On Jan. 10 and April 11, The Times published a letter and an Opinion piece calling for the end of the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba. There are neither moral, humanitarian nor business reasons for lifting the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba. The current embargo is supported by the 1.5-million-member Cuban exile community and the Cuban Democratic Coalition, the umbrella organization of the principal opposition groups struggling for freedom and democracy within Cuba. The recently enacted Cuban Democracy Act, sponsored by Rep. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.), tightens the embargo.
It is a double standard to call for a lifting of the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba while demanding stringent sanctions against Haiti and South Africa. No government has a worse record of human rights abuses than the Castro regime. It is impossible to understand how anyone can voice any support for a regime which has caused 10% of its population to go into exile, executed or condemned to labor camps tens of thousands of its citizens and continues to persecute, physically abuse and jail human beings for wanting to exercise their most basic rights.
Cuba’s economic problems have not been caused so much by the embargo, but by Castro’s mismanagement. For the last 34 years Castro has had plenty of economic assistance. The Communist bloc, Western Europe and Canada have had commercial relations and provided aid to the island.
Fidel Castro remains in power for two reasons. First, the international community has not acted against this violent dictatorship, but has quietly supported it through trade, investments and economic aid. Secondly, the people and security apparatus that surround and protect Castro are kept loyal by their unlimited access to goods and power which the dictator avails to them. If the embargo is lifted, the misery and suffering of the Cuban people will not be reduced. Any American products obtained by the cash-starved regime will be used as always to continue buying the loyalty of members of the power elite.
The embargo is working. Lifting it will only buy Castro time.
ROSENDO J. CASTILLO
Cuban American National Foundation