Is Hillary Clinton Using the Cuban Embargo as Her "Excuse"?

Monday, June 16, 2014
In her new book "Hard Choices," former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argues that the Cuban embargo is “holding back our broader agenda across Latin America.”

What agenda is "broader" than freedom and democracy in the Western Hemisphere?

Are we to throw out the monumental accomplishment of the 2001 Inter-American Democratic Charter, signed by 34 out of 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere, which holds "representative democracy" as the backbone of hemispheric relations?

In the interests of some unclear "broader agenda," is the U.S. going to re-open the door to the dictatorships -- whether leftist or rightist -- that once ruled Latin America?

Is U.S. diplomacy not sophisticated, robust and muscular enough to overcome Raul Castro's cohorts (pictured below this weekend), which precisely want the U.S. to "fully integrate" Cuba's dictatorship in the inter-American system, so that they can fully unleash their own authoritarian ambitions?

(See more on this point here).

During a recent hearing of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, CHC Editor Mauricio Claver-Carone, ominously testified regarding Raul Castro and his wanna-be authoritarian cohorts:

"This trend is reversible -- but the leadership of the United States is vital. 

Undoubtedly, the democrats of Latin America need to step up to their own responsibilities, but in the cost-benefit analysis that all political leaders make, they need to be left with no doubt that the benefits of standing up for freedom and democracy in Cuba outweigh the costs. Whether we like it or not, only the United States can tip that balance. 

To be clear, the United States is not the cause of Latin America's problems. To the contrary, it represents the solution. U.S. leadership in the region should be public, unquestionable and unwavering, particularly as regards the shared values of freedom, democracy and security. 

Our democratic allies in the region should know and anticipate the benefits derived from embracing and promoting democratic practices. Likewise, autocrats should know and anticipate the consequences of undemocratic practices and illegal acts."

Undoubtedly, U.S. diplomats are up to this task. They are the best in the world.

If they didn't under Secretary Clinton's tenure, then the poor leadership falls upon her.

But it's unbecoming to instead use the Cuban embargo as her "excuse."