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11/7/03 - THE U.S. EMBARGO OF CUBA - 2003-11-07

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution sponsored by the Communist regime of Fidel Castro calling for an end to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba. This U-N vote was misguided.

The U.S. embargo against Cuba was imposed in the early 1960s after the large-scale, illegal expropriation of U.S. properties for which the Castro regime offered no compensation. It has been kept in place for one purpose: to maintain pressure to restore freedom and democracy in Cuba. Unfortunately, the Castro regime has shown no interest in implementing economic and political reforms and continues to deny the Cuban people the most basic rights.

Cuba’s U-N resolution is an attempt to blame its economic woes on the U.S. and to divert attention from its abysmal human rights record. The embargo is not a blockade. It does not interfere with trade with other nations. It is the Castro regime's failed economic policies -- not the embargo -- that have impoverished Cubans and destroyed what once was one of the most advanced economies in the region.

The U.S. has offered to make changes in the embargo in exchange for reforms. Over a year ago, President George W. Bush challenged Castro to permit free elections, open Cuba’s economy, allow independent trade unions, and end discriminatory practices against Cuban workers. But, as Mr. Bush said, nothing has changed:

“Cuba's political prisoners are still subjected to beatings and solitary confinement and the denial of medical treatment. Elections in Cuba are still a sham. Opposition groups still organize and meet at their own peril. Private economic activity is still strangled. Non-government trade unions are still oppressed. Property rights are still ignored. And most goods and services produced in Cuba are still reserved for the political elites. Clearly, the Castro regime will not change by its own choice.”

After the U-N vote, Sichan Siv, U.S. Permanent Representative to the U-N Economic and Social Council, said Cuba will change:

“Cuba’s best day is when the Cuban people have terminated Castro’s evil Communist dictatorial regime and said to him, “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Millions of Cubans are looking forward to that day.