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April 13th, 2009
10:58 AM ET

Toward a new Cuba policy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/10/art.getty.cuban.flag.jpg]
Maria Werlau
The Wall Street Journal

The ascendancy of Raúl Castro to Cuba's presidency has fueled expectations of reform in the 50-year-old dictatorship. Next week, President Barack Obama will be pressed on the issue at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad-Tobago.

It is a good time to acknowledge that neither the U.S. embargo nor engagement by the rest of the world have helped Cubans attain their rights. Sanctions, though ethically justified, can't work unilaterally; treating Cuba as a normal partner is immoral and counterproductive. A new unified approach is needed.

Just as the oppressed people of South Africa, Chile, and other tyrannies received international support, finding an effective approach to the Cuba problem is a shared duty. It is also in everyone's interest. A democratic, stable and prosperous Cuba would cease threatening the security of the region, slow the flow of Cuban refugees and provide better trade and business opportunities.

If the U.S. president understands totalitarianism better than his hemispheric counterparts, he will remind them that at the Ibero-American Summit in 1996 Fidel Castro signed the Viña del Mar Declaration pledging to support democratic pluralism. He has consistently ignored all such international agreements. Now Trinidad summiteers should jointly call Cuba's bluff.

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. JC-Los Angeles

    It appears that President Obama's vices are getting the best of him; he must like the Gitanes cigarettes of France; the rum and cokes of Cuba; and the aromatic scent of Iran's napalm.

    April 14, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  2. lourdes joa

    I came to the U.S. when I was 9 years old. It was 1968. My husband also came from Cuba in 1975. We have many family members there. I will tell you what my sister -in-law told me the other day. If it wasnt for us helping them ,her little grandaughter would not even have an underwear to wear. It is time to end the embargo and normalize relations with Cuba and the wonderful Cuban people. And also to end the price gauging that are set by the many agencies in Florida and throughout other cities that they charge us to send items to Cuba. These Cuban run agencies charge $16.00 a pound to send items to our loved ones thru their agency. Since it is ilegal to send packages to Cuba thru United States Postal service. That to has to be adress also.
    A admire President Obama for the steps he has taken to give our familys in Cuba,HOPE for their future and their children. I say to My President Obama "ABAJO CON EL EMBARGO " I will like to see before I die my people free from oppresion and need of basic things as I mention a little girls underwear to wear.
    thank you
    Lourdes Joa

    April 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  3. Julio A. Lewis

    OK to allow cubans in the US to send money to their relatives in Cuba but we need to have the Cuban goverment to change the tax regulation on dollars coming into Cuba, the tax is 20% so for every dollar that we send, the Cuban goverment keeps 20 cents...we need to make them, the Cuban Govt, change their policies too and have our relative keep the total amount...those funds will be spend there in Cuba anyway and the goverment owns everything there. US Govt must push for a change in this matter before anything is done.

    April 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  4. Cristina Ruiz Burk

    I am a Cuban American who came to the U.S on the Freedom Flights in 1966 at the age of 9. It's about time that we turned away from the backwards conservative thinking that helped perpetuate the separation of families, friends and country. Perhaps now those Cuban Americans that were exiled can move forward and remember that we were [and are] Cubans first; that we have an obligation to our people and most especially the country that we left behind.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  5. Luis

    Just about when Fidel and Raul are about to die of old age.

    Obama decides it would be a good idea for people to bring the U.S. Dollar to Cuba.

    The U.S. dollar in Cuba is traded in the black market in Cuba because they know they can buy foreign goods with it.

    Can we at least wait until Castro dies?Why would Obama do this? What is he doing?

    April 14, 2009 at 12:26 am |
  6. Tomas C.

    Let the people in Cuba to do what they want,nobody acept a governtment for 50 years if they don't want it, The Cuban people is not a people of cowards, when they don't like the governtment that they have, they will do what they have to do.Nobody needs to tell them. Please, can you understand that.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  7. Isabel Siaba (Brazil)

    For Cubans, the opportunity to see their relatives more frequently will be a popular measure and the decision to ease restrictions on the amount of money they can spend on the island and send to Cuban relatives.

    The great barrier of Cuba to the other countries is its dictatorship, no freedom of press or alternation of power.

    President Obama is right.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  8. Michael C. McHugh

    Despite the dictatorship of the Castro brothers, there were some good things about the revolution in Cuba that should be preserved, such as education and medical care. If we're going to have a new relationship with Cuba,we should acknowledge that, and make it clear we don't want to turn back the clock to pre-1959.

    April 13, 2009 at 12:55 pm |