It’s high time the U.S. ended the embargo with Cuba
OKLAHOMA CITY – Ever since Red Dirt Report featured the following story – “U.S. policy interferes with poor nations getting assistance from Cuban doctors” – we have noticed an uptick in the number of stories popping up suggesting that the embargo against Fidel and Raul Castro’s Cuba should be lifted after all these decades.

Why President Obama doesn’t simply take a stand and end the inhumane blockade is not very clear to this political watcher.

Particularly with polls that show six in 10 Americans polled favor normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba, our island neighbor just some 90 miles south of the U.S. state of Florida.

Ironically, while a number of right-wing, Cuban expatriates in places like Miami-Dade, Fla. want the embargo to continue – as they have, essentially since 1959 when the communists took power – increasingly, these folks grudgingly admit that the embargo has not been effective, as the Los Angeles Times editorial board noted in their Sunday edition.

And while Red Dirt Report agrees that there are some serious issues that need the Cuban government needs to address – human-rights concerns,

Writes the Times: “The world has radically changed since the nuclear-freighted tango between the United States and the Soviet Union ended more than 20 years ago. These days, the U.S.-Cuba rift puts us at odds with many of our hemispheric allies and perpetuates the image of the U.S. as an overbearing neighbor.” We couldn’t agree more with that sound assessment.

And yet the reactionary, right-wing media, particularly in Florida, has jumped all over Democrat gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist this past week for “advocating lifting the Cuba trade embargo,” as reported by the Tampa Tribune.

Crist actually took a bold position on this volatile issue, particularly in south Florida’s influential Cuban-American community. I suspect others will follow suit.

“Here’s the issue – time. T-I-M-E,” Crist said. “You put a policy in and you see if it has the opportunity to work. Certainly after 50 years, you might come to the conclusion it’s not working.”

He is correct. The embargo/blockade is not working. It never worked. And while they may paint Crist as a flip-flopper (and in his own way he is), in this case it strikes us as a matter of realizing that some things just don’t work – like America’s drug war, for instance.

And while you may think no one, outside of Red Dirt Report, is talking about this issue, our friend Steve Long at The Otter Limits blog in Edmond had the chance to ask Republican Senate candidate Jason Weger of Norman about his position on the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

Responded Weger: “We need to revisit this issue, as the trade embargo is over 50 years old. I understand both sides of the issue. The embargo requires Cuba to follow certain rules that were placed on them by the U.S. government. Cuba has failed to act on some of the requirements in order to lift the ban. My answer depends on the impact the embargo has on national security. We must ask ourselves if lifting the embargo would be detrimental to our national security and the protection of our people. There is a very long history of political conflict between the U.S. and Cuba. The embargo is complex and our relationship with Cuba is complex. If there is a way to move forward, then I am on board with working on a solution.”

Not a bad response from a Republican Senate candidate in a deeply-red state.

Looks like some positive changes are coming sooner rather than later.

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