Monday, July 17, 2006

Letter on Cuba Report

Posted on Sun, Jul. 16, 2006
Miami Herald
Letters to the Editor

Don't continue bad Cuba policy

Last week, President Bush endorsed the latest report issued by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba on the role of the United States in the Cuban ''transition'' after Fidel Castro's death. The commission's recommendations reveal yet again that the Bush administration is incapable of learning from an uninterrupted 47-year record of policy failure.
While the report professes that its goal is the spread of democracy in Cuba, the commission's past recommendations (strengthened by the new report) further restricted travel to Cuba by Cuban Americans, scholars, students and humanitarians. This policy not only belies the U.S. commitment to basic freedoms but also runs counter to our policy regarding other communist countries, where the prevailing assumption always has been that democracy is spread through American travel and the dissemination of democratic ideals.
The report claims that its insistence on Castro's removal comes out of humanitarian concern for the conditions of the Cuban people. Yet it simultaneously suggests renewed vigor in the implementation of restrictions that limit the amount of money, medical supplies and other necessities that Cuban Americans can send to Cuban relatives, as well as the frequency of family visits, on the specious grounds that these things help Castro stay in power.
The overriding expressed concern of the embargo all along has been to get Castro out of power, without regard to the humanitarian costs. If the U.S. government really wants an invited (rather than imposed) role in the transition -- one initiated by the Cuban people themselves -- it seems obvious that it would first need to establish itself to those very Cuban people as being concerned with their current condition.
The Emergency Network of Cuban American Scholars and Artists for Change in U.S.-Cuba Policy (ENCASA/U.S. CUBA) urges Congress to reject the recommendations of the report. We also urge our fellow Americans to reject politicians who support such failed and misguided policies.
MARTA CAMINERO SANTANGELO, member, ENCASA steering committee, Lawrence, Kan.


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