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  • #2297144

    Why doesn’t the USA trade with Cuba?

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    by jimhm ·

    With the poor content that Techrepulbic has been putting on the website – why not turn it into a political debate forum…

    Being an American – I am confused about something. We trade with Vietnam, Korea, China, USSR, Germany, South Africa and other countries. Not one politican has given a good answer to why the USA doesn’t open trade with Cuba. Canadains – British – French and others enjoy the beaches and tourism of that island – except Americans. We still have a military base on it – but yet can’t go off the base.

    What’s up with that. I know the Kennedy’s had problems with Cuba but dam that was over 40 years ago – and it hasn’t been that long for Nam and we are trading with them – and permitting tourism.

    Clinton – sends a small boy back to the island by force …. USA Cuba’s can’t travel without going to Canada … I mean .. Thats some BS … if you ask me …

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    • #2686212

      Do you really mean

      by oz_media ·

      In reply to Why doesn’t the USA trade with Cuba?

      That you can’t travel from America to Cuba as a tourist?

      I was talking to a friend yesterday who just came out from Ireland. Hh was travelling with an American he worked with and when in Europe, his American partner need VISAS for almost everywhere they went, thus slowing the trip by many days and costing his company money.

      My friend has a British passport and freely travelled everywhere without question, when they came out here a few days ago, his American friend even needed a VISA to get in to Canada!!

      Damn glad I still hold MY British Passport, at least I have freedoms with it, I can even go to Cuba for a vacation.

      • #2685653

        You bet Oz

        by jimhm ·

        In reply to Do you really mean

        I have a friend of mine that is married to a Cubian with family still there. It takes almost two years to get a travel Visa from the US government for them to go and visit. But then they fly out of Florida on a special airline – that is authorized by US fed’s to go there.

        She went there a couple of times via Canada – without any problems – but got into trouble when she returned to the USA with a Cuban Entry and Exit stamp in her passport.

        And all these posts about him and Human rights stuff – that maybe true, but during those same 40 years the US openly traded with South African during Apartti (SP?) and all the Human rights they were violating –

        I just don’t see the difference – Except Cuba was a black eye for the Democrates and the Kennedy’s. For the Bay of Pigs and the CIA backed attempted coo – Oh I forgot about the MOB and all the holdings they had down there before the revolution.

        It’s interesting to read – That Florida is holding up any trade talks – or that Human Rights violations is the problem… Like I said no one can give a good reason. I guess we will see after Fedel die’s if the US will open trade…

        As to American’s traveling – I’ve travel for business and pleasure – Didn’t need a VISA for anywhere I went – Canada, Mexico, VI, Martinque, French West Indi’s, Britian, Franch, Germany….Just showed the passport and woof I was there.

        Now what did hit me funny – was when my Cusion and his wife were in from Britian and we went to the Falls. When we crossed the Peace Bridge – they had to go through Customs to get into Canada. When we came back – they had to exit through Customs…

    • #2686184

      Because of Cuba’s Human Rights Violations

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Why doesn’t the USA trade with Cuba?

      .
      All of the following are from published reports:

      Human Rights Watch has been monitoring human rights conditions in Cuba for more than 15 years. Severe political repression has been constant throughout this time. Cuba has long been a one-party state. It has long restricted nearly all avenues of political dissent. It has long denied its people basic rights to fair trial, free expression, association, assembly, movement and the press. It has frequently sought to silence its critics by using short term detentions, house arrests, travel restrictions, threats, surveillance, politically motivated dismissals from employment, and other harassment.

      Julia Cecilia Delgado, an independent librarian and president of a nongovernmental group, had been serving a one-year sentence for “disrespect.”

      March 4, 2003 became a year that Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva and seven other human rights activists remain confined in inhumane prison conditions, awaiting trial for carrying out a peaceful protest at a hospital in the city of Ciego de Avila, Cuba, in solidarity with an independent journalist beaten by Cuban State Security. They are all charged with committing crimes which carry sentences of up to eight years.

      Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, a blind lawyer and president of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights is very ill from the physical and mental torture he has and is suffering at the State Security Prison in Holguin. For two months, since January 2003, he was prevented from going out of his cell to take the sun and because his mattress was taken away, he is forced to sleep on the bare, humid floor. Gonzalez Leiva is experiencing chronic severe headaches and a throat infection due to what he has described to his family as toxic fumes and noxious particles continuously introduced in his cell. The inflammation of all tissues in his left ocular cavity is such that he is unable to introduce the prosthesis that replaces his missing eye.

      The Cuban government’s intolerance of democracy and free expression remained unique in the region. A one-party state, Cuba restricted nearly all avenues of political dissent. Although dissidents occasionally faced criminal prosecution, the government relied more frequently on short-term detentions, house arrest, travel restrictions, threats, surveillance, politically-motivated dismissals from employment, and other forms of harassment.

      Jos? Orlando Gonz?lez Bridon, leader of the Confederation of Democratic Workers of Cuba, an unofficial union, was sentenced to two years of imprisonment in May for “spreading false news.” The charges stemmed from an article he published on an Internet site in August 2000 that criticized local police for negligence in the death of another labor rights activist.

      Cecilio Monteagudo S?nchez, a member of the unofficial Democratic Solidarity Party (Partido Solidaridad Democr?tica), was released from prison in June. He had been convicted of “enemy propaganda” and sentenced to four years of imprisonment in 1998. Cuban police originally detained him in September 1997, after he had drafted, but not published, a document calling for abstention from local elections.

      Human rights conditions in Cuba have recently deteriorated. Over the past month and a half, the Cuban government has carried out a full-scale offensive against nonviolent dissidents, independent journalists, human rights advocates, independent librarians and others brave enough to challenge the government?s monopoly on truth.

      Seventy-five people were convicted of violating laws that criminalize a broad range of nonviolent statements of opinion, infringing fundamental rights of free expression. Their sentences range from 6 to 28 years of imprisonment, with an average sentence of more than 19 years.

      ———- end of excerpts from various reports (but there could be thousands of such stories) ———-

      Cuba has a long history (40+ years) of blatant and extremely cruel human rights violations. Yes, China, North Korea, Burma (and others) could be included in such a description, but we do, as we should, take cases like these one at a time, consider each individually on its own merit, and establish policy accordingly. Moreover, being only 90 miles off our coast, and being the only oppressive dictatorship in the western hemisphere, not to mention the hoards of refugees fleeing to our shores, makes it more of an issue that’s more relevant to our interests.

      Some might argue (including Amnesty International) that the U.S. led embargo somehow contributes to such a situation, but that’s simply irrational thinking. Why would a lifting of the trade embargo compel Castro to stop executing political dissidents? The human rights violations came first, the trade embargo came after.

      Why does the United States stand alone in its stand against the dictator in Cuba? Well, what else is new? The rest of the world has proved time and time again that they’d prefer to keep their heads in the sand and do nothing, whether it be in Iraq, Africa or Cuba. The United Nations stands by and condones (condones by its inaction) brutal human rights violations all over the world, including those in Cuba. France, Germany, Canada, and others just have a “la-de-da” attitude about it, and turn a blind eye. While the United States is taking criticism for its imposed sanctions, and while the United States is taking all the refugees fleeing Cuba, and while the United States is taking the initiative to attempt to reverse the trend of human rights violations in Cuba, the people of the world from other nations are taking vacations in Cuba making the dictator Castro even more wealthy. (Where do they think their tourist dollars are really going?)

      And do you remember back in April, 2003, that Cuba was re-elected to the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission ? What kind of farce is that? What does that tell you about the “rest of the world” and their approval of human rights violations?

      However, my personal opinion is this. The 40 year long embargo has not done anything to either remove Castro from power or force him to cease violating people’s human and civil rights. But I don’t think we should stop trying. I think we need to do a better job of trying to get other nations to at least openly object to the horrible conditions there. Perhaps the United States should let up a little on the strict rules of the embargo, but ONLY IF the rest of the world tightens up on theirs at the same time.

      Or does the rest of the world “approve” of Fidel Castro’s abuses?

      • #2686129

        Haw!

        by lesdabney67 ·

        In reply to Because of Cuba’s Human Rights Violations

        We don’t trade with them because of human rights? Too funny…

      • #2685652

        Thats a load of BS

        by jimhm ·

        In reply to Because of Cuba’s Human Rights Violations

        Come on – we traded with South Africa and they were worse than Cuba ever could be. Violation of Human Rights – try something else.

        • #2685624

          You asked for the reason. . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Thats a load of BS

          …and I gave you the official policy position reason.

          It’s not “MY” reason, nor did I say that I agreed or disagreed with it, but it is the official policy position. Feel free to believe that to be the case or not.

          You (and others) may think that there’s a more clandestine or underhanded reason other than human rights violations, and you may be right, but you may also be wrong. You may think it’s B.S., as do others, but there’s always going to be the believers/nonbelievers, or the UFO versus weather balloon debates.

          I’ve “unofficially” heard that it’s only pandering to the Florida Cuban voters who’ve come to America over the past 40 years. Why’d they come here in the first place if things weren’t desperate for them?

          Or “unofficially” it’s because of the Kennedy thing in the 60s. Except Republican policy makers, including Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43, have also supported the sanctions. Moreover, if it were up to the current day “Kennedy” Democrats, the sanctions would be lifted. Today, Republicans, in general, are in favor of keeping the sanctions, while Democrats, in general, are opposed to them.

          There ya’ go, Jim. Make your next vote for a Democrat, and be sure to let him/her know that you want the Cuban trade sanctions lifted, so they can get a majority in Congress, so they can vote to lift sanctions, and so their Democrat Party President will sign the bill lifting the sanctions. (But past Democrat Presidents, including Clinton, wouldn’t lift them either.)

          And when you vacation on the beaches of Cuba in 2005, after your Democrat vote helped lift the sanctions, keep an eye out for a 56 Chevy, a 2-Door, of course (or a convertible), in good enough condition for me to buy and restore back to its original condition.

      • #2685406

        Trade sanctions indefinite in length..

        by road-dog ·

        In reply to Because of Cuba’s Human Rights Violations

        When the trade sanctions were imposed they became law. They were imposed in a narrowly focused way to thwart the success of a communist government backed by the then USSR. Personally, I think that this was partly justified by the Monroe Doctrine which was intended to prevent European colonialism in that region of the world, but I digress…

        Once something is made law, then a repeal is politically dangerous in comparison to inaction. It’s much safer to ignore this issue and embrace the status quo than it is to risk backlash for supporting a change.

        As for continuing trade with equally abusive regimes, to impose sanctions is the reverse of the above, where it equally difficult to impose.

        Hey, I didn’t say it makes sense, just that’s how it is….

        Inertia is a political phenomenon, not just a physical one.

    • #2686177

      Some of Castro’s American friends

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Why doesn’t the USA trade with Cuba?

      Filmmaker Steven Spielberg visited Cuba and met with Castro in November and dined with the dictator until the early morning hours. Spielberg announced that his dinner with Castro “was the eight most important hours of my life.”

      Other Hollywood celebrities who have visited Cuba and Castro include Robert Redford, Spike Lee, Sidney Pollack, Oliver Stone, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Ed Asner, Shirley MacLaine, Alanis Morissette, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kevin Costner.

      Costner visited Cuba in 2001 for the premiere of his film on the Cuban Missile Crisis, Thirteen Days, and attended a private screening with Castro. The film depicts the Kennedy administration behind the scenes during the October 1962 crisis.

      Costner was clearly impressed with Castro, stating at a Havana press conference, “It was an experience of a lifetime to sit only a few feet away from him and watch him relive an experience he lived as a very young man.”

      Movie portrayals have also reflected Hollywood’s enthusiasm for Castro’s Cuba, even while infuriating cultural critics like David Horowitz, who called the 1990 film Havana, starring Robert Redford and directed by Sydney Pollack, “grotesque,” for its pro-Castro sentiment.

      Another film currently showing in the U.S. is called Fidel. The 2002 movie is being billed as a biographical documentary of Castro, featuring the Cuban dictator as well as Harry Belafonte and Ted Turner.

      The movie presents such a favorable view of Castro that New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott said of the film: “This is an exercise not in biography but in hero worship.”

      Last week, one of the stars of Fidel, Belafonte, was back in Cuba for a film festival and told reporters that “every day, more and more Americans are opposed to the war machine being driven by George W. Bush,” according to a report from Cuba’s state-run Radio Havana.

      Belafonte accused Bush of using the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to further his desire “to control the world militarily, politically, economically and culturally.”

      Among their key political causes, Hollywood activists are calling for the U.S. government to end the trade embargo imposed on Cuba in 1961. However, Bush has said he will not lift the embargo until Castro’s government honors human rights, releases political prisoners and holds free and fair elections.

      ———-

      If Hollywood is “friendly” towards Fidel Castro, I have a natural tendency to be skeptical.

      However, some have a different opinion:

      There are a few celebrities who make no attempt to hide their disdain for Castro. Actor Andy Garcia, a Cuban refugee, recently expressed his frustration over what he sees as the ignorance on the part of many in Hollywood and in America to Castro’s Cuba.

      “Sometimes, you feel like what’s really going down in Cuba is protected in a way by the American media, and it’s a shame, because the truth needs to come out. People need to be aware of what’s really going on down there,” he told Fort Lauderdale’s City Link newspaper in October.

      Garcia said he was proud of his 2000 HBO movie, “For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story.” The film profiles a jazz musician who fled Cuba for America.

      Garcia was blunt in his assessment of his native country. “For me, there’s no substitute for liberty and freedom. People die for that,” he said.

      Singer Gloria Estefan is another Cuban refugee who feels frustrated that people don’t understand the Castro government. Estefan fled the communist nation when she was two years old.

      “People don’t have a lot of information, and when they ask me about it, I tell them about the drama of exiles, the repression, the firing squads, the horror of communism,” she told Exito Online in 1997.

      “My whole family paid a heavy price for freedom. My father not only fought in the Bay of Pigs, he volunteered to fight in Vietnam. He fought for these same freedoms,” Estefan said.

      “How could I forget that Fidel Castro was the person who did me so much harm?” she asked.

      • #2686168

        There’s no denying it

        by oz_media ·

        In reply to Some of Castro’s American friends

        The fact that Castro is far beyond the opressor that Saddam was shown to be is not a topiv of question. It is interesting that Iraq only breached sanctions fro 8-10 years before a full scale invasion of Iraq. Whereas Castro, as you pointed out, has been at it for over 40 years, without military repercussion. ?

        The idea “in the rest of the world” isn’t that Cuba is a nice place with a friendly leader, everyone knows of his oppression and control tactics.

        The US was trading with Iraq, even though sanctions were breached. So was everyone else, but that was OK, why?

        If GWB could make momey sellng coke, I’m sure they’d have removed Castro by now.

        When there is no immediate benefit to the American people (government or Predsident), the US presidency doesn’t care what others are doing, otherwise they’d have invaded Cuba, toppled Castro and would be still in occupation trying to get the people to see common ground.

        The fact that I can travel to Cuba freely doesn’t mean that I like Fidel Castro or that my PM does. My country’s leader doesn’t control where I go in the world, they will always welcome me back to Canada though.

        If we elect a Liberal Government, that doesn’t mean I must be Liberal to feel for or against political actions. No matter what party you support, you will always offer the PM the same level of respect you would to any party and are always entitled to show your opinions without repercussions from parties. It’s open minded freedom, not jump on our bandwagon or wait til your next election comes up to have your voice heard.

        I am free to go to Cuba, I don’t have to go to Cuba and don’t really want to, but I am not restricted from it.

        It is NOT my PM’s decision as to where I can or cannot travel. This is called freedom.

        Is this perhaps the President’s way of stopping his people from spending THIER hard earned money on a vacation to Cuba?

        Perhaps the intention is that by not allowing American money into the Cuban economy, you are not supporting the economy and therefore giving Castro a kick in the pants.

        Maybe it’s not always about protecting American citizens, maybe it’s nt always about SAVING the poor and downtrodden. MAYBE, just like EVERY other governnment in the world it is actually for monetary gain or lack thereof. Perhaps you are all just being used as pawns AGAINST Castro. By denying you travel there (that still baffles me that YOU don’t have the choice where you travel)you will see Cuba as a bad place not just a country with a repressive leader.

        In the general public, Cuba is seen as bad, that’s a fact you can’t deny, you’re not even ALLOWED to travel there from your country of freedom. Therefore anyone FROM Cuba must also be bad, not logical but realistic.

        BY banning travel to Cuba, you have once again isolated America from another part of the world, this keeps people IN America where thier money is best spent, just like any part of the middle east. A former employer just returned from Turkey, everyone wondered WHY someone would visit Turkey after looking at recent events. His response, “Turkey was beautiful, the people are wonderful the food is fantastic. If someone said there was a war in Toronto would you not visit Vancouver?” Well, no they are many miles apart.
        (Plus the trips to Turkey right now are dirt cheap because of everyones fear of the world.)

        If there were problems in Tijuana, would you not visit Mazatlan?

        Again it all boils down to the Fear Uncertainty and Doubt that fuels the human mind. Instilling fear inturn instills hatred. Banning travel, instills fear and therefore hatred, not toward castro but toward Cuba.

        No wonder you all hate the rest of the world so much, you’re petrified of it.

        In closing Maxwell, this in no way means that I like Castro or feel he is not the opressive dictator he is, just that I’m given the freedom to do as I wish. Who the hell is the PM to BAN me travelling somewhere?

      • #2686127

        What exactly did Fidel do to Gloria…

        by lesdabney67 ·

        In reply to Some of Castro’s American friends

        if she left Cuba at age two?

    • #2686136

      Vietnam

      by john_wills ·

      In reply to Why doesn’t the USA trade with Cuba?

      The parallel to Vietnam is misleading. The U.S. was an ally – albeit incompetent – of South Vietnam (Annam & Cochin) against an invasion by North Vietnam (Tonkin). Trading with the allegedly united state is as much trading with SVN, the let-down ally, as with NVN. Also, the despots in Hanoi are trying for a liberal economy, which should make their subjects better off, whereas Castro is sticking to a brand of communism which necessitated $1m/day from the not-quite-so-communist USSR to maintain living standards where they had been since Castro’s revolution, even after the $1m/day is no longer coming, so he has no intention of making his people better off. By trading with VN, the US will encourage economic liberalism, which, it is hoped, will make democracy more likely. There is no parallel hope for Cuba.

    • #2686128

      Florida Electoral votes

      by thechas ·

      In reply to Why doesn’t the USA trade with Cuba?

      The origin of the ban on trade with Cuba dates back to the 1960’s and Cuba’s alliance with the Soviet Union.

      The trade embargo stays in place ONLY because of the large Cuban ex-patriot population in Florida.

      Any party or President who approves trade with Cuba is guaranteed that their party will LOOSE the next general election in Florida.

      Therefore, both political parties are afraid to even approach the concept of trade with Cuba until a new government is in place there.

      Yes, there are other factors that make it easier for our government to continue the embargo. But, lets be honest, if these human rights and other issues were the main reason for the Cuban trade embargo, a lot of other countries that we do trade with should also face embargos.

      The sad reality is that, like Iraq, the trade embargo is NOT hurting the government of Cuba. It does hurt the people, and removes a potentially lucrative market for US businesses.

      Chas

      • #2685650

        First have to teach them how to punch out chad’s

        by jimhm ·

        In reply to Florida Electoral votes

        I don’t think besides this last election – Florida has that many Electorial votes that would make a big difference to one party or the other.

        I guess it wouldn’t matter anyway because they don’t know how to punch out a chad..

      • #2685462

        Lose not Loose, but you’re right

        by dksmith ·

        In reply to Florida Electoral votes

        No national or Florida politician in their right mind will ever advocate normalizing relations with Cuba for the exact reasons you stated.

        It will take non-Floridian politicians backing the law with Florida reps “kicking and screaming” (wink-wink-nudge-nudge) to change the law.

        The problem is with illegal immigration. If you think the Mexican border is wide open, wait until we normalize trade and immigration laws with Cuba.

        DKS

    • #2685597

      Lift a Ban, Help a Dictator

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Why doesn’t the USA trade with Cuba?

      .
      The title of this message is also the title of an article that makes for some interesting reading on the subject of reopening trade and/or tourist avenues with and to Cuba.

      http://www.cnn.com/US/9607/16/cuba/

      I think trade and tourism with Cuba will happen after one of two things happen, but no sooner. The first thing, hell must freeze over. Or the second thing, Fidel Castro dies and goes to hell (which might make it freeze over).

      Think about this: The year is 2003, we’re in the western hemisphere, and there’s still a tyrant dictator just 90 miles away in an island country from which people are risking life and limb to flee. I will admit one thing, the U.S. / Cuba policy has been a disaster for the last 40+ years. No person, no party, no administration has been able to do anything to improve the situation.

      I’ll wait for Castro to die before things drastically change.

      • #2685595

        Whoops – wrong link

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to Lift a Ban, Help a Dictator

        .
        (But that incorrect link will lead to some interesting reading as well.)

        The article titled, Lift a Ban, Help a Dictator, may be found here:

        http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed102703a.cfm

      • #2685582

        Ah yes…help a dictator..

        by lesdabney67 ·

        In reply to Lift a Ban, Help a Dictator

        The US has no qualms about helping dictators. It is a shameful part of the US history that we have supported dictators across the globe. What makes this one different?

        • #2685514

          difference with Cuba

          by john_wills ·

          In reply to Ah yes…help a dictator..

          There is no advantage to helping this dictator. Other dictators have been helped as being “on our side” in the Cold War or the “war against terrorism”, but Castro doesn’t fit either pattern, so the US reverts to its foundation theories instead of playing realpolitik.

        • #2685437

          Situational ethics

          by lesdabney67 ·

          In reply to difference with Cuba

          The rule should be that we don’t help ANY dictators. The “Cold war” and “the war on terror” are abstract concepts used to obfuscate a much larger role of the US’ hegemony in the world. Some people would call it “opiate for the masses” because it gives the average person someone to hate and gives the “defenders of America” an enemy.

          But, to anyone educated in history it is just the same old imperialist song and dance that has been going on since time immortal.

        • #2685128

          no help for dictators

          by john_wills ·

          In reply to Situational ethics

          I agree. President Carter made an executive order forbidding the export of weaponry to undemocratic American states. A decade later every American state except Haiti and Cuba was democratic (which is not to say that it had a liberal economy, or prosperity, or good education or health care, just that it was a democracy): soldiers want their fancy toys. I would like President Bush to extend the rule to the whole world, cutting off weapon supply, at least temporarily, to even such “friends” as the Sa’udi and Israeli states – although Iran, which is a democracy, would still have to go through other hoops and so would probably not get any. I do not think ten years would be enough to democratize the world, but we’d be working in the right direction.

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