Cubans Rose Up. America Should Step Up.
After thousands of Cubans poured into the streets in early July to protest the island nation’s Communist government, President Joe Biden said America “stands firmly” with the people of Cuba.
The demonstrations were prompted by short-term shortages of food and COVID-19 vaccines, as well as long-term dissatisfaction with the hardships created by Cuba’s strict economic controls. Protesters clashed with Cuban police, and the government cracked down on the island’s already-limited internet access in order to quell the uprisings that were organized spontaneously over social media.
Biden’s words of support for the protesters—some of whom waved American flags as they demanded “libertad“—are nice. Actions would be better. And there is plenty the U.S. could, and should, do to aid Cubans in their fight against authoritarian communism.
For starters, Congress could lift the 59-year-old U.S. trade embargo against the island country.
Some leftists blame the embargo for impoverishing Cuba, but this is misdirection. Communism has destroyed Cuba’s once-prosperous economy. Still, the trade embargo, in place since 1962, has plainly failed to accomplish its primary goal of toppling the Cuban regime. If anything, it has helped to strengthen it by giving former President Fidel Castro and his successors a way to deflect blame for communism’s failures—a strategy that Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel also deployed during the initial wave of protests in July.
From America’s perspective, what has the embargo accomplished? That it remains in place
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