The U.S. embargo on Cuba: “Eppur Si Muove”

What the UPDATES news about embargo to Cuban Florida.Editorials.

Galileo Galilei ante el Tribunal de la Inquisicion.

Galileo Galilei ante el Tribunal de la Inquisicion.


Editorial: Knock down U.S. barriers to Cuba
Thursday, January 30, 2014 4:53pm
President Barack Obama vowed in his State of the Union address this week to use his executive power to work around congressional gridlock on several issues, from jobs to pensions to clean energy. He should add another topic: relations with Cuba.

The 54-year-old trade embargo has been an utter failure, and it’s beyond time Congress repealed five decades of sanctions that have served only to separate Cuban-American families and diminish U.S. influence in the region. Short of Congress having an epiphany, the president has wide latitude under his executive authority to at least curb the embargo’s senseless reach. Obama took this approach in 2009 and 2011 by reversing Bush-era travel restrictions on Cuban-Americans to the island and by relaxing the barriers for U.S. citizens seeking to visit.

Florida and Tampa Bay in particular benefitted from the president’s moves. Opening up direct flights to Cuba from a host of American gateways, including Tampa, has brought the two countries closer together than they have been for generations. Families have found it easier and cheaper to reunite, and ordinary Cubans have been exposed to the American ideal of democracy. Since the flights took off in 2011, Tampa International Airport has become the second-busiest gateway to Cuba, behind only Miami. Jose R. Cabanas, who heads the Cuban Interests Section in Washington and is that nation’s top diplomat in the United States, said during a visit to the bay area Thursday that the strength of ties is remarkable. Cabanas’ schedule included meetings with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the airport, the port and cultural groups.

The American public is clearly ahead of most of its political leadership in recognizing that normalizing relations with Cuba makes sense. Toward that end, the administration can take several helpful steps to put Cuban-American relations on sounder footing. The president should loosen the restrictions for open travel to Cuba; Americans have a right to move freely here and abroad. He should expand U.S. diplomatic ties with Cuba and seek closer cooperation on a range of issues, from hurricane preparation and disease control to safe management of offshore oil facilities. The United States should also continue working to help Cuba find a new banking institution to process accounts for Cuba’s U.S. operations. Its current bank has announced it will withdraw this spring, which could effectively shut down Cuba’s consular services in this country.

Obama has every reason to improve relations with a nation closer to the mainland than the state of Hawaii. And he has the power to do it, with or without help from Congress.
Editorial: Knock down U.S. barriers to Cuba 01/30/14 [Last modified: Thursday, January 30, 2014 5:37pm]
Articulo:”Cuba, en busca de negocios en Florida”
La ciudad de Tampa multiplica los intercambios empresariales y deportivos con la isla mientras sigue con atención los tímidos acercamientos entre EE UU y La Habana
Editorial: Time to engage Cuba
Published: Friday, August 5, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 6:59 p.m

Cuba — a rigidly governed communist state — is changing more rapidly and progressively than the United States’ policy toward the Caribbean nation.
The signs of progress — including the Castro regime’s plan to privatize property this year — contrast with America’s frozen-in-time economic embargo and political isolation of Cuba.

The Foreign Affairs committee in the U.S. House recently attempted to further entrench American policy by approving HR 2583. That resolution calls on the Obama administration to reverse its modest move to allow some American tourists — accompanied by federally licensed tour guides — to legally travel to Cuba.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from South Florida and chairwoman of the committee, contends that this authorization of limited tourism to Cuba enriches and empowers the Castro regime.

American tourists do, indeed, spend money that winds up in the hands of Cuba’s government. But Cubans and their slowly expanding private sector also stand to gain from the spending and personal exchanges.

“It is important that the U.S. strengthen pressure against the Cuban regime,” said Ros-Lehtinen.

The long-tough stance against Cuba and tight economic embargo have failed to oust Fidel Castro and his family since 1959. The Cuban people have suffered the most from the embargo and contributed to an anti-American sentiment. Worse, the embargo has prevented Americans from forming economic partnerships with Cubans, whose emigrants to the United States have displayed a hearty entrepreneurial spirit.
As numerous media outlets have reported, Cuba — now led by President Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother — intends to begin selling state-owned residential property to Cubans by the end of this year. The New York Times reported this week that the government will likely place firm restrictions on property purchases — for example, limiting Cubans to one home or apartment and requiring full-time residency.

This change, according to many experts on Cuba, will be transformative. The planned privatization of some property follows other changes in Cuba, such as increases in self-employment and the legalization of cell-phone ownership.

Cuba has a long way to go toward developing its economy and the rule of law, and protecting human rights.

But it’s also apparent that the Cuban government is taking steps that Americans should encourage with policies that reward reform and progress.

Revoking the moderate tourism policy, as the House committee proposes, would represent a punitive step backward by the United States.

A better approach toward Cuba would entail a gradual lifting of the economic embargo and measured moves toward the establishment of normal diplomatic relationships. If the liberalization of Cuba’s private-property laws moves forward, that development could be — and should be — a trigger for easing the embargo and establishing political ties. Benchmarks, including the protection of private assets, could be created in order to promote additional progress.

There is work to do in Cuba: The supply of housing is inadequate; the existing stock is deteriorated. With sufficient protocols in place, these conditions could help generate jobs not only for Cubans but Americans. China and Venezuela have already made substantial economic and political investments in Cuba; the United States stands by.

What’s more, there are common interests to pursue. For example, Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory and Cuban scientists have identified mutual interests in research aimed at protecting the waters shared by the United States and Caribbean nations.

The United States should not change its hard-line policy to coddle the Castros. America should change its policy because Cuba is changing.




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