End the US-Cuba embargo: It's a win-win
Normalizing ties would be smart policy and politics.
(Page 2 of 2)
For its part, by ending the embargo, the US simultaneously gains security through stability in Cuba. More important, by investing in the future prototype for emerging markets – a 42,803-square-mile green energy and technology lab called Cuba – America gains a dedicated partner in the search for energy independence.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Finally, a key component of renewing relations is ending illicit emigration. At issue is the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, amended in 1995. It encourages disaffected Cubans to risk their lives for the reward of an expedited path to US citizenship upon reaching American soil. They also receive immediate access to a work permit and the ability to acquire residency in one year. A 2002 article from The Miami Herald reported that 1 in 20 Cubans being smuggled to the shores of the United States dies in the attempt. Meanwhile, smugglers collect up to $10,000 a person.
Retiring the "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy and normalizing immigration laws could stop the Cuban brain drain, end charges of a US immigration double standard, and save hundreds of millions of dollars for the US taxpayers who must fund four different agencies to implement this policy.
Supporters of the embargo say it serves as an important symbolic protest of Cuba's deplorable human rights record and its lack of political, civil, and economic freedoms. Yet constructive engagement with the reform-ready regime of Mr. Castro – utilizing a framework based on mutual economic interests similar to US-China relations – could give observers more cause for optimism. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's willingness to speak openly with Newsweek/CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria last month about democratization is evidence of progress.
While phasing out the Cuban embargo won't render a quick solution to fractured US-Cuba relations or end the evaporation of esteem the US is suffering throughout Latin America, it would mark a significant achievement of hemispheric leadership on a divisive issue. By ending the embargo, the US may learn that under the right circumstances, the soft power of diplomacy proves more effective in reshaping America's perception in Latin America than the hard power of economic isolation ever did.