Monday, February 23, 2009

Ban On Consensual Economic Activity A Big Failure

Embargoes hurt regular people who are then presented with fewer options being denied access to the world economy. Leaders maintain a lush lifestyle at the expense of their citizens.

Senate Report Calls Cuban Embargo A Failure
Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is suggesting that the U.S. re-evaluate its trade sanctions with Cuba since they have failed to move the country toward democracy.

Senator Richard Lugar, in a written statement dated Monday, said "We must recognize the ineffectiveness of our current policy and deal with the Cuban regime in a way that enhances U.S. interests."

During his campaign and his initial days in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama has said he would be open to meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro. While he believes the embargo does provide some leverage, Obama has said he would support easting the limits on the amount of money that can be sent to the people of Cuba by their relatives in the U.S.

Lugar's suggestion on re-evaluating the embargo is included in a new report on U.S.-Cuban relations that will be distributed to the Senate this week. The report was written by Lugar's senior staffer, Carl Meacham, who visited Cuba in January.

The report charges that the existing embargo provides the Cuban government a convenient "scapegoat" for their economic difficulties and keeps the U.S. from gaining a "broader understanding of events on the island."

"By directing policy toward an unlikely scenario of a short-term democratic transition on the island and rejecting most tools of diplomatic engagement, the U.S. is left as a powerless bystander, watching events unfold at a distance," the report states.

An end to the embargo would require congressional approval due to a 1996 law which forbids the U.S. from normalizing relations with Cuba as long as Fidel or Raúl Castro is involved in the Cuban government.