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The high price of hypocrisy

By Andy Hewes
Market Advisor
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The U.S. embargo of Cuba began as what many thoughtful people believe was a justifiably needed action during the post-Batista/early Castro regime change in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Given the Cold War atmosphere at that time and the political slap and property conversion that occurred with the regime change, the embargo probably made short-term sense.

The question now, close to 50 years down the road, is how and why has this become an institutionalized position in Washington, D.C.? The really big question is when will this outrageous hypocrisy finally end?

Who benefits from the continuation of the embargo? This subject has been given careful thought and review for many years without any good answer – it just seems to have a never ending life of its own. There is no military threat from Cuba, no economic threat from Cuba, no political threat from Cuba, no social threat from Cuba, no moral threat from Cuba – indeed, no threat at all from Cuba. Just what is it that strikes a chord with enough force in Washington, D.C., to keep Cuba so isolated?

Intertwined histories
The history shared by the United States and Cuba is a long one, starting nearly from the time of Columbus’ discovery of the New World. Trade and travel go back 300 years or more, and there certainly were strong ties between the two countries dating from the early 1800s to the 1960s.

The Spanish-American War provided the platform for Cuba to earn its independence with help from the United States. The Cuban constitution was written in the 1950s in Washington, D.C., and the old capitol building in Havana, el Capitolo, is a replica of the Capitol building in Washington. Our two countries’ histories and people are not just linked; they are intertwined.

After many years of trying to come up with some sort of reasonable explanation for this long standing diplomatic and economic freeze tinged with more than a little emotional hostility, the choice comes down to something that strongly resembles a personal vendetta of some sort. As uncivilized and un-American as this seems, what other possible justification is there for hurting American tax payers, hurting American farmers and other American commerce, hurting Latin American and global relations with the United States, hurting families caught in this vengeful crossfire in both the United States and Cuba, and hurting 11 and a half million Cubans whose only crime was to want a better life, a better education and to get out from under the harsh Batista rule?

Re-establish neighborly relations
Whatever the reason for the embargo’s continued entrenchment after nearly two generations, it is time for it to stop – it is far past the time for it to stop. This has been kept alive in Wash-ington, D.C., for these many years, but this is not the American way of treating people in any country. Nothing but negatives emanate from this action – not one genuine positive can be shown.

Let’s not listen to anymore hollow calls for free elections and no human rights violations before lifting the Cuban embargo when the U.S. record is one of falling all over itself in places like China and Vietnam to get the doors re-opened and trade going again.

Let’s just open the doors to Cuban travel and trade and start getting our neighborly relations with the country re-established. The U.S. experience of dealing with other communist regimes proves that whatever vestiges of communism remain will begin to dissolve with unrestricted travel, trade and commerce.

Let’s drop this costly embargo now – completely. The people of good will in both countries are ready for this now and have been for many years.

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