Cuban policies, not US, at fault for Cuban woes
In her July 6 opinion piece, "Bush aims weapons of malnutrition at Cuba," Sara Stephens, director of the Freedom to Travel Campaign, describes the latest measures introduced by the Bush administration to restrict Cuban exiles' remittances and travel to Cuba as a weapon of malnutrition, laying blame for the worsening hunger in Cuba on the Bush administration. She suggests that the United States should instead lift the restrictions on contacts between the Cuban and American peoples.
Regrettably, Cuban exiles are partially to blame for the economic support given to the Cuban government through remittances and travel. To reduce these will certainly have a dire economic and political effect on the Cuban dictatorship; the dictatorship needs exile cash to sustain itself.
The only weapons of malnourishment have been those of the recalcitrant Cuban government, for imposing a failed Marxist system on its people. If there is hunger, despair, and desperation, it is because of the inhumane political and economic system in Cuba today.
The international embargo against South Africa forced the apartheid regime to open up because of the lack of cash and investments. These measures introduced by the Bush administration, as harsh as they are for the people of Cuba, are the correct ones to restore democracy and freedom in Cuba.
Robert A. Vieites
By allowing dollars to flow into Cuba, don't we, in fact, subsidize the Cuban regime? By providing a safety valve in the form of money from abroad, aren't we enabling Castro to remain in power by reducing the likelihood that Cubans would revolt? A core tenet of economics is that you get more of what you subsidize, and less of what you tax. I would be in favor of restricting all travel and aid to Cuba.
San Jose, Calif.
Your July 1 editorial, "Flying Down to Havana," includes the statement, "The White House rightly resists efforts in Congress to lift the decades-long embargo on commerce with Cuba, especially in light of Castro's suppression of political dissidents." How are political dissidents treated in China or Saudi Arabia? Let's be honest. Because of domestic political considerations, we have singled out Cuba for "special" treatment. Our decades-long policies toward Cuba have only caused untold harm to the people of Cuba. We need to embrace them, not exclude them.
Regarding your June 30 article "Ruling Makes it Harder for Foreigners to Sue in US Courts": Rebuffing efforts by the Bush administration and business associations, the Supreme Court recently upheld the core principles of the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA). Rather than viewing the decision as a "setback for international human rights activists" and a "victory for US-based corporations," the decision should be seen as a victory for victims of human rights abuses seeking justice in US courts.
The Supreme Court ruled that the ATCA still allows foreign victims of serious human rights violations - including torture, genocide, and slavery - to sue individuals or companies involved in the abuses.
US multinationals have an important role to play abroad in upholding international standards through developing and implementing comprehensive global human rights policies for businesses. No US company should behave worse abroad than it does at home.
Director, Business, Environment and Human Rights Program,
Amnesty International USA
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