New York Times urges Congress to end Cuban embargo

 Cuban citizens stroll through the streets of Santiago de Cuba. EFE/file

Cuban citizens stroll through the streets of Santiago de Cuba. EFE/file

New York, Aug 3 (EFE).- The New York Times on Monday published an editorial urging Congress to help put an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba, after the two nations recently re-established diplomatic relations after a rupture of more than 50 years.

“With the United States and Cuba restoring diplomatic relations, a significant majority of Americans and an overwhelming majority of Cubans want the embargo repealed. It is time for Congress to help make engagement the cornerstone of American policy toward Cuba,” said the daily.

The Times notes that despite the executive action taken by President Barack Obama’s administration, Cuba continues to be facing some of the harshest sanctions imposed by Washington.

“It is the only country United States citizens are barred from visiting as tourists,” the paper said, mentioning in the editorial the complaints of businessmen such as Marriott International chief executive Arne Sorenson.

The newspaper says that more and more lawmakers are taking “promising” steps in the direction of lifting the embargo, adding that Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) introduced a bill in the House last week that would do so and last month the Senate Appropriations Committee passed amendments that would allow American citizens to travel to Cuba freely and ease some commercial interactions.

In addition, the editorial mentions a recent survey by the Pew Research Center that found that 72 percent of Americans support ending the embargo, and it emphasized that 55 percent of those surveyed who said they were conservative Republicans also support that move.

The Times also says that the criticism of the rapprochement between Washington and Havana by two Republican presidential hopefuls – Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio – could end up costing them votes among the Latino community in 2016.

Finally, the paper notes the “forceful” appeal for lifting the embargo made last week in Miami by Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, in which she said that Cubans want to have broader contacts with the United States.

The editorial concludes that for decades U.S. presidents and lawmakers have toughened the embargo, but those laws and regulations to try and provoke a change in the Cuban regime have failed and remain “frozen in time.”

Last October, The New York Times published another editorial in both English and Spanish in which it called upon President Obama to seriously consider resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba and ending the embargo.

The United States and Cuba broke diplomatic relations in 1961 and Washington began implementing the economic embargo against the communist island the next year in an attempt to drive Fidel Castro from power.

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