Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Castro's Illness Presents An Important Opportunity To United States

As reported by ABC News:

HAVANA Jul 31, 2006 (AP)Fidel Castro announced Monday night in a letter read by his secretary live on state television that due to illness he was temporarily relinquishing the presidency to his brother and successor Raul, the defense minister. In the letter read by his secretary Carlos Valenciaga, Castro said he had suffered gastrointestinal bleeding, apparently due to stress from recent public appearances in Argentina and Cuba, and had to undergo an operation.


First, let us assume that Castro must be very close to death to hand over power even temporarily to his brother. I could be wrong but the man is old and this is most likely his time.

Now, some are saying that Castro's recent illness will do nothing to help freedom in Cuba. Such commentators rightly point to the fact that Castro is handing over his power to his brother Raul. Thus, these people say, this is merely a change in dictators and nothing more.

I agree with them, the recent events in Cuba, by themselves, don't spell the immediate end of communism on that island. However, they do provide an excellent chance for the United States to step forward to help speed the end of that corrupt and evil government in Cuba.

The way the United States can do that is by ending the trade embargo against Cuba. In my view this should have been done a long time ago. There is nothing that speeds along human rights more than the flow of capitalist goods (look at China as an incomplete but hopeful example).

Now, with this shift in power, the United States can save some face and still end the embargo. The United States can say the embargo was against Castro... that this new ruler Raul can be dealt with in another way.

Anyway U.S. diplomats choose to say it, the main point is that the embargo must end. It does nothing but build resentment and does nothing to facilitate change in Cuba. Embargoes are the complete opposite of what capitalism and human rights should stand for-openness and connectivity to the world.

There is a lot of hope for Cuba. The people are educated and ready to play a positive prominent role in the Caribbean. Let's hope that the United States doesn't fail to act during this unique situation and help the Cubans along their way.
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"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction"--Ronald Reagan