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Column 111912 Brewer

Monday, November 19, 2012

The UN Effort to End the Cuban Embargo is Still Unjustified

By Jerry Brewer

Last week there was a record vote for a United Nations resolution against the Cuba embargo imposed in 1962.  A record 188 countries voted for an "annual UN General Assembly resolution condemning the five-decade old US embargo against Cuba."

In January 2004, then Illinois state senator Barack Obama echoed his support for ending the US embargo against Cuba, while stating the necessity that other countries "... provide sustenance for their people, human rights for their people, [and] a basic structure of government for their people that is stable and secure...."  As President Obama assimilated into public office, he was then privy to US and ally covert intelligence that undoubtedly became a thought sobering game changer for him.

Are their legitimate or moral reasons to maintain this embargo?

Fidel Castro took power in Cuba in 1959, after President Fulgencio Batista fled during local guerrilla fighting.  Castro's government began sweeping changes, both socially and economically, without restoring liberties that he promised.  Opponents were imprisoned and many executed. 

Over 700,000 Cuban citizens emigrated in the first years of Castro's rule, mostly to the United States. Castro did little to impress democracies when his dictatorial rule allowed Soviet nuclear weapons to be placed on Cuban soil in 1962. His revolution throughout Latin America certainly distanced him from support from most Latin American neighbors.

Cuba's communist state and turbulent rule by Castro resulted in the US-imposed trade embargo that did in fact severely damage the Cuban economy.  Cuba became dependent on aid from other Communist countries, and it was seriously impacted by the collapse and breakup of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991.

The United States imposed even stiffer trade sanctions in 1992, and once again in 1996, actions taken especially due to Cuban aggression throughout Latin America and in Angola during the 1970s and early 1980s. The United States further accused Castro of state sponsored terrorism in the 1980s.

The United States announced in 2011, that "it would only ease the embargo when Cuba carries out major social and economic changes."

Much of the current generated support for lifting the embargo is defined as it had been anchored in the "Cold War." It could also be said that a new generation of lift-the-embargo supporters knows little, or cares less, about the past atrocities and suffering of the Cuban people -- or maybe it is simply amnesia. Russia, China, and Venezuela have strongly pushed for the lifting of the embargo.

US diplomat Ronald Godard told the UN assembly last week that "politically motivated short-term detentions this year in Cuba had already surpassed the 4,000 recorded in 2011."

Godard also spoke of the case of American Alan Gross, imprisoned in Cuba since 2009 for allegedly taking computers and satellite phones for the island's small Jewish community. Cuba accused Gross of being a spy. Too, Godard remarked that, "The international community cannot in good conscience ignore the ease and frequency with which the Cuban regime silences critics, disputes peaceful assembly and impedes independent journalism."

More recent examples of Fidel and Raul Castros' human rights abuses are the frequent arrests, abusive detentions, and physical attacks on the "Ladies in White," an opposition movement in Cuba consisting of wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents. The women protest the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday wearing white dresses, and then silently walking through the streets dressed in white clothing.

Fidel Castro's long rule over Cuba has brought years of misery to that homeland and the Cuban people. His communist ideology in Cuba's internal and external affairs unscrupulously forced much sacrifice upon the citizens. And his ideology, a means for the promotion of the goal that guided him from the start -- to reach the country's top position and to stay there.

Castro's sinister operations against the US have been documented by former Cuban official Pedro Riera Escalante, who was summarily deported by Mexico in 2000 (where he served as a Cuban consul from 1986 through 1991).  Riera, who covertly headed up the Cuban DGI intelligence operations against the CIA, has described Cuban espionage operations against the CIA station in Mexico City, and other operations he ran in Europe and Africa for the Castro regime.

And now, Cuba is indeed approaching the crossroads of democracy or continued dictatorial rule under President Raul Castro.  The latter involving continued tenacious perseverance under manipulative rule.

Today Cuba can, in fact, purchase medicine and food from the US.  Cuba can buy and sell from most countries other than the US, and a case can be made that cheaper goods could be purchased from those other countries.

Yet a shortage of consumer goods in Cuba can be significantly attributed to Castro's "priorities in military spending, support for his international causes," and continued strong covert intelligence services in Mexico and Venezuela.

Cuba's failed economy and the intense suffering of the oppressed Cuban people are not results of the US embargo.  Those failings and woes are due to a system dominated by the Castros', and their oppressive military elite, for decades.

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Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at http://www.cjiausa.org/.

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