Easing Sanctions Would Impede Reforms

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Please read the following paragraph from today's Miami Herald very carefully:

Cuba's Raúl Castro says the island "has no alternative" but to embrace the economic changes he has proposed, and claimed they are based on brother Fidel's ideas, according to the Granma newspaper.

Yet, ironically, advocates of unconditionally normalizing relations with the Castro regime have been (counter-intuitively) lobbying for months that the U.S. should encourage economic changes in Cuba by easing sanctions -- in other words, by easing economic pressure.

If even Castro recognizes that economic changes are being proposed solely because the regime has "no alternative," then wouldn't easing sanctions actually become an impediment for the fulfillment of these changes (and for the potential of true reforms in the future)?

That's exactly what occurred in the 1990's -- pursuant to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. -- thanks to the economic lifeline provided to the Castro regime by Canadian and Europeans tourists, and by the (now depleting) oil subsidies of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Maybe advocates of normalizing relations with the Castro regime really don't want to see true reforms take place.

Regardless, the lesson for the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration -- and other well-intentioned actors -- is clear:

If you would like to see true reforms take place in Cuba, then keep sanctions in place.