Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Obama And Castro Agree It's Time To End The Embargo

(This photo of Obama and Castro is by Reuters and is from the BBC web site.)

President Obama's trip to Cuba seems to be a big success. A majority of the citizens in both countries approve of the trip, and it has given the leaders of both countries the chance to talk and chart a course for the restoring of full diplomatic rights between the United States and Cuba.

But there is one thing they agree still needs to be done, and it is something that neither Obama nor Castro can do -- end the trade embargo the United States levied against Cuba more than five decades ago. Unhappy with the result of the Cuban Revolution, the United States sought to force Cubans to change their government by installing the embargo.

The embargo has never worked, and most other countries stopped honoring that embargo long ago (resuming their trade with Cuba). Continuing the embargo is not going to change anything now either. It's just going to hurt American businesses that would like to trade with Cuba -- and hurt American workers whose jobs would be enhanced by trade with Cuba (both manufacturing and agricultural workers).

Unfortunately, the embargo was put in place by Congress, and if it is to be lifted, Congress must do it. But Congress is controlled by Republicans, and most of them are opposed to lifting the embargo. They still want to punish Cuba for refusing to be an American-controlled country -- even if that punishment long ago became weak and ineffectual.

But the American public doesn't agree with those congressional Republicans. About 48% (nearly half) of Americans think it's time to end the embargo, while only 22% are opposed. These numbers are from a YouGov Poll -- done between February 19th and 22nd of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of 4.1 points.

Does the United States have the right to tell Cuba (or any other country) what kind of government or economic system they should have? Of course not. That is something that can only be decided by Cubans. Imagine how Americans would feel if another country tried to tell them what kind of government or economic system they should have. They would be incensed, and rightly so. We need to give Cuba the same kind of respect we expect from other countries.

The embargo has failed, and really should never have been imposed. It needs to be lifted as soon as possible.

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