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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

America the Bully

Mr. Douglas Starr thinks American is behaving like a bully with Cuba:

Eager to curry the Miami extremist vote, the administration has eliminated all "people-to-people" cultural exchanges and university-related educational travel. Customs agents at airports in Canada, Mexico, and other third-country way stations have been alerted to nab any American tourists who might try to end-run the travel restrictions. The enforcement branch of the Treasury Department has beefed up its anti-Cuba surveillance, devoting 21 full-time employees to enforcing the Cuban embargo and travel ban. Only four track the finances of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

I'm no fan of the embargo especially because it limits Americans' freedom to travel and makes us look like hypocrites when we talk about free trade. However, I am concerned that liberalization of trade with Cuba will strengthen a totalitarian regime as has happened in China. Despite those concerns, I think the lifting of the embargo is long overdue. It should end instead of getting stricter.

The President's latest policy announcement is even angering some of his Cuban American supporters:

President Bush's new Cuban sanctions policy creates more hardship for Cuban Americans, his voting constituency, than to the Cuban government and opens itself up to serious discriminatory legal actions, aside from loss of votes.

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