Thursday, April 28, 2005

Cuba Libre

Wed Apr 27, 3:49 PM ET

The US Congress urged the European Union to press Cuba on its human rights record and condemned the communist-led island for its crackdown on dissidents.The resolution demands that Fidel Castro's regime "immediately release" political prisoners, hold free and fair elections, and legalize political parties, labor unions and the press.

The EU could actually be effective in putting pressure on Castro since they allow travel and trade.


Martinez, Congress Continue Cuba Debate By KEITH EPSTEIN

While hundreds of Cuban- American activists gathered here Wednesday to protest restrictions on travel to visit relatives, Mel Martinez, the nation's first Cuban-American senator, announced Congress` first bipartisan alliance dedicated to pushing the other way, strengthening sanctions.

A new lobbying group of 30 business interests from 19 states, meanwhile, has organized to broaden existing trade deals - mostly from farming states through U.S. ports that compete with Tampa.

They even want the U.S. to establish full ties with Castro's island dictatorship.

Despite formidable forces building against the current U.S. stance, Martinez feels emboldened by his status as a rarity in the Senate - someone whose boyhood experiences under Cuban repression enable him to use his personal story to persuade colleagues.

The question of course is which method will lead to a free Cuba. Did sanctions against South Africa end apartheid or hurt those we were trying to free? The US seems to believe that by having economic ties with China we can encourage Democracy. Should we do the same with Cuba? Having a big economic club to hang over Castro’s
head might encourage reform.


Brian H said...

I guess the EU is trying to demonstrate that their vaunted "diplomatic trade weapon" is able to change how dictators operate just as well as the velvet gloved iron fist of the US changed Iraq's. Good luck to them! I.e., fat chance.

Rancher said...

Brian H

That's assuming the EU even tries.