Cuban Democracy Leaders Stress Importance of U.S. Sanctions

Sunday, March 17, 2013
Young Cuban democracy leader Antonio Rodiles has just released the latest episode of his civil society project "Estado de Sats" (filmed within Cuba), where he discusses the importance U.S. sanctions policy with two of Cuba's most renowned opposition activists and former political prisoners, Guillermo Fariñas and Jose Daniel Ferrer.

The question posed was: What consequences would the unconditional lifting of the U.S. embargo have at this time?

"If at this time, the [economic] need of the Cuban government is satisfied through financial credits and the lifting of the embargo, repression would increase, it would allow for a continuation of the Castro's society, totalitarianism would strengthen its hold and philosophically, it would just be immoral... If you did an opinion poll among Cuban opposition activists, the majority would be in favor of not lifting the embargo," said Fariñas.

"In a cost-benefit analysis, travel to Cuba by Americans would be of greatest benefit to the Castro regime, while the Cuban people would be the least to benefit.  With all of the controls and the totalitarian system of the government, it would be perfectly able to control such travel," said Rodiles.

"To lift the embargo at this time would be very prejudicial to us. The government prioritizes all of the institutions that guarantee its hold on power.  The regime's political police and its jailers receive a much higher salary and privileges than a doctor or engineer, or than any other worker that benefits society. We've all seen municipalities with no fuel for an ambulance, yet with 10, 15, 20, 50 cars full of fuel ready to go repress peaceful human rights activists," said Ferrer.

Listen to the whole discussion (in Spanish) on U.S. policy below, beginning at the 33:00 mark.