Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Cuba: 60 Years of a Brutal, Vindictive, and Pointless Embargo

By Peter Kornbluh, The Nation

Where Obama was willing to try “engagement,” Biden administration policy remains mired in Cold War clichés. The Nation has always believed there is a better way.

In mid-December, some 114 members of Congress sent a forceful letter to President Joe Biden calling for “immediate humanitarian actions” to lift the economic sanctions “that prevent food, medicine, and other humanitarian assistance from reaching the Cuban people.” With Cuba struggling to emerge from a dire, Covid-generated economic crisis, the congressional representatives are pushing the White House to end the restrictions imposed by the Trump administration on remittances and travel and restore the Obama-era policy of engagement with the island nation. “Engagement,” the members concluded, “is more likely to enable the political, economic, and social openings that Cubans may desire, and to ease the hardships that Cubans face today.”

Full engagement with Cuba, of course, would require lifting the US embargo—a demand the congressional letter conspicuously fails to make. As the embargo approaches its 60th anniversary, terminating it would require not only White House action but a vote in Congress that the Democratic leadership has neither the political capacity nor the moral courage to prioritize. Indeed, the humanitarian measures that these members of Congress are asking of President Biden are intended to soften an economic crisis that, for decades, the embargo has explicitly attempted to create.


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