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Some Questions for Time Magazine re Cuba

Time Magazine just ran an article on U.S.-Cuba relations which employs the word embargo (as in big, bad bully U.S. against innocent little free-health-care provider Castro) eight times. The term travel ban figures in the article’s very title.

Question 1. What embargo? Webster’s defines “embargo” as “a government order imposing a trade barrier.” As a verb it’s defined as “to prevent commerce.”

embargo caricature

And yet: according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce (that you’d hope Time could dig up) the U.S. transacted $710 million worth of business with Castro’s Cuba in 2008, and has transacted more than $2 billion worth of business with Castro’s Cuba in the last decade. Currently the U.S. serves as Castro’s Cuba’s biggest food supplier and fifth biggest import partner. Furthermore, the U.S. has been Castro’s Cuba’s biggest donor of humanitarian aid including medicine and medical supplies for decades. All this together with the almost $2 billion a year in remittances sent from the U.S. ranks our nation right between Red China and Hugo’s Venezuela as a Castro business partner.

Question 2. What Travel Ban? The term seems pretty self-explanatory, right?

Well, last year Castro’s Cuba received 200,000 visitors from the U.S.–.legally. Global Travel Industry News (a source probably delighted to indulge any Time magazine query) reports that another 200,000 Americans visited Castro’s fiefdom illegally.

And remember during the 1950’s Cuba was a “playground” for American tourists who inundated the island, right? Of course. We learned this from that famous documentary on Cuba, The Godfather. (No doubt a major source for Time magazine.)

[youtube fEMYLkpYxX8&feature nolink]

Well, according to figures from Cuba’s Banco Nacional, during the 1950’s an average of 185, 000 Americans visited Cuba annually.

Let’s step back for a second and consult our calculators:

  • Cuba while enjoying status as “tourist playground,” especially for Americans–185,000 U.S. tourists, another 20 to 30 thousand from Canada and Europe.
  • Cuba while suffering a crushing “U.S. blockade/embargo”– 400,000 U.S. tourists along with 2.2 million Canadian and European tourists annually., while the U.S. serves as her second biggest trading partner, including remittances.

Time chants that the “embargo has utterly failed to dislodge the Castro regime.”

Question 3. Who said that was the “embargo’s” purpose?

Here’s an excerpt from the speech Secretary of State Dean Rusk gave to the Organization of American States at Punta del Este Uruguay on January, 21, 1962 initiating the sanctions against Cuba. “The United States objects to Cuba’s activities and policies in the international arena not its internal system or arrangements.” Note that here is not a single word-or even an inference-that the “embargo’s” goal was to “dislodge Castro. Indeed, Secretary Rusk went out of his way to stress that this was not the embargo’s purpose. Time‘s crackerjack “crusaders for the truth!” (the Columbia School of Journalism’s term for its students) should be able to dig up this speech. No painstaking Freedom of Information application is required, I assure you, Time magazine.

In fact, few U.S. foreign policy measures have been as phenomenally successful as our limited sanctions against the Stalinist robber-barons who run Castro’s regime. First off, for the course of three decades the Soviet Union was forced to pump the equivalent of almost ten Marshall Plans into Cuba. This cannot have helped the Soviet Union’s precarious solvency or lengthened her life span.

Secondly, the U.S. taxpayer has been spared the fleecing visited upon many others who reside in nations who eschew “embargoing” Cuba. To wit:

Nowadays the so-called U.S. embargo merely stipulates that the Castro regime pay cash up front through a third-party bank for all U.S. agricultural products; no Ex-Im (U.S. taxpayer) financing of such sales. Enacted by the Bush team in 2001 this cash-up-front policy has kept the U.S. taxpayer among the few in the world not screwed and tattooed by Fidel Castro.

sloppy-joes-havana-world-crossroad

Here’s a few items regarding the so-called embargo studiously side-stepped by much of the MSM:

Per-capita-wise, Cuba qualifies as the world’s biggest debtor nation with a foreign debt of close to $50 billion, a credit -rating nudging Somalia’s, and an uninterrupted record of defaults. In 2007 one of the world’s most respected economic forecasting firms, the London- based Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked Cuba as virtually the world’s worst country business-wise. Only Iran and Angola ranked lower. This firm predicted that Cuba’s abysmal business climate would remain that way for the next five years, at the very least.

Standard & Poors refuses even to rate Cuba, regarding the economic figures released by the regime as utterly bogus.

In 1986 Cuba defaulted on most of its foreign debt to Europe. Three years ago France’s version of the U.S. government’s Export- Import Bank (named COFACE) cut off Cuba’s credit line. Mexico’s Bancomex quickly followed suit. This came about because the Castro regime stuck it to French taxpayers for $175 million and to Mexican taxpayers for $365 million. Bancomex was forced to impound Cuban assets in three different countries in an attempt to recoup its losses.

The anti-“embargo” mantra also stresses that a flood of rich Western tourists will magically smother Cuban Stalinism, whereupon the island nation will quickly mutate into a bigger (and more historic and picturesque) Cozumel. This reasoning seems to go something like this: Rewarding and enriching the KGB-trained and heavily armed guardians of Cuba’s Stalinist status-quo will magically convert them into instant opponents of that Stalinist status quo.

As two decades of such tourism have amply proven, any trickle of foreign currency that reaches the Stalinist regime’s subjects (primarily from prostitution) is offset a thousand-fold by the millions ($2.4 billion last year, for instance) crammed into the regime’s military and secret-police coffers.

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