Prominent Dissidents Differ From Yoani on Sanctions

Thursday, February 21, 2013
In an interview today from Havana, two prominent Cuban pro-democracy leaders -- and former political prisoners -- differed from renowned blogger Yoani Sanchez, who they respect and consider a friend, in her critique of U.S. sanctions toward Cuba.

Hector Palacios, who has previously supported easing some purposeful travel and remittance sanctions, urged caution:
I think the first reform that any Cuban who leaves the island should ask the world is to demand that the Cuban government recognizes the opposition.  If the Cuban opposition is not recognized, there can't be a dialogue, so there's no use in talking about lifting the embargo. [Yoani] would need to have spent some time in political prison to understand that it would be of no use for the U.S. to lift its embargo toward the Cuban government, unless beforehand, the regime lifts its embargo toward the Cuban people.  
And Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, who has consistently opposed unilaterally lifting any sanctions toward the Cuban regime stated:
The lifting of the embargo would only benefit the dictatorship -- it would strengthen it.  During the Soviet years, the Cuban government received between $5-6 billion per year, while Cubans still lived in misery.  It is not due to stubbornness [that I've reached this conclusion], but because my life experience has demonstrated to me that is the case.