To the editor:
I’m a Cuban-American, born and raised in Miami, the heart of the Cuban exile community in the United States. I have been familiar with the situation in Cuba my whole life and heard countless stories about why my family left. All this to say that I believe it is time we end the embargo and sanctions against Cuba.
Thousands of Cubans took to their country’s streets earlier this summer during worsening economic conditions made even more severe by the pandemic and crippling sanctions. The ensuing political crisis has presented some in Cuban society with the opportunity to try to meaningfully engage their government, while the authorities have only dug in their heels.
They met a recent attempt at a second day of protest with detentions. During this precarious time, the United States’ retributive policies only inflame tensions and do nothing to help Cubans in Cuba. Their only purpose is to mollify Cubans in the United States.
The embargo is an anachronism. The Cuban Revolution succeeded over 60 years ago, and the United States’ foreign policy has never adjusted to reality. The U.S. fought a war with Vietnam and still saw fit to establish normal and constructive relations with the Vietnamese government.
Many of the same criticisms of Cuba can be made of Vietnam; both are one-party Communist states. Yet that country is not subject to the same vindictive economic measures, demonstrating there is room for rational approaches in America’s foreign policy.
Ending the embargo would raise standards of living on the island. It would allow us to support Cuban small businesses and entrepreneurs, which we cannot legally do now. Even from a cynical point of view, it would remove a crutch the Cuban government uses to explain worsening conditions.
The most immediate way to make a difference in Cuba is to demand that President Joe Biden fulfill his promise to end the Trump-era sanctions on the island. We can then tackle removing the rest of the embargo’s teeth and open the road to better relations, and more importantly, better lives for Cubans.
-Chris Moldes, Alexandria