[OPE] US business leaders call for easing relations with Cuba

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Fri Dec 05 2008 - 18:22:17 EST

The open letter by US National Foreign Trade Council Vice President Jake Colvin is here:

The letter points out that unilateral sanctions against Cuba don't make any sense, and are ineffective anyway.

Mr Obama "would need congressional approval to completely dismantle the embargo, though he could use executive orders to ease the restrictions. A poll released this week shows that 55 percent of Miami's Cuban Americans say the United States should end the economic embargo, while 65 percent say Washington should re-establish diplomatic ties with the island. The strong support for lifting the embargo reflects a change in South Florida's Cuban-exile community, which has traditionally backed keeping the sanctions in place until the communist government in Havana frees political prisoners and embraces democracy. Florida International University's Institute for Public Opinion Research interviewed 800 Cuban-American adults for the survey. The poll showed a sharp division by age group, with 65 percent of respondents between 18 and 44 saying they opposed the embargo, while 68 percent of those 65 and over expressed support for keeping it in place." http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/us-chamber-of-commerce-asks-obama-to-lift-cuba-trade-and-travel-restriction/

Obviously it is very difficult to maintain and expand the realm of civil and political freedoms, if your country is constantly under threat of foreign subversion, and equally obviously, the Cuban government has no interest at all in the kind of economic and social breakdown that occurred in the CIS republics after the breakup of the Soviet Union (which actually led to a large increase in mortality rates, i.e. many people literally died because of it). The unemployment rate in Cuba at the moment is circa 2% of the workforce, and there's a very good education and health system in place, provisions for the elderly and so on. There are few countries in Latin America or Central America that can rival that achievement, and that is not something people would easily want to abandon. And "more market" does not automatically mean "less bureaucracy".

As I have pointed out before on OPE-L, liberalism, social democracy, christian democracy, conservatism and socialism are evidently very longlasting political trends in the modern era, embedded in human personalities, which will appear regardless of what kind of political regime or type of society you have, and regardless of any political repression. Changes to the Cuban constitution in 1992 actually decriminalized the right to form political parties other than the Communist Party of Cuba, although these parties currently cannot campaign or engage in any public political activities in Cuba. These parties include the Christian Democratic Party of Cuba http://www.pdc-cuba.org/, the Cuban Socialist Democratic Current http://www.psrdc.org/, the Democratic Social-Revolutionary Party of Cuba, the Democratic Solidarity Party http://www.psdcubano.org/, the Liberal Party of Cuba http://partidoliberaldecuba.com/ , the Cuban Liberal Movement, and the Social Democratic Co-ordination of Cuba.

This "half-way house" cannot really be called "Stalinist" insofar as Lenin and Stalin outlawed the lot. It would indeed be quite easy to integrate the participation of such alternative parties into the political system currently dominated by the Cuban CP, provided that there were real guarantees that this would not cause more foreign political subversion and more economic havoc. But no such certainty exists as yet, and therefore a genuine multi-party democracy is most probably some way off. But I think it will eventually be achieved.


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Received on Fri Dec 5 18:24:26 2008

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