Saturday :: Jul 19, 2008

End The Embargo. Period.

by Turkana

Writing about Cuba, Joe Conason gets it partially right:

There are many smart reasons to reconsider U.S. policy toward the communist island, not least of which is that the embargo has accomplished almost nothing over the past five decades, except to solidify the Castro regime. It has also caused considerable and needless suffering for the innocent Cuban population, while attracting votes and money from the hard-line exile leadership in South Florida. But measured according to the presumed objectives of removing or even influencing the regime, it has failed completely.

Which is obvious to anyone. Except, of course, John McCain. Barack Obama's intentions are a bit unclear. But Conason makes a needless leap into the questionable, when he writes the following:

Now there is at least one more incentive to change course. With its huge potential for producing clean, renewable, sugar-based ethanol, Cuba represents a significant source of energy that will remain unavailable to American consumers unless we undo the embargo. Agricultural experts have estimated that Cuba could eventually provide more than 3 billion gallons of fuel annually, perhaps even more when new technologies for extracting energy from sugar cane waste (known as "bagasse") come online -- placing the island third in world ethanol production, behind the U.S. and Brazil. Given the relatively small demand for auto fuel in Cuba, nearly all of that ethanol would be available for export to its nearest neighbor.

Let's just say that ethanol as potential solution for our energy and environmental crises needs a bit more study. It's unnecessary to attempt to use those crises as a further rationale for radically changing our Cuba policy. As Conason himself continues:

The silly hypocrisy of our Cuba policy -- especially contrasted to our close commercial and financial ties with Saudi Arabia, China and similarly execrable governments -- has been obvious for many, many years. We have done the Cubans and ourselves no favors by refusing to engage their government, as nearly every other country in the world already does.

That's reason enough. Let's leave the ethanol debate aside. We need to end the Cuba embargo because it has been, on every level, a failure. That's as clean a rationale as is possible.

Turkana :: 9:54 AM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!