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rowan !
(romonster) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Cuban Embargo... on 02/12/2013 23:15:11 MST Print View

For the past day I've kept reading this as Cuben Embargo and thinking, "What? No more cuben fi... Oh. Never mind."

Edited by romonster on 02/12/2013 23:16:58 MST.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/13/2013 07:31:41 MST Print View

@ "Apparently the UN disagrees with you, as does the Cato Institute, of all organizations."

Wow. Big surprises, there. The general assembly of small and/or liberal nations who hate it when the US throws it's weight around say we should end the embargo, as does a libertarian free-trade organization. Shockers, both of them. :)

In the UN link you provided the only verbage in that motion that said anything about the negative effects on Cuba were quotes from Cuban officials. Note the US insistence that the Cuban regime's policies are really the cause for Cuban ills. Most of the attached statements by national representatives actually complain that the embargo is a violation of "the sovereign rights of states" and/or complain that it violates UN policy against unilateralism, and make at best token reference to Cuban complaints of suffering. (And some are just plain delusional, talking about how the Cubans "were establishing the foundations of a genuine democracy." Surely, you can't help but laugh at THAT one!)

The Cato Institute link you provided says absolutely nothing about the embargo's effectiveness- it's merely a rant for free trade and libertarianism. In fact it mostly talks about the economic losses to AMERICANS from the embargo. It also argues as I did- that we can effect more change by using our checkbooks. So, thanks for supporting my argument with that one!

On the other hand, for an idea about just how badly the Cuban government has f-ed up their nation, see:

http://www.state.gov/p/wha/ci/cu/14776.htm

For instance, yes, it's true that Cuba has the second lowest infant mortality in Latin America. But pre-revolution they had the first lowest... etc., etc.

I remain opposed to the embargo- not because it works, but rather because it does not (as even the US State Department admits). I say remove this source of excuse by the Castro regime and go in with our checkbooks blazing.

Edited by acrosome on 02/13/2013 16:34:08 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/13/2013 17:29:58 MST Print View

"Big surprises, there. The general assembly of small and/or liberal nations who hate it when the US throws it's weight around say we should end the embargo, as does a libertarian free-trade organization. Shockers, both of them. :)"

Note that the vote was 188-3 with 2 abstentions. That would suggest that a few non-small and/or non liberal nations also saw fit to express their displeasure. China, Russia, Germany, France, India, Canada, Australia, Uzbekistan(decidedly non liberal and just thrown in for laughs) come to mind. Check my math, but I believe that leaves 180 more of all sizes, shapes, and colors. In other words, doggone near the entire world. Wasn't is Jefferson who once admonished us to conduct ourselves with a decent respect for the opinions of mankind? World opinion seems nearly unanimous that the embargo has caused enormous harm to Cuba, implicit in their consenting to allow the Cuban Ambassador to speak to that and then signing the declaration.

" But pre-revolution they had the first lowest... etc., etc."

Cuba under Batista? Source?

"I say remove this source of excuse by the Castro regime and go in with our checkbooks blazing."

On this we agree. :)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Comparing Chinese and Cuban Diaspora on 02/13/2013 17:42:17 MST Print View

"Tom, my point is that Cuban-Americans themselves are the ones who support these restrictions"

No argument there, Ben. But those same restrictions apply to a lot of other potential American businesses and investors. Those Cuban Americans are the primary reason there is still an embargo, due to Florida being a electoral swing state.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Cuban embargo on 02/13/2013 17:44:21 MST Print View

"When will folks, including BPL posters, figure out that centralized control doesn't work?"

When will America start letting other countries figure that out for themselves?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Cuban embargo on 02/13/2013 17:57:05 MST Print View

"When will America start letting other countries figure that out for themselves?"

+1,000!! We Americans are the top dog in our own minds... and too many of us can't resist the arrogant urge to moralize everyone else. Imagine how angry we ourselves would be if the EU imposes an embargo on us -- just because, as an example, they view our death penalty as barbarous. Point is, we need to respect the right and freedom of different countries to build/ evolve their own societies -- as we demand that others respect our own...

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Cuban embargo on 02/13/2013 18:36:56 MST Print View

Tom, Ben, isn't more control from the Federal Government occurring in the US right now? Are policies pushing toward more centralized control, away from the individual states? I don't know specifically so this is why I am asking.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Cuban embargo on 02/13/2013 19:36:33 MST Print View

"Tom, Ben, isn't more control from the Federal Government occurring in the US right now? Are policies pushing toward more centralized control, away from the individual states? I don't know specifically so this is why I am asking."

David, We have always had a federal structure with a legal hierarchy where federal law, if deemed constitutional, takes precedence over state law. But, in addition, the increasing dependence of the states on federal money for things like school funding, infrastructure, etc has greatly increased federal leverage(control). More disturbing to me is the increasingly close cooperation between the federal security organs and those of the states and even municipalities. When combined with the growing technical sophistication of surveillance technology and computing, I fear for our civil liberties in the near future. My 2 cents.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/14/2013 10:21:59 MST Print View

@ "Cuba under Batista? Source?"

Check my link. I was polite enough to read yours. :)

That said, I will concede that this was probably more a function of just how bad things were elsewhere in Latin America in the 1950s rather than any degree of beneficence on the part of the Batista regime.

OK, I'm now going to initiate severe and dangerous thread drift. Pregnant women and those with weak stomachs should exit the thread...

But what the hell, right? We've already gone from alternate-lifestyle Boy Scouts to the Cuban embargo.

@ "More disturbing to me is the increasingly close cooperation between the federal security organs and those of the states and even municipalities."

So, if that disturbs you, do you have objections to state and lower municipalities reporting the diagnoses of mentally ill people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, for background checks on gun purchases? Many states refuse to report because they consider it a violation of HIPAA.

Personally I think that there are rights and there are RIGHTS, and that this is definitely a lower-case issue. Other people's right not to have a madman running around armed trumps HIPAA. But that's just my $0.02.

Edited by acrosome on 02/14/2013 10:40:05 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/14/2013 17:10:33 MST Print View

"Check my link. I was polite enough to read yours. :)"

You are absolutely correct, Cher Acrosome, and you have my humble apology for the slight. That said, the reason I didn't initially read your source is the source itself. The US State Department is hardly unbiased. With no aspersions cast on you, I have seldom seen a more self serving article than that in your link. But that is only to be expected from State, which was, after all, charged with justifying our support for the odious Batista dictatorship. Nary a mention of the impact of the embargo, or the incredible inequality of Cuban society under Batista, nor his human rights record. That Castro was able to bring down the regime with an initial group of 80 men, reduced to ~20 within 3 days after landing at Playa Las Coloradas on December 2, 1956, speaks to the conditions that prevailed in Cuba at the time. He had no outside support to speak of at the time, certainly not from the USSR.

But I digress; on to the good stuff.

"OK, I'm now going to initiate severe and dangerous thread drift. Pregnant women and those with weak stomachs should exit the thread..."

How could I resist such a teaser? ;0)


"@ "More disturbing to me is the increasingly close cooperation between the federal security organs and those of the states and even municipalities."

So, if that disturbs you, do you have objections to state and lower municipalities reporting the diagnoses of mentally ill people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, for background checks on gun purchases? Many states refuse to report because they consider it a violation of HIPAA.

Personally I think that there are rights and there are RIGHTS, and that this is definitely a lower-case issue. Other people's right not to have a madman running around armed trumps HIPAA. But that's just my $0.02."

I have no objection to that whatsoever, so long as the lower levels of government report a diagnosis of mentally ill in response to a specific inquiry by NICBCS. Blanket requests, likely used to build a database of mentally ill people is another issue entirely, and should rightly fall under HIPAA restrictio0ns, IMO. My main concern is related to multi level government surveillance of US citizens deemed to be terrorists without producing evidence in a court of law. It began under Dubya and, to my dismay, has been expanded under Obama. Under secret "legal opinions" ginned up by the Deprtment of Justice, not subject to judicial review for constitutionality, people can be deemed terrorists and incarcerated by the military with no access to a lawyer, habeas corpus, or the right to a trial by a jury of their peers. There is not even a FISA secret court to rubber stamp the proceedings. To have such a pernicious system extend downward to our local police departments is a frightening thing, at least to me. My 2 cents.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/21/2013 08:53:16 MST Print View

So... You're implying that the General Assembly and the Cato Institute lack bias? That's chutzpah! Really, if you wait for a totally unbiased source you will be waiting a LONG time, Brother. I mean, I'm pro-UN but who is unbiased? Venezuela?!? Not to mention that the proposition that the US Government in 2013 is still trying to justify supporting Batista back in 1956 is simply laughable. It's the Cuban expats driving this, which I guess to some extent I understand. After all, if Obama (or whoever) started a campaign to murder me and all of my family and friends thus forcing me to flee the country, then nationalized all of my property, all for the sake disguising his own power-grab behind a half-baked and failed ideology, I think I might hate him, too. Nonetheless it's about time they moved on.

I'll also point out that neither of your links provide any data at all about the "suffering" produced by the embargo beyond ridiculous made-up numbers which are clearly meant to be some sort of justification for a suit against the US in the future. Well, and Cato complaining about profits lost to Americans. Cuba's economy is screwed because they forbade any use of foreign currency (which REALLY messes up trade) and accrued massive debt all during the fat years of Soviet aide. Their economy simply does not function.

Actually, if State were to be biased I would expect them to claim that the embargo DOES have an effect. Else why continue it? THAT'S the lie I would expect from them, yet State keeps calling for an end to the embargo. As do I (a point that I'm not sure you're getting, here- I'm on your side). The paltry $60 per citizen per year that the embargo costs Cuba does NOT explain the massive degree to which their economy is screwed. Because it is MASSIVE.

Edited by acrosome on 02/21/2013 08:54:37 MST.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/21/2013 09:00:05 MST Print View

So, you have no objections to the Commonwealth of Virginia keeping a database of the dangerously mentally ill, but if the Feds had one it would upset you? I'm not sure that I understand that. But then, I have opinions on public health issues that would shock a lot of people, given that I tend libertarian on most social issues. So maybe I'm the extremist on this one.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/21/2013 09:17:05 MST Print View

Maybe Castro, brother, and expats have to die off to resolve this.

Sort of like homo-phobes and racists.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Give your feedback about the BSA policy on 02/21/2013 16:07:47 MST Print View

Here is the official email address.

feedback@scouting.org

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/21/2013 17:09:11 MST Print View

"So... You're implying that the General Assembly and the Cato Institute lack bias? That's chutzpah! Really, if you wait for a totally unbiased source you will be waiting a LONG time, Brother."

Again, the vote was 188-3, with 2 abstentions. This indicates that most, if not all, of our allies voted against our embargo of Cuba. If it were only the smaller nations of Africa, Latin America, and Asia, you might have a point worth arguing about, but this reflects the opinion of practically the entire world.

"Not to mention that the proposition that the US Government in 2013 is still trying to justify supporting Batista back in 1956 is simply laughable"

The report is a bit more circumspect than that. It merely points out what a glorious existence Cubans were enjoying under Batista. Now that IS laughable. Who would have thought the Foggy Bottom types had such a great sense of humor? In any case, the US Government, like all others, is loath to admit to past sins, for fear of them coming back to haunt them in the future, so no surprises there. Sort of like Allende in chile, Arbenz in Guatemala, Mossadeg in Iran, Lumumba in Congo, and on and on.....

"It's the Cuban expats driving this, which I guess to some extent I understand."

No argument about who is driving the bus and, like you, I understand. But do you support them?

"After all, if Obama (or whoever) started a campaign to murder me and all of my family and friends thus forcing me to flee the country, then nationalized all of my property, all for the sake disguising his own power-grab behind a half-baked and failed ideology, I think I might hate him, too. Nonetheless it's about time they moved on."

Again, I will refer you to the fact that Castro brought down Batista with an initial force of 20 survivors. How do you suppose he pulled that off. A power grab, to be sure. That is what revolutions are all about. Just like our own. That his has failed, is a complex matter beyond what we can usefully debate here, IMO, but the embargo certainly played a part in it. Whether our own much longer endures concerns me more, and its continued success is not a foregone conclusion, IMO. If it fails, we certainly will not be able to blame it on an embargo.

Time out break.

"I'll also point out that neither of your links provide any data at all about the "suffering" produced by the embargo beyond ridiculous made-up numbers which are clearly meant to be some sort of justification for a suit against the US in the future. Well, and Cato complaining about profits lost to Americans. Cuba's economy is screwed because they forbade any use of foreign currency (which REALLY messes up trade) and accrued massive debt all during the fat years of Soviet aide. Their economy simply does not function."

Again, the 188-3 vote. Apparently the entire rest of the world feels to the contrary, else why would they be calling for an end to the embargo. What are they missing?

"Actually, if State were to be biased I would expect them to claim that the embargo DOES have an effect."

It has already had it's effect, and the rising disgust of the rest of the world, at a time when our influence is already declining, has started to have an impact on our thinking. We are finding it increasingly difficult to ignore Jefferson's sage advice. Then there is the increasing pressure from commercial interests here for an end to restrictions on doing business with Cuba.

"Else why continue it?"

As you mentioned earlier, the Cuban Diaspora. Politics, pure and simple.


"yet State keeps calling for an end to the embargo."

I haven't come across anything from State calling for an end to the embargo but, if so, that is good news, a harbinger of welcome change to come. that said, I'll believe it when I see it.


"As do I (a point that I'm not sure you're getting, here- I'm on your side)."

I get that loud and clear. You and I may disagree on some things, but we also agree on a number of others. That is as it should be, and I wish more people could have this kind of discussion.

"The paltry $60 per citizen per year that the embargo costs Cuba does NOT explain the massive degree to which their economy is screwed. Because it is MASSIVE."

I have not seen any numbers in the past even close to that and, while I will not call BS on it simply because I don't want to spend a lot more time digging for sources to the contrary, I am inclined to be skeptical. Again, that troubling 188-3 vote. Why would all our allies and "friends" risk our displeasure over a paltry $60.

Edited by ouzel on 02/21/2013 17:31:29 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/21/2013 17:39:38 MST Print View

"So, you have no objections to the Commonwealth of Virginia keeping a database of the dangerously mentally ill, but if the Feds had one it would upset you? I'm not sure that I understand that."

Actually, I'd prefer the information be collected and maintained by a non state actor, either an insurance consortium or perhaps the state medical associations, subject to full HIPA protections except for access on a case by case basis for things like background checks before purchasing a weapon. I don't know if that is politically workable, but I sure would be a lot more comfortable with something like that. I just don't trust our increasingly intrusive governments with that kind of knowledge on a broad level.

"But then, I have opinions on public health issues that would shock a lot of people, given that I tend libertarian on most social issues."

I'd be most interested in hearing them as the occasions arise. I don't shock easily.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/22/2013 00:08:26 MST Print View

Actually, I'd prefer the information be collected and maintained by a non state actor, .... I just don't trust our increasingly intrusive governments with that kind of knowledge on a broad level.

Man! Has this thread drifted! But since we're already there ...

Had the interesting experience of backpacking with two people of very different political positions last year, both mad as Hades over health information privacy issues ... one fearing the government and the other fearing corporations.

Me? I think they're both right! I also think the idea of a benevolent non-state actor is a pipe dream.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/22/2013 09:03:53 MST Print View

"both mad as Hades over health information privacy issues"

But, the key to reducing health care costs is to keep statistics on what's effective. Make sure people are getting the effective treatments and quit wasting money on ineffective treatments.

Health care costs keep increasing, now a signigicant fraction of economy, "bankrupting" Medicare and also private companies, local governments, and individuals.

If we all don't have to worry that our health care will be cut off because some evil corporation has our data, then it won't matter.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/22/2013 09:51:47 MST Print View

@ "I have not seen any numbers in the past even close to that and, while I will not call BS on it simply because I don't want to spend a lot more time digging for sources to the contrary, I am inclined to be skeptical."

Well, that sort of is BS, in fact- it was just back-of-the envelope math. Since I've been reading up on it for this discussion most sources are quoting $600-700 million (today's dollars) per annum effect on the Cuban economy. Well, except for the clearly delusional, like Venezuela, and Cuba itself. Cuba officially has a bit over 11 million citizens... some long division... Ta-da.

And, mind you that's $600-700 million in losses to a nation whose GDP is around $110 Billion (with a b). The embargo means almost nothing- about 1/2%.

@ "Again, the 188-3 vote. Apparently the entire rest of the world feels to the contrary, else why would they be calling for an end to the embargo. What are they missing?"

Oh, that's droll. I've addressed this. They didn't miss anything- they merely detest US unilateralism. Their statements pay lip service to the plight of the Cubans but really they are just rants for the sovereignty of states, against unilateralism, etc. (I read them!) But, I mean, c'mon. Syria doesn't care about its own citizens let alone some starving Cubans. That's farcical. The European nations in particular hate that they didn't get a vote regarding this US action.

Which, again, I guess I don't blame them- it sucks when the big kid throws his weight around on the playground. I have my problems with unilateral US action, too. It may be needed for immediate righteous retaliation, or oftentimes, yes, it's needed so that a response can be timely, but you can't exactly claim either of those of a 50-year embargo, eh?

Well, the embargo will end with the Castros and the older expats die, I guess. And in the meanwhile the plight Of the Cubans is the fault of their own government, not the embargo.

One thing that does annoy me about the embargo is that I'm not sure if we've ever actually made any demands of the government of Cuba. I.e. I'm not sure if we've ever told them what actions they could take that might predispose us to easing the embargo. The US hoots a lot about the plight of dissidents- which granted is a serious issue in Cuba- but, hell, we even managed to tell Saddam what we expected of him before we'd lift his embargo...

@ "I haven't come across anything from State calling for an end to the embargo"

Really? I could have sworn that it was a recommendation they made, once. Maybe I'm thinking of another agency. I'll research...

@ "The report is a bit more circumspect than that. It merely points out what a glorious existence Cubans were enjoying under Batista."

Well, clearly, yes, it is being very circumspect- it was so circumspect that you missed the point, because that isn't what it is saying at all. It says nothing about what life was like under Batista. It just points out that many ECONOMIC indicators have taken nose-dives since the revolution. Hell, I certainly wouldn't want to live under Batista- any more than Castro. :) That report challenges some of my own assumptions, too- for instance I had always thought that Cuba was basically owned by the US sugar industry, but it turns out that the industry was in the midst of disengagement. At it's height US companies controlled 90% of Cuban sugar production, but by the revolution US companies only owned 40 of 161 mills (I think?). Personally, I think that they merely saw that SOMETHING bad was about to go down... And you can thank collectivisation for the starving Cubans, not the US embargo- Cubans ate much better pre-revolution than they do today, and though Batista certainly oppressed them I would propose that they were no more oppressed than they are today, albeit in different ways.

@ "Again, I will refer you to the fact that Castro brought down Batista with an initial force of 20 survivors."

Again, I'm ignoring that statement, because it's pointless. Unless you are trying to portray la Revolucion in some sort of romantic light, that is. All revolutions start small and grow, as did Castro's. Surely you're not going to claim that 1950s Cuba under the dictator Batista wasn't a fertile ground for revolution?

And, while I'm thinking of it, I have to ask-

There are a LOT of failed economies throughout the world and the US trades with all of them. Clearly, US trade isn't helping them. Why are you assuming that a US embargo is the cause of Cuba's ills, rather than that it is just another f-ed up economy? There really aren't many places where communism is WORKING, after all- and, no, China doesn't count. I'm not sure what China is any more, but it isn't communist.

Your biggest argument- the US resolution- is political, not economic.

Edited by acrosome on 02/22/2013 13:42:07 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuban Embargo on 02/22/2013 20:42:34 MST Print View

"And, mind you that's $600-700 million in losses to a nation whose GDP is around $110 Billion (with a b)."

Would you mind sharing your sources? I'm having a hard time finding what I would call reliable data.

"The embargo means almost nothing- about 1/2%."

The data I have found, however, is troubling to me, and I should think it would be even more troubling to you, a physician.

And, mind you that's $600-700 million in losses to a nation whose GDP is around $110 Billion (with a b). The embargo means almost nothing- about 1/2%.

From The American Journal of Public Health

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1380757/

From The American college of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine

http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Effect_of_the_U.S._Embargo_and_Economic_Decline_on_Health_in_Cuba.pdf

From Amnesty International, sourcing data from a number of UN sources and the WHO, all irredeemably biased I'm sure ;0)

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR25/007/2009/en/51469f8b-73f8-47a2-a5bd-f839adf50488/amr250072009eng.pdf

If you read these, I think you might realize that it is not quite so simple as monetary impact on Cuba. The Torricelli Act of 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act of 1996, by all accounts I have read, caused enormous suffering among children in particular. The Cuban embargo bears an errie resemblance to that imposed on Iraq, although the impact in Iraq was far worse, where the FAO estimated that over 500,000 Iraqi children perished from the sanctions. This was confirmed by Madeline Albright in her infamous interview on 60 minutes where she confirmed the number and said she thought it was worth it to try to bring down Saddam, a statement she later tried to retract. Interesting that both policies were pursued under the same aministration.

"Oh, that's droll. I've addressed this. They didn't miss anything- they merely detest US unilateralism. Their statements pay lip service to the plight of the Cubans but really they are just rants for the sovereignty of states, against unilateralism, etc. (I read them!)"

Do you really believe that? That they would go against the most powerful nation on earth merely to rant against unilateralism and schoolyard bullying? I have no response other than to propose that perhaps leaders and peoples elsewhere, having tasted economic suffering themselves in recent memory, may be slightly more empathetic to the suffering of others.

"But, I mean, c'mon. Syria doesn't care about its own citizens let alone some starving Cubans. That's farcical."

Syria has a different set of grievances against us, and additional reasons for opposing darn near anything we do, but the Syrian people definitely empathize with the plight of the Cubans, or at least did when I was over there. I doubt that has changed in the intervening years.

"I have my problems with unilateral US action, too. It may be needed for immediate righteous retaliation, or oftentimes, yes, it's needed so that a response can be timely, but you can't exactly claim either of those of a 50-year embargo, eh?"

On this we agree.

"Well, the embargo will end with the Castros and the older expats die, I guess. And in the meanwhile the plight Of the Cubans is the fault of their own government, not the embargo."

See my above links as to at least part of the fault.

"One thing that does annoy me about the embargo is that I'm not sure if we've ever actually made any demands of the government of Cuba. I.e. I'm not sure if we've ever told them what actions they could take that might predispose us to easing the embargo."

Our requirements for lifting the embargo are laid out in either the Torricelli or Helms-Burton Acts, can't remember which offhand. You can find it in the Amnesty International link if you're interested.

"The US hoots a lot about the plight of dissidents- which granted is a serious issue in Cuba- but, hell, we even managed to tell Saddam what we expected of him before we'd lift his embargo..."

And yet our silence on the plight of the dissidents in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia,et al is deafening. The hypocrisy is nauseating.

"Really? I could have sworn that it was a recommendation they made, once. Maybe I'm thinking of another agency. I'll research..."

I'll be interested in your results.

"Well, clearly, yes, it is being very circumspect- it was so circumspect that you missed the point, because that isn't what it is saying at all. It says nothing about what life was like under Batista."

The were implications in their statement about Cuba having the best health care in Latin America, etc. You're right, I missed the point.

"It just points out that many ECONOMIC indicators have taken nose-dives since the revolution. Personally, I think that they merely saw that SOMETHING bad was about to go down..."

A natural after effect of a revolution. The Castros were not technocrats and most of those who were fled because they were part and parcel of an exploitive system that led to something bad going down.
I will alway wonder how things would have turned out if we had, as you suggested, gone in with checkbooks blazing.

"And you can thank collectivisation for the starving Cubans, not the US embargo- Cubans ate much better pre-revolution than they do today, and though Batista certainly oppressed them I would propose that they were no more oppressed than they are today, albeit in different ways."

I am not here to defend the Cuban economic system, contrary to what you may think. My beef is with our reaction to the revolution and the suffering it caused to the innocent. Again, refer to my links, above.

"Again, I'm ignoring that statement, because it's pointless. Unless you are trying to portray la Revolucion in some sort of romantic light, that is. All revolutions start small and grow, as did Castro's. Surely you're not going to claim that 1950s Cuba under the dictator Batista wasn't a fertile ground for revolution?"

That is precisely my point, and I made it in response to the State Department document you linked to.
Circumspect is one way to describe it, deceptive might be even better. I don't see revolutions in a romantic light at all. They are always messy, bloody affairs, undertaken and supported only in desperation, as was certainly the case in Cuba. The best health care in Latin America? For who? Certainly not the campesinos who risked all to support Castro.

"And, while I'm thinking of it, I have to ask-

There are a LOT of failed economies throughout the world and the US trades with all of them. Clearly, US trade isn't helping them. Why are you assuming that a US embargo is the cause of Cuba's ills, rather than that it is just another f-ed up economy? There really aren't many places where communism is WORKING, after all- and, no, China doesn't count. I'm not sure what China is any more, but it isn't communist."

As I said above, I am not defending the Castro economic system. Rather I am criticizing our response to his takeover as immoral, and just plain bad foreign policy. It has badly tarnished our image worlswide, as can be seen in a succession of general Assembly votes that have left us isolated and damaged our moral authority. In combination with similar actions throughout Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, we are increasingly left with only brute force as an option for advancing our foreign policy goals. This is not a good position to be in, as we are in the process of discovering. As for Communism working, probably not. It is an idea the human race is not ready for, and may never be. However, I am a firm believer in letting different nations find that out for themselves.

"Your biggest argument- the US resolution- is political, not economic."

It is not a black and white question for me. There has definitely been an economic impact, but I have not seen any data that pins down precisely how much. What has been the impact of Torricelli and Helms-Burton in discouraging other countries companies from dealing with Cuba? I don't know, and I haven't seen any data quantifying it.There has definitely been an impact on health care in Cuba, as I think the data I linked to above proves pretty conclusively. What is the follow on economic impact of that? I don't know, but it has to be substantial. My Argument, therefore is both, and also has a moral dimension. Interfering with access to health care for the most vulnerable vulnerable in a society in criminal, and I suspect that is a major reason our allies vote against us every time the subject of the embargo comes up in the General Assmebly.

Edited by ouzel on 02/22/2013 21:29:41 MST.