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In the name of humanity, the embargo must end

Still Meddling After All These Years
by Sheldon Richman

American presidents have long regarded Latin America as their “backyard.” The Monroe Doctrine warned the European powers to stay out — by what right? — and since then American chief executives have deemed it entirely proper to intervene when things did not go as they liked.

Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Panama, Cuba — all were scenes of U.S. covert and sometimes overt intervention. Some of this activity predated the Cold War, so the Soviet Union did not always provide the excuse for U.S. involvement in the region.

Things have changed little today. The methods may differ, but the thrust of the policy endures. The newspapers furnish the evidence daily.

Cuba, for instance, has been much in the news. For nearly 50 years the U.S. government has maintained an embargo on commercial relations with the communist island-nation. During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama’s tone suggested a change in policy, but once he was elected, the change was negligible. In a gesture toward liberalization, Obama has lifted travel and financial restrictions on Cuban-Americans with family in Cuba (but not on Americans without family there). Still in place, though, is the embargo. That won’t change, the administration says, until Cuba’s communist regime shows a willingness to change. “Over the past two years,” Obama said, “I have indicated — and I repeat today — that I am prepared to have my administration engage with the Cuban government on a wide range of issues — from human rights, free speech, and democratic reform to drugs, migration, and economic issues.”

His chief economic advisor, Larry Summers, says free trade between Americans and Cubans is “way down the road.... [It’s] going to depend on what Cuba ... does going forward.”

In other words, the Obama regime is continuing the long-standing American policy of meddling in the affairs of other countries, not to mention in the business of Americans. Where does Obama get the moral right to say when Cubans and Americans may trade and on what terms?

American hegemony lives. This is change we can believe in?

Continue reading: http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0907b.asp



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