America’s Summit: What Has the Cuban Blockade Accomplished?

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By  Dan Ehrlich

CARICOM was first, among a growing list of nations, saying it won’t attend the US sponsored Summit of America’s June 6-10 if some western hemispheric nations are banned from attending by the Biden administration.

This stance by the Caribbean group is aimed at US antipathy towards Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which have not received invitations based on the types of governments they have. And CARICOM’s stance has spurred other nations to adopt the same stance. Mexico, Honduras and Bolivia say they won’t attend if other are left-out and Argentina has yet to say yes or no.

The growing list of possible no-shows has prompted a frustrated US Government to re-examine its guest list.

What this reveals is the growing gap between the US and many hemispheric nations regarding its so-called blacklist of non democratic dictatorships. This list is based on America’s long held sanctimonious stance that a nation must measure up the US standards to be acceptable.

Yet, many nations in the Americas maintain a more pragmatic view: Democratic or not, all are member states and good relations should be maintained with all for peace and prosperity in the region.,

As for the US policy, it may be idealistic, but also counterproductive. Every regional nation the US has shunned has turned to alliances with Russia or China.

Zeroing in on Cuba, this is a political and social wound that’s been festering since 1959, one that defies logic and hypocrisy of monumental proportions.

Ever since the 1918 Russian revolution, anything communistic has been shunned by the US government, even if America’s own actions have lead to popular communist movements taking root, mainly in Latin America.

The fact that 63 years-later the US has yet to normalise relations with Cuba and maintains an economic boycott on this Island nation 90 miles from Florida, defies the logic for a pragmatic foreign policy with a burning question: What the hell has Cuba ever done to the USA?

True, Fidel Castro cosied up to Russia, for a short time allowing the Soviets to place missiles on the island aimed at the US. But that was only after the US tried and failed to oust Castro with the disastrous Bay of Pigs debacle.

Where’s the hypocrisy? The US doesn’t like Cuba because its a repressive communist dictatorship. But what about America’s biggest trading partner? China is the world’s largest nation and largest communist nation with a repressive system so severe, it makes Cuba seem liberal and open. Why doesn’t the US embargo China? The fact is the US can’t, Walmart wouldn’t approve. The US is economically tied to China. And there also the matter of billions of dollars in US currency held by China.

Then there’s Vietnam, a nation the US fought against or for, depending on how you view the conflict, for more than 10 years. Millions of locals were killed and the US lost more than 55,000 American troops. Yet, communist Vietnam is now on better terms with the US than Cuba is. Cuba remains the fall-guy as the hemispheric bad boy.

Throughout Americana history, the land of the free hasn’t been a very good neighbor.

  • In the mid 19th Century it waged an aggressive war against Mexico and took half its land then allowed the French to invade and briefly take over the country.
  • The US has supported dictatorships in Central and South America as long as they claim to be anti-communist.
  • It helped topple a democratically elected communist government in Chile.
  • And, after kicking the Spanish out of Cuba, it allowed the island to be run by harsh dictators who eventually worked in concert with the US organized crime to serve wealthy American holidaymakers while most Cubans lived in poverty.
  • This lead to the 1959 Fidel Castro communist revolution, an event that ushered in America’s ongoing fruitless boycott…aimed and eventual regime change…fruitless in that it has done nothing to change the communist regime. Yet, what the boycott has done is made life in the country so difficult for the population, countless numbers have emigrated to the US, legally and illegally.

President Obama realized the harsh nature of the boycott and began a process of restoring normal relations with Cuba. But cold water was poured on the process with President Trump. Now President Biden has loosened some restrictions on travel to and from the island. Let’s hope this becomes a trend normalizing relations.

There simply is no logical reason other than bigoted spite and placation of anti-communist Cuban- Americans to keep the boycott in place. It has been counterproductive and heaped economic hardships on the Cuban people. The US should remove the blockade and normalize relations with Cuba, a move that would be a positive and happy event for all concerned.

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