the matter and is forced by the state to undergo an abortion. As a consequence, Cuba has the highest abortion rate in the Western hemisphere and one of the highest in the world. This too lowers the apparent infant mortality rate.

    You may still rate the results as a “success” of the revolution, but I see it in an entirely different light.

  • On the contrary, Cuba’s social and economic program have built the best health care and education systems in the region. Much to their chagrin, even the CIA must concede at their website that Cuba has the best infant mortality rate — the single most reliable indicator of over all public health — in the Americas. So, enough of your lies and rationalizations, Griffie. You can tell it to the judge.

  • “Article 2c of the UN Genocide Convention (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”

    That sounds exactly like the social and economic program the Castros have inflicted on Cuba for the past 54 years.

  • There are very few “positive” sides left in Cuba. The old propaganda items like health and education are in total disarray.

  • So is in Cuba, There are many different candidates. And you can choose between raul and Fidel yeyeye

  • No Griffin, you are mistaken. The current state of economy in Cuba is the direct consequence of the fall of the eastern block, not of any crazy economic policy put in place by Castro.

    You must understand that they suddenly lost 95% of foreign trade and lost 50% of their economic output in 3 years and it was at that time that the US embargo did the worst damage. To put in perspective, the only time you EVER see something like that is in times of war. And Instead of look a re-approach to a country that was virtually shuttled down and earn the gratitude of the population, the sharks in Miami smelled blood and went for the kill.

    By blocking access to international credits, the US was directly responsible to the destruction of the Cuban infrastructure and the subsequent famine that happened between 1991 and 1994 and the devastating effects on the Cuban population. And I’m not talking about economic effects, I’m talking about direct consequences to the health of the population, an three epidemics caused by lack of nutrition, vitamins and cleaning supplies that killed or crippled hundreds of Cubans. Thats what I’m talking about.

    If anything, the Cuban government should be praised for avoiding mass starvation and with it a humanitarian crisis without precedent, in part thanks to the dreaded ration book. They did the best they could with the available resources and I seriously doubt anyone else would have done better with the same constraints.

    And they recovered. Never at the levels of 1989, but they already have overcome the crisis and their economy has found their equilibrium despite of the embargo. They already rebuilt their foreign trade and found sources of hard currency that are not dependent of a single source. What rests now is get rid of the stupid mistakes made in the name of survival and start moving the country forward,

    In this circumstances, the US embargo has failed at all levels. It failed to bring them down as a result of an unprecedented crisis, if failed because is has become completely ineffective since Cuba now trades with the rest of the world, has failed because its mere existence helps to consolidate the power of the Cuban government by providing an excuse to their own shortcomings and failed because it made clear to all Cubans that the US government is hostile and can’t care less for their suffering.

    The embargo is simply a broken toy thrown to the rabid fringe in Miami to keep them happy in their absurd quest for revenge, but is irrelevant for all practical purposes. For today’s Cuba, it represents an extra burden in transportation costs to acquire the same stuff somewhere else and lack of income from US tourism, but thats about it.

  • So your argument against the US embargo is that it causes economic harm to the Cuban people. OK, then.

    What about the Castro’s disastrous economic policies of which have caused far more economic harm to the Cuban people and the Cuban nation than the embargo? Shouldn’t those policies then also be called criminal, illegal and a genocidal?

  • Elections in Cuba are more democratic than any ever held in the US. In Cuba, candidates are not nominated by distant, money-hungry political machines, but the the people themselves in open public meetings in each neighbourhood, or by local representatives who themselves were nominated in this way.

    Everyone, regardless of economic circumstances, has the equal right, and more importantly, the equal opportunity to run for and win any public office. It costs nothing to run for and win even the highest public office in the land.

    If your “dissident” pals want to start winning elections in Cuba, they have to start by winning over not just the international capitalist media, but their own neighbours as well. But, as your own man in Havana, the former head of the US Interest Section, Jonathan Ferrer, reported (thanks WikiLeaks!), they are too busy grubbing for money to demonstrate any kind of leadership in their own communities.

  • The US embargo is a form of genocide (see Article 2c of the UN Genocide Convention). Any Cuban “dissident” who supports it — only a minority as it turns out — is guilty of high treason and should be jailed or deported to the US where they will no doubt receive a warm welcome.

    I defy any of the US apologists here to deny that sanctions which deprive a target population of medicines and other necessities of life are a form of genocide.

    As Amnesty International has reported (my emphasis):

    “The US government is acting CONTRARY to the Charter of the United Nations by restricting the direct import of medicine and medical equipment and supplies, and by imposing those restrictions on companies operating in third countries.”

    “The RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY THE EMBARGO help to deprive Cuba of vital access to medicines, new scientific and medical technology, food, chemical water treatment and electricity.”

    “The US embargo against Cuba is IMMORAL and should be lifted. It’s preventing millions of Cubans from benefiting from vital medicines and medical equipment essential for their health.”

    “Amnesty International calls on the US Congress to take, WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY, the necessary steps towards lifting the economic, financial and trade embargo against Cuba.”

    “UN agencies working in Cuba, such as the WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA, continued [as of 2012] to report the negative effects of the US embargo on the health of the population, particularly members of marginalized groups. Access to specific commodities, equipment, medicines and laboratory materials remained scarce as a result of restrictions imposed on the importation of items manufactured by US companies and their subsidiaries or produced under US patents.”

    Article 2c of the UN Genocide Convention states that the crime of genocide includes, among other things, “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

    By deliberately depriving Cubans of the essentials of life this is precisely what the US regime has set out to do with these cruel and inhumane sanctions — sanctions that be been condemned every year for the past 20 years by the UN General Assembly. Not even the regime’s closest allies at their are buying into their lies and rationalizations!

  • I support bans on the sale of armaments, luxury items and equipment of military use, but other sanctions are over the top and target specifically the civilian populations. Those are the ones I do NOT support.

    Also, is easier to convince your allies to carry on the sanctions if they specifically damage the people you want to damage, not indiscriminately all the population and is kind of pointless to keep bilateral sanctions if they can trade with the rest of the world.

    So yes, in this particular case, the US embargo es illegal, immoral, lacks international support and rally the Cubans behind their government to counter the hostile activities of the US government, achieving precisely the opposite of what they wanted and I do not support it.

  • Griffin, open your history book or look at the map of the cities you mentioned. Leaving the atomic bombs aside and counting the civilians caught in the blast radius as an accident (that it wasn’t), the firebombing of the German cities was not part of any strategic goal. If that were the case they only had to bomb in the industrial district and military targets but it didn’t happen that way. The goal was retribution for the Nazi bombings of London and the target was the civilian population.

    From wikipedia:

    “The historian Alexander McKee has cast doubt on the meaningfulness of the list of targets mentioned in 1953 USAF report and point out that the military barracks listed as a target were a long way out of town and not in fact targeted during the raid.[129] The ‘hutted camps’ mentioned in the report as military targets were also not military but were provided for refugees.[129] It is also pointed out that the important Autobahn bridge to the west of the city was not targeted or attacked and that no railway stations were on the British target maps, nor were the bridges, such as the railway bridge spanning the Elbe River.[130] Commenting on this Alexander McKee stated that: “The standard whitewash gambit, both British and American, is to mention that Dresden contained targets X, Y and Z, and to let the innocent reader assume that these targets were attacked, whereas in fact the bombing plan totally omitted them and thus, except for one or two mere accidents, they escaped”[131] McKee further asserts, “The bomber commanders were not really interested in any purely military or economic targets, which was just as well, for they knew very little about Dresden; the RAF even lacked proper maps of the city. What they were looking for was a big built up area which they could burn, and that Dresden possessed in full measure”[132]

    According to historian Sonke Neitzel, “it is difficult to find any evidence in German documents that the destruction of Dresden had any consequences worth mentioning on the Eastern Front. The industrial plants of Dresden played no significant role in German industry at this stage in the war”[133] Wing Commander H. R. Allen said, “The final phase of Bomber Command’s operations was far and away the worst. Traditional British chivalry and the use of minimum force in war was to become a mockery and the outrages perpetrated by the bombers will be remembered a thousand years hence”[134]

    According to Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, lawyer and president of Genocide Watch:
    The Nazi Holocaust was among the most evil genocides in history. But the Allies’ firebombing of Dresden and nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were also war crimes… We are all capable of evil and must be restrained by law from committing it.[137]

    Historian Donald Bloxham states, “The bombing of Dresden on 13–14 February 1945 was a war crime.”[138] He further argues there was a strong prima facie case for trying Winston Churchill among others and a theoretical case Churchill could have been found guilty. “This should be a sobering thought. If, however it is also a startling one, this is probably less the result of widespread understanding of the nuance of international law and more because in the popular mind ‘war criminal’, like ‘paedophile’ or ‘terrorist’, has developed into a moral rather than a legal categorisation.”[138]

    German author Günter Grass is one of a number of intellectuals and commentators who have also called the bombing a war crime.[139]

    Proponents of the war crime position argue the devastation known to be caused by firebombing was greater than anything that could be justified by military necessity alone, and this establishes their case on a prima facie basis. The Allies were aware of the effects of firebombing, as British cities had been subject to them during the Blitz.[140] War crime proponents say that Dresden did not have a military garrison, that most of the industry was in the outskirts and not in the targeted city centre,[141] and that the cultural significance of the city should have precluded the Allies from bombing it.

    British historian Antony Beevor wrote that Dresden was considered relatively safe, having been spared previous RAF night attacks, and that at the time of the raids there were up to 300,000 refugees in the city seeking sanctuary from the fighting on the Eastern Front.[142] In Fire Sites, Austrian historian Jörg Friedrich agrees the RAF’s relentless bombing campaign against German cities in the last months of the war served no military purpose.[143]”

  • “Facts” ? don´t make me love. Freely provoked and sold worldwide. Why don´t you guys promote with the same intensity the positive sides of Cuba? Would make you somewhat mor e credible.

  • Dresden, Hanover, Nagasaki & Hiroshima all contained war industries or strategic transportation links and were therefore legitimate targets. The bombings were terrible tragedies, but not war crimes.

  • Did you support sanctions against South Africa? How about North Korea or Iran? Or Gadaffi’s Libya or Saddam’s Iraq? What about the BDS campaign against Israel, do you support that?

    It is often the case that those who decry the US embargo against Cuba in absolute terms are remarkably selective about who does and who does not deserve trade sanctions. It seems the opposition to the embargo is based entirely on political bias, and not at all upon the humanitarian principles they pretend to.

  • OK, AC but that is a different argument. Most of the knuckleheads here at HT say “sanctions are genocide”. I agree with you that there are appropriate situations. Where we disagree is that I believe Cuba is appropriate for sanctions.

  • Nice try Luis. The question to ask is not if you want to end the embargo. Of course, most decent people will say yes. The question is “do you want to end the embargo with or without conditions?” On this question, a more recent Florida International University poll still shows 56% support the embargo until the conditions set in federal law are met.

  • In some situations sanctions or embargo is an appropriate. In my mind the criteria would be:

    1) The government has only miniscule support and there is a clear majority support for the opposition.
    2) The opposition has no peaceful way for progressing politically.

    3) The government is using extreme brutality to hold on to power ie shooting protesters and torturing prisoners
    4) That the majority opposition have requested sanctions.
    5) That the sanctions are implemented internationally by the UN.

    South Africa under apartheid would fit all these criteria whereas Cuba fits none of them. It seems that US thinks it knows better than the Cuban people what is best for them.

  • Human rights organizations agree that Cuba is a dictatorship. that is what they are talking about.
    In Cuba no elections ever truly happen. In the US at least two different candidates are on the ballot.

  • To me its a sign of honour, when somebody called me a Castro propagandist, it`s certainly worthier than making propaganda for arms, chewing gum or MC. Donald`s or US – Human Rights.. I just answer yes, sure, because I´m proud of it. Some people even want to make a spy out of me ( hehehe), like some of this strange people who published against me in La Joven Cuba. Well, told the m to look up my FB, they*ll find out everything they want. Bothered them because I also follow ther Cuban LGBT page from Holguin. So you can see what kind of ” democrate” they are. Typical fascistoid attitude. Just let them go…

  • I don`´t know what dictadorship they should talk ebout, as there is none . That`s what you pretend. I always hear the Castros etc. Family reign etc. Didi anybody of you scream when the Kennedys wher in power? Or the Bushes?Did not here anything. That Fidel and also Raul have a special place in Cuban and also non Cuban history has simply tio do with the fact that they are national and/or internatinal heroes. So be rather proud of them.

  • Nope. You are simply denying access to financial resources to Castro at the cost of the life and well being of the OTHER 11 millions of Cubans. Cubans that for the most part are INNOCENT of whatever reason US uses as rationale for the embargo.

    And don’t be a fool, Cuba people say the same. They have experienced it first hand, they have seen their own get blind by a neuropathy caused by malnutrition, they have to live with inadequate medical supplies, they have to deal with the unsanitary conditions in hospitals, they have a generation of midgets because of food deprivation on their younger years. And they KNOW that the US embargo is behind most of that.

    Even most of the dissidents are OPPOSED to the embargo. The ones that are for it has been caught multiple times receiving funds from their masters in Miami, so they don’t eve count as Cubans anymore and they have the blood of their fellow citizens in their hands.

    Even worse, the embargo is a FAILING policy lasting 50 years already. It not only has failed to fulfill their goals and force the population to bring down the government, it has served as catalyst to keep the Cuban government in power and unite the population against a common enemy.

    As for the Cubans in Miami supporting the embargo, they are just a disgusting bunch. Is oh, so glorious to support a policy that hurts their own knowing that

    a) It wont inconvenience them personally
    b) Their immediate relatives are going to be shielded by the worst effects by their remittances
    c) The rest can rot in hell for all they care

    So brave and compassionate. And so ineffective. But hey, they get a piece of the pie of the money that uncle Sam puts every year to bring down the Cuban government. And they profit from sending mules to resell the junk they get for cheap at a HUGE premium to a country deprived from almost everything.

    But is all in the name of democracy, so its all good and well.

  • Your passionate argument against sanctions is matched tit-for-tat by equally passionate and factual arguments that support the embargo by denying the Castros the financial lifeline that unrestricted tourist travel and access to the financial markets would provide. As an academic exercise, I ask that you accept this fact. As a result, if the embargo is as you say, why don’t the Cuban people, not the Castros, say the same? It would do well to ask those Cubans who have left Cuba and are free to speak their real feelings what they think? A Gallup poll did just that. It found that only 27% of those polled want to end the embargo without conditions. A huge majority (63%) preferred to maintain the embargo until the conditions for lifting it were met. Does that sound like a people who are suffering from a policy which, as you say, creates “sick and dead” Cubans? I agree with you that surrounding yourself with like-minded people can alter your perception of reality. You should take your own advice and ask Cubans what they want sometimes.

  • Completely bogus stats accepted by people don’t know what they are talking about and based on unofficial anonymous data gathered from obscure sources by people nobody trusts.

    Your statements are simply ridiculous, if 69% of Cubans really opposed Raul, there is no way for him to make 90% of the population go to the polls and cast a valid ballot. Say whatever you want about the methodology and goals of the elections in Cuba, but the election process itself is fairly open; the ballots are guarded by school kids, not policemen, and neighbors, not government officers are the ones doing the validation and counting of the ballots.

    As for your last remarks, you simply show your true colors. There is a lot of sanctions you can do that hurt the governments without hurting the people. You can ban weapon sales, you can ban officers from traveling to your territory, you can refuse buy their exports, you can ban sales of luxury items. All of those are perfectly valid sanctions that hurt the people in power but are of limited effect on the population.

    But thats not what the US embargo is about. The US embargo is a comprehensible set of laws designed with the sole purpose to force the population to revolt against the government. It banned for a long time the sales of food, even now the rules make said sales very hard (the only reason the Cuban government participates in it is to create a segment in US that favors the normalization of the bilateral relationships). It bans the sales of medicines and medical equipment. It penalizes foreign companies trading with Cuba. Its adds an extra burden to ships anchoring in Cuba, by banning them to go to US for 6 months.

    But forget about the generals and lets get to the specifics.The US embargo is directly linked
    to the epidemic of blindness in the 90s that was attributed to a dramatic decrease in access to nutrients; an outbreak of the Guillain-Barre syndrome caused by lack of chlorination chemicals; and an epidemic of lye ingestion in toddlers due to severe shortages of soap.

    Thats people crippled for life and dead children directly linked to the embargo. It has also been linked to the shortage of medical supplies that worsens the sanitary condition of hospitals, increasing the incidence of septic complications that every year kills people that otherwise would have recovered.

    THATs what you and people like you are supporting, lots of sick and dead Cubans. Thats a reprehensible position for anyone to hold that says a lot about the kind of person you are if you support it, and if you happen to be a Cuban yourself that makes you a traitor to your people and deserving public scorn from actual human beings.

    And wake up. You need to grow up and understand that this world is not black and white; for starters you need to understand that not all the sanctions are the same, and the options never have being sanction vs cooperation, the real world is a little more complex than that.

    As a matter of fact, the numbskulls supporting the sanctions fail to understand that by doing so, they are actually cooperating with the Cuban government by providing a ready explanation for their own shortcomings, and unifying the Cuban population against a blatantly obvious common enemy, thus helping perpetuating them in power.

    So give yourself a favor and try to understand the whole picture before sprouting uninformed nonsense. If you only surround yourself with people echoing your own opinion, you will eventually end resonating with each other and losing a grip on reality. And from that point on you’ll become less and less effective in modeling it to your own goals.

  • That same old tired rhetoric? No “mercenaries”. Just facts – freely gathered – you can’t refute.
    The Castro regime is so afraid of the Cuban people it doesn’t dare to allow them to vote in free and fair elections.

  • No “bogus stats”. stats accepted by Cuba experts like the people of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.tented to believe them.

    As far as the Cuban elections go: no claim can be made based on them. They are utterly worthless as the UN said.

    You would ridicule yourself as much as if you would be claiming the 90%+ “approval” of Stalin or any of the North Korean Kim dynasty was genuine.

    Cubans don’t take the elections serious and know that however they vote nothing will change. They go trough the motions and hold a low profile.

    The UN’s assessment of the so called elections is correct:
    “the electoral process is so tightly controlled that the final phase, the voting itself, could be dispensed with without the final result being substantially affected”
    See: E/CN.4/1998/69

    At least the IRI allowed people to freely respond.

    As far as the importance of who is hurting the Cuban people: you raised the issue and it does indeed matter. The sanctions limit Cuba’s options and contribute to removing the ones that truly hurt the Cuban people.
    In reality: if you favor the Castro regime and oppose sanctions you are advocating misery of the Cuban people which makes you immoral and repulsive.
    Those supporting sanctions are no traitors. By your twisted logic Aung San Suu Kyi was a “traitor to the Myanmar” people as she supported sanctions against the regime.
    Cooperation with dictators is what makes traitors.

  • Embargo = Terrorism
    The embargo is for the people, weather Castro is right or wrong, it does not matter at this time.
    If you let control go you have control, be kind to the people that you call enemies, and at the end, you are going to be surprise that you were your own enemy.

  • Sorry, but your bogus stats won’t take you too far. Likewise I can claim that 90% of the Cubans in Cuba are pro-government because only around 10% of the ballots were invalid or null in the last elections and the rest voted for pro-government candidates.

    And is not a matter of who is hurting more the people, at least the Cuban government is not doing it in purpose while the rationale behind it for the US is to move the population to desperation so they overthrow the Cuban government and make the dirty work for them. Sorry, but at the very least, one position the result of sheer incompetence while the other is pure malevolence.

    If you favor the embargo, you favor hardship for innocent Cubans ergo you are not a good person. If you happen to be a Cuban, you are advocating for the misery of your own people and that not only makes you immoral and repulsive, it also makes you a traitor towards your own.

    And if you betray your own people and wish for their misery, you are not welcome in my country, thank you.

  • I don’t care how many international awards Suu Kyi has won: if she favored sanctions that translated directly towards hardship and misery and indirectly hurt and killed her fellow citizens, she is an immoral prick undeserving of my respect.

    As I’ve mentioned before, the real world is not a Disney movie and what is not pristine white is not necessarily pitch black. And standing in the right side of an issue don’t make you automatically a good person.

    A nice Godwin example is the unnecessary and brutal ally bombing of German cities at the end of WW2 or the atomic bombing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Both are crystal clear examples of war crimes (all were indiscriminate attacks targeting civilians) and the fact that they were perpetrated by “the good guys” doesn’t make it less criminal.

  • A tip: Myanmar is NOT Cuba.

  • IRI and those same mercenaries’ polls ‘taken in secrecy’? Please, don’t make me laugh.

  • “Espacio Laical acknowledges that “Cuba has to change in many
    ways” and expresses its gratitude towards individuals and institutions
    committed to such change, but adds that “the key figures behind these
    changes cannot be the centers of power of certain powerful and
    influential countries.”

    “In addition to expressing support for the US embargo, Cuban dissidents have requested additional material aid. Relations between the United States and the island’s dissidents, bloggers and human rights organizations would appear tainted by the US $20 million which Washington destines to financing their activities every year.”

    “In a confidential cable published by Wikileaks (cable # 202438, sent on April 15, 2009), the U.S. diplomatic chief in Cuba, Jonathan Farrar, acknowledged that Cuban dissidents “were more concerned about getting money than about taking their proposals to broader sectors of Cuban society.””

    And then when we rightfully call those ‘dissidents’ mere US mercenaries and agents of the Empire, we are bashed by reactionaries and called ‘Castro propagandists’.

  • I respectfully disagree with you. Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of many international awards for her struggle against the military dictatorship in Myanmar, including the International Simon Bolivar award from Venezuela and the Nobel Peace prize openly supported US sanctions against her government of Myanmar. Once that government began to make measurable changes toward democracy, including holding open elections, US sanctions were modifed and subsequently lifted. In the aftermath, Aung San thanked the US for using this economic pressure to assist in bringing democracy to her country. The same possibilities are likely in Cuba’s future.

  • The Cuban catholic church has lost a lot of its credibility by not taking a moral stance on the dictatorship and by its collaboration in the schemes to force prisoners of conscience in to exile.

  • Your statement that the vast majority thinks things would be better without the sanctions is also questionable.

    What isn’t questionable is that the majority of the Cuban people has lost its confidence in the Castro regime. millions have “voted” by leaving.

    The solution is simple: no Castro no sanctions.

    No Castro freedom of speech and democracy in Cuba.

    The dogmatic mismanagement and the repression of the Castro regime hurts a lot more people in Cuba.

    You should despise that regime. A regime that turned the third developed nation of the Americas in to a third world nation and that destroyed agriculture in a net food exporting country so that kit now has to import 80% of the food its people consume.

    Polls show 69% oppose Raúl Castro

    “Poll: 79% of Cubans think Castro gov’t can’t fix problems
    Updated 11/19/2007”

    Also see the following on who is hurting the Cuban people:

    “”The U.S. says it approved $142 million in commercial and donated medical exports to the communist island in 2008. So why did less than 1 percent of it get there?”
    “It’s not the embargo,” said John Kavulich, a senior policy adviser at the New York-based U.S.-Cuba Economic Trade Council, which provides nonpartisan commercial and economic information about Cuba. “These are economic and political decisions not to buy.” Cuba often waits for allies to donate what it needs, Kavulich said. “They’d rather get things for free than pay for them.”

    “It’s unclear why U.S. medical exports aren’t reaching Cuba”, Dallas Morning News, 5 December 2009.”

  • Who cares? The vast majority still thinks that things would be better without the sanctions. Some think the country would be able to move forwards without the hostile US interference, while others think that it will expose the government ineptitude as the source of all ills and it will force change.

    Only the extreme rabid and the ones in the payroll of Florida lawmakers and extremist anti-Castro groups benefit from keeping an embargo that makes very little to hurt the Cuban officers and affects directly the general population, starting by the most vulnerable.

    People willing to hurt their own people in order to score some petty political dispute are a disgrace and a shame to the human species. Too bad honor is an alien word in modern politics, back in the good old times folks used to say that “Rome pays the traitors, but it despises them”. Today they need to wear a big id tag to tell them apart.

  • For once the catholic church takes position and a positive one on top of it.The difference between Ortega and Romero is, that Ortega will survive.I suppose also because of the actual pope, who`s a lot different from either Benedict, who tried to do well, but did not succeed living in his high theological spheres which pushed himself into the role of the head of inquisition during the period of maybe the most reaccionary pope of all: John Paul II.. Whats the merit of Ortega: he knows waht`s lacking in Cuba, he loves the Cuban people, is not playing his own power games and above all not a person guilty of high treason like some of the so called dissidents. That´s why he got the confidence of the government.

  • Ravsberg has correctly identified that the Castros and the Catholic church in Cuba appear to be deciding who will and will not be invited to debate and forge Cuba’s future. I would argue that Castro’s list of invitees is much smaller than the Church’s list leaving many dissenting and opposing views outside of the discussion. However, the one party, invited or not, most likely to have the greatest impact on the discussions and Cuba’s future is Father Time. Time is running out for the Castros, politically, economically and biologically.

  • I would have to disagree with Mr. Ravsberg’s statement that: ” the majority [of Cubans] condemns the so-called “U.S. blockade””. People in Cuba know the regime just uses the trade sanctions as an excuse. they know there is no “blockade” as lots of the products – including chicken – comes from the US.

    I also think that many Cuban dissidents support Washington’s policy of economic pressure but avoid publicly expressing this within Cuba because the regime will throw them in to jail.

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