The Senseless Embargo

Conditions appear to be changing for the better. A change in U.S. public opinion and reforms in the Cuban regime would make the ending of the more than 50-year-old embargo possible, which would give way to a reopening of diplomatic relations between the two countries. That is the opinion of the influential newspaper The New York Times, which, in an editorial, asked to “dismantle the senseless embargo.”

Calling for a radical change of direction in Washington’s policy toward the island is not new. In fact, President Santos did the same thing during a forum on Sept. 23 at Harvard University. “I have faith that the United States and Cuba can form a working relationship that allows the United States to lift the embargo, that from my point of view has failed,” he said.

Now, the interests of business groups that want to invest in Cuba; the signs that suggest that Raul Castro’s government is preparing its country for a post-embargo era, and the reality that shows that the blockade has only served to consolidate the Castro-communism model — and has allowed Russia and China to penetrate Washington’s zone of influence — give wings to this rethinking requested of President Obama by different forces.

In Havana, no political changes are projected. So, American and Cuban American entrepreneurs wonder: Why not take advantage of the business windows being opened by Raul’s regime? Areas as valuable as the telecommunications industry could be a huge business opportunity. Besides, it would be easier for Washington to influence political changes on the island from within, rather than out of hostility. And it could improve its relations with Latin America.

Obama promised dialogue with his long-standing rivals, and Hillary Clinton — who is emerging as the Democratic candidate for the next presidential election — has talked favorably of a change in policies, which would make the president not appear contradictory. And at the low ebb of his popularity and with so many open international conflicts, breaking the embargo would give a new Caribbean air to his mandate. The Summit of the Americas in Panama in April, to which Cuba was invited, could be the first big step.

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