Friday, April 20, 2012

Punishing Cuba 50 Years On

With the media happily fixated on the sex scandal swirling around the U.S. Secret Service, the Sixth Summit of the Americas held in Cartagena, Colombia over the weekend was left to collapse with little notice. The inability of the some 30 heads of American states to even issue a final declaration on Sunday derived primarily from the growing regional frustration with U.S. Cuban policy.

It has now been over half a century since Fidel Castro led a successful armed, popular revolt against U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista. Washington, though, is long in forgetting those that openly challenge and defy U.S. power (witness U.S. policy towards Iran). Thus, the collective punishment of the Cuban people has long since been cemented as an unquestionable tenet of U.S. foreign policy—the longest and most foolhardy embargo in history remains.

However, with the rise of center-left governments through the Americas, coupled with the weakening of U.S. regional influence attributable to its imperial overstretch in the Middle East, a growing push-back against U.S. Cuban policy has finally begun to take hold. In 2009, for example, the Organization of American States (OAS) voted in defiance of the U.S. to lift its nearly 50-year membership ban on Cuba. (Cuba still refuses to seek entry in the OAS, claiming that the organization is a tool of U.S. imperialism.) Read More