Easing of Restraints in Cuba Renews Debate on U.S. Embargo 1

By DAMIEN CAVE, New York Times

HAVANA — “If I could just get a lift,” said Francisco López, imagining the addition of a hydraulic elevator as he stood by a rusted Russian sedan in his mechanic’s workshop here. All he needed was an investment from his brother in Miami or from a Cuban friend there who already sneaks in brake pads and other parts for him. The problem: Washington’s 50-year-old trade embargo, which prohibits even the most basic business dealings across the 90 miles separating Cuba from the United States. Indeed, every time Mr. López’s friend in Florida accepts payment for a car part destined for Cuba, he puts himself at risk of a fine of up to $65,000.

With Cuba cautiously introducing free-market changes that have legalized hundreds of thousands of small private businesses over the past two years, new economic bonds between Cuba and the United States have formed, creating new challenges, new possibilities — and a more complicated debate over the embargo. The longstanding logic has been that broad sanctions are necessary to suffocate the totalitarian government of Fidel and Raúl Castro. Now, especially for many Cubans who had previously stayed on the sidelines in the battle over Cuba policy, a new argument against the embargo is gaining currency — that the tentative move toward capitalism by the Cuban government could be sped up with more assistance from Americans.

Even as defenders of the embargo warn against providing the Cuban government with “economic lifelines,” some Cubans and exiles are advocating a fresh approach. The Obama administration already showed an openness to engagement with Cuba in 2009 by removing restrictions on travel and remittances for Cuban Americans. But with Fidel Castro, 86, retired and President Raúl Castro, 81, leading a bureaucracy that is divided on the pace and scope of change, many have begun urging President Obama to go further and update American policy by putting a priority on assistance for Cubans seeking more economic independence from the government.

“Maintaining this embargo, maintaining this hostility, all it does is strengthen and embolden the hard-liners,” said Carlos Saladrigas, a Cuban exile and co-chairman of the Cuba Study Group in Washington, which advocates engagement with Cuba. “What we should be doing is helping the reformers.”

Story continues:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/world/americas/changes-in-cuba-create-support-for-easing-embargo.html?pagewanted=all

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One comment

  1. What this people do not know or pretend not to know is that in Cuba the only ones that benefits from any economic lifting of the embargo are Castro and his Generals,those are the ones that will pocket all the profits of whatever is sold there,if in the future american parts for cars are sold there and mechanic shops are opened,who will benefit? The government will tax the hell out of the mechanics,Castro will get all the profits and the regular Cuban mechanics will still be living like Dogs.We are not talking about a simple country in poverty,We are dealing with a ruthless dictator that has repressed his nation for 53 years and do not care for his people,he only cares for the Castro family and his ruling elite.Now a days Stores for tourism are filled with items of first necessity and electronics,clothes washers,TV sets etc,The regular Cubans they don’t even have soap to take showers and their kids are bare footed,opening of the embargo means,more profits for the dictator Castro,more budget to spend in new military technology and at the end the regular Cubans still will be in the same situation they were.

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