By The Atlantic Council's Jorge Benitez in The New York Times:
The Castros Are Responsible for Cuba’s Failures, Not the U.S.
Let's avoid all the rhetoric about Cuba and focus on the facts. The first relevant fact is that Cuba trades with 99 percent of the world. Thus, the poor health of the Cuban economy is due to the disastrous policies of the Castro government and not because it is deprived of trade.
This is not the fault of the United States, because we have the right to prefer to trade with other countries that do not oppress their people. The poverty in Cuba is also not the fault of the Cuban people because the Castro regime has robbed them of the power to make economic decisions.
It is the Castro regime that is totally responsible for the misery in Cuba. The most overlooked fact in this debate is that every euro, ruble, peso or Canadian dollar invested in Cuba goes directly to Castro and his cronies. Foreign businesses are not allowed to pay wages to their Cuban employees. Instead, they are required to turn the money over to the state. The Castro government keeps most of the foreign money and hands out only pennies to the Cuban people. Lifting U.S. sanctions would only add our dollars to this corrupt trade.
Another relevant fact is that since John F. Kennedy imposed sanctions on the dictator in Havana in 1962, every U.S. president and every Congress, as well as the majority of the American public have supported sanctions against the Castro government. Therefore, critics of the sanctions need to stop their racist campaign of blaming a small ethnic group for controlling U.S. policy on this issue.
The time to end U.S. sanctions is after Cuba has a democratically elected government that allows fair trade. Until then, changing U.S. policy to subsidize the Castro regime’s exploitation of 11 million Cubans will remain unpopular with the American people and against our national interests.
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