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Who is Isolated?

John Dolva

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Havana. March 22, 2012

Who is isolated?

Manuel E. Yepe

IT is well-known that the majority of U.S. citizens favor more friendly relations with Cuba, despite the venom they have been fed by the mass media for more than 50 years. Opinion polls consistently show this.

The enormous anti-Cuban disinformation apparatus ensures that few people in the United States know that every year practically all of the world’s governments vote for a United Nations resolution calling for an end to the blockade.

Many ask why the economic and commercial blockade is imposed on a neighboring country and what good it does the super-power to restrict travel by its citizens to Cuba.

Unfortunately not all of those who think the blockade should be lifted base their views on the fact that this policy violates fundamental principles of human coexistence and international law. As a result of anti-Cuban propaganda, many only consider the issue in light of U.S. interests or, at best, humanitarian concerns.

John Layfield, an entrepreneur who broadcasts his own radio program on the Internet, wrote March 9 for Fox Business, "Our Cuban policy is the perfect definition of insanity - doing the same thing time after time but somehow expecting different results… What is it about Cuba that makes it impossible for us to make decent decisions? … We make decisions we know are wrong, simply for political reasons."

There is no question that the disinformation campaign directed against Cuba is responsible for the fact that millions of U.S. citizens continue believing that Cuba faces isolation within the world community - something the United States has not been able to impose – unaware that it is, in fact, the U.S. policy which is increasingly isolated internationally.

Do U.S. citizens know that almost every year, practically all of the 190 countries voting in the UN General Assembly - with the sole exception of the United States and Israel - support a resolution condemning the blockade of Cuba?

Over the more than 50 years of their existence, the economic and commercial blockade, as well as the travel ban, have been temporarily eased depending on the relationship of forces facing whatever President was in office. The unalterable core of the policy has however remained fixed, as if dictated by a super-government which no one has elected.

Thus since 2001, given the efforts of a strong Congressional agriculture lobby, and the support of humanitarian organizations who emphasize the denial of food and medicines to the Cuban population, the U.S. government has allowed sales of agricultural products to the country, following a complicated bureaucratic process, totally unheard-of in normal commercial relationships.

Cuba cannot sell any exports in the U.S. and must pay for its purchases in cash, in advance, no credit allowed – far removed from the norm in true trade relations. Cuba is the only country in the world to which travel by U.S. citizens is restricted – by their own government. They can travel to countries with whom the U.S. has, or has had, major conflicts, such as Vietnam, China, North Korea, Iran or Myanmar, if they have a visa from these nations, of course.

Perhaps because an outright prohibition violates Constitutional rights, all of the administrations which have dealt with the issue have been willing to allow certain exceptions, some flexibility. On more than a few occasions, they have done so arguing that contact between individual citizens from the two countries would contribute to the erosion of the political system chosen by the Cuban people, allowing them, through the visitors, a glimpse of the benefits of capitalism, in order to diminish their appreciation of the gains made possible by socialism in Cuba. Of course, if the U.S. government consistently took this approach, all of the travel restrictions would be eliminated, allowing for a free exchange of ideas and a comparison of the two economic systems.

In Cuba there has never been any doubt as to the outcome of such a comparison and the government here has always sought friendly relations with the people of the United States and a respectful relationship, based on equality, with the government.

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topic title correction : whi is who

Edited by Tom Scully
'Whi" in thread title edited to display as "Who".
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