Letters to the Editor

Death knell will sound for U.S. embargo on Cuba

When the Herald editorialized in favor of keeping the U.S. embargo against Cuba and its government on July 31, Keep the Cuban trade embargo, some see it as pandering to its reader base.

I don’t.

Nor do I believe Hillary Clinton is saying the embargo must go out of any cold political/electoral calculation or that President Obama or anyone else is telling Cubans anywhere to “get over it.” I think we’re all mired in the consequences of not paying heed to one of those things we are supposed to learn in kindergarten: Two wrongs do not a right make.

The embargo policy has been wrong from its inception because it’s beneath the dignity and values that America stands for and it has been plainly unjust and unfair in its consequences.

This is made even worse by the fact that Cuba’s public position has always been that it is willing to talk about any and all issues, including the U.S.-certified claims resulting from the nationalization of American property half a century ago, provided those talks are conducted between equal sovereign nations, which is precisely what we are doing today.

Every other nation in the world can understand Cuba’s position as enunciated, which is why they vote the way they do every time the embargo comes up at the U.N. General Assembly.

What the rest of the world cannot possibly understand is the conditions resulting from the codification of the embargo when Bill Clinton was in the White House. It’s that codification of nonsense that is currently hampering our ability to move the chains on the re-established relationship with Cuba in a way that will enhance overall quality of life for the Cuban people.

Our lack of understanding of a country we’ve turned our backs on for half a century has resulted in a paucity of people — diplomats, academics, politicians, businesspeople — capable of understanding how things work in Cuba. We are left with the chorus of censure from the usual suspects that media parade as experts whenever Cuba makes the news. A couple of former undersecretaries of state for Latin America exemplify that obstacle, which they showcase when they substitute dogmatic anti-populist vitriol for any true knowledge of Cuba, which they don’t have.

The ultimate tool to make the embargo go away will be applied when both governments, sitting across the table of negotiations, begin to discuss the “certified claims.” It isn’t an issue that will be easily resolved, nor will it be resolved overnight.

But once that process starts, it will mean the death knell for the embargo.

José Manuel Pallì,

Coral Gables