The readers’ forum

Forget about embargo, new sanctions needed

 

It's time to face reality. The Cuba embargo has been maximized. For some, the embargo has become more important than the use of American economic pressure to break the regime. People emotionally invested with the embargo will howl, but it's time to let it go. In fact, it's time to be more aggressive in bringing down the communist regime.

The economic failure of the Castro regime is well documented. The dilapidated communist economy is the regime's greatest weakness, a totem to the failure of the revolution, and a glaring vulnerability with the people.

Whether life support now comes in the form of barrels of oil from Venezuela or the significant investments in the tourism and energy sectors undertaken by myriad companies from the Americas, Asia and Europe, Castro's Cuba is an economic basket case that would not survive very long unless the country's friends in the world continue to pump money into Cuba's historically unproductive communist economy.

This is a clearly unacceptable situation. While America promotes democracy and civil rights in faraway lands, just a few miles from our shore flourishes the only dictatorship in the Americas. By contrast, even as Fidel Castro continues to live the life of a semi-retired potentate, America has undertaken a massive, and by all reports, extremely effective sanctions campaign that is crippling the Iranian dictators.

So how can we apply our successful sanction stranglehold of Iran to Cuba? In concept, it's much simpler than one would think. Forget the 1960s era embargo; it has outlived its usefulness. Instead, the United States should sanction all companies that do business with the Cuban regime — Canadian, Spanish, and French companies, for example — and operate in Cuba thanks to European Union political and economic policies. They should have their trading privileges with the U.S. frozen until they pull out. This strategy is working in Iran; it should be even more effective in Cuba.

Banks that directly or indirectly process financial transactions for the Castro regime should be banned from operating in the American financial system. Foreign airlines that fly European and Latin American tourists to Cuba's foreign-owned hotels should be prohibited from landing in any U.S. airport.

By shutting off the Castros' access to foreign capital and services, we will severely destabilize the regime.

It's time to get serious about Cuba and freeing the Cuban people. We must abandon our failed policies and effectively crack down on the Castros with a new, robust approach.

Alberto Calderin, Miami

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