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President Trump: Just Another Jailer of the Cuban People

April 25, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Nowhere has the president’s foreign policy been a bigger
bust than in his promiscuous imposition of economic sanctions. So
far, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela have refused to
surrender despite the Trump administration’s “maximum
pressure” policy. That hasn’t stopped Trump from
exhibiting one of the classic signs of insanity: doing the same
thing over and over and expecting different results.

Trump’s hope was for a quick victory in Venezuela. When
that country’s military refused to switch sides and make the
National Assembly’s Juan Guaido president, as the
administration had expected, Washington had no answer. Steadily
increasing economic restrictions only further impoverished the
desperate population. And thankfully, Trump has so far preferred
bombast and bluster to military action.

The administration searched desperately for someone to blame.
They settled ultimately on Cuba, which is aiding Nicolás
Maduro’s government in Venezuela, and Barack Obama, who
relaxed the half-century economic embargo against the Cubans.
National Security Advisor John Bolton declared: “The Obama
administration’s misguided Cuba policy provided the Cuban
regime with the necessary political cover to expand its malign
influence and ideological imperialism across the region.”

By cracking down with
more sanctions, he’s enabling Fidel Castro’s heirs.

This is nonsense, of course. The Cuban and Venezuelan
governments have been closely linked since 2002, during the
Bush administration
. Havana’s support for Venezuela had
nothing to do with Barack Obama. Cuba’s behavior is nasty,
but not nearly so bad as what Washington tolerates from its allies,
such as slaughtering thousands of civilians, as Saudi Arabia has
done in Yemen.

In 1959, Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries took power.
Although many Cuban Americans eagerly hoped for Fidel’s
ouster, the regime survived an economic contraction of more than a
third, known as the “Special Period.” So the
Cuban-American community insisted on new and tougher sanctions,
which only hurt the Cuban people more. After six decades, U.S.
policy had failed to overthrow the Castro regime, yield democracy,
improve human rights, or even win compensation for nationalized
property.

Of course, Washington’s sanctions also hurt the Cuban
economy. But that country’s poverty is primarily
Havana’s fault. If socialism worked, why would the island
need access to capitalist economies to succeed? Anyway, there is
plenty of European money in Cuba. The embargo did, however, allow
the communist government to blame the United States for its own
economic mismanagement.

Nevertheless, even officials in Havana recognize that their
state-controlled economy is a disaster. Cuba continues to lose
ground to the rest of Latin America. Food shortages are rife; hard
currency from relatives abroad is necessary to keep many families
afloat. Economic opportunity is absent. A retired diplomat told me
that three of his four grandchildren now live abroad, an …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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