Stating that, "Cuba will soon be free," President Bush in a Rose Garden speech on Friday, October 10th, 2003, outlined a raft of new indicatives designed—in theory—to bring about the demise of Communism (Castro) in Cuba and from its ashes plant the seeds of life affirming Democracy.
The new measures include (Source—BBC.com):
- Strictly enforcing (via the Department of Homeland Security) an existing US law forbidding Americans from traveling to Cuba for pleasure.
- Cracking down on illegal money transfers.
- Imposing controls of shipments to the island.
- Aggressive campaign to inform Cubans of safer routes to reach the United States.
- Increasing the number of Cuban immigrants in the US.
- More US radio, television, satellite and internet broadcasts to break the "information embargo" Mr. Castro had imposed on his people.
Bush stated that Castro has answered his recent diplomatic overtures designed to ease restrictions on trade and travel between the two countries "with defiance and contempt and a new round of brutal oppression that outraged the world's conscience." Really, has there been a great outcry across the world relating the Castro’s treatment of the Cuban people we have not heard about? Bush went on to say, "Clearly, the Castro regime will not change by its own choice, but Cuba must change."
Change, why must it change? And who are we (Americans or the Cuban exile community) to once again be the instruments of that change? Where is it written that democracy should be the political system of choice in every nation? Shouldn’t be up to the people actually living in Cuba to decide what shape and form their government should take, and not some self-styled exile community with little or no vested interest outside of monetary and or material gain at stake. And certainly the U.S. government should not have a vote. If they (the self-styled Cuban exile community) were really that concerned with change in Cuba, why aren’t they there in Cuba bringing about such a change instead of living in South Florida basking in the glow of American freedoms? If Castro fell from power tomorrow and the seeds of democracy were allowed to flourish how many of them would return to Cuba immediately and help the country realize true freedom whose foundation rests on the rule of law and the equality for all?
Our (the United States government) policy towards Cuba indeed needs to be re-addressed, but not like this. I have always been a strong advocate of ending the embargo, not only because it hasn’t now, and will not in the future work, but also because it’s just wrong. It’s a double standard we dared not impose on China, or the former Soviet Union, and only impose on Cuba because it is politically expedient to do so. I believe that if we lifted the embargo and reestablished trade with Cuba, the country would take a similar path as China, embracing capitalism in small steps, thereby allowing the flowers of democracy to bloom slowly in the sunshine of the free market economy. Once freedom has tempted the palate, its taste is hard to excise from the hearts of those who have sampled it.
The Bush Administration latest salvo across Castro’s bow amounts to little more the political hubris designed to win the votes of the so-called Cuban exiles in the upcoming 2004 Presidential election. It has nothing to do with the real needs, or wants, of the Cuban people. And the new policies certainly do not spring from a place of compassion, or genuine concern for the state of the Cuban society. If that were the case common-sense and rational thought would prevail and the Cuban exiles would not be allowed to dictate American Foreign Policy as it relates to the now militarily insignificant island some ninety miles south of the Florida coast. Mr. Bush, end this embargo!