The Post called for the United States to maintain its trade embargo until the Cuban regime “grants genuine freedom to its people” [“Truth and freedom in Cuba,” editorial, Oct. 21]. But trade is not a “concession” to the Cuban government only if it enacts internal political reforms to our liking. The United States has lost leverage through the economic presence and influence we might have had while providing the Castro brothers a convenient scapegoat.
Is Cuba’s human rights record, while certainly poor, somehow more egregious than the practices of some other nations with whom the United States has normal relations? This has damaged our global credibility, particularly in Latin America.
The Cuban embargo is really about domestic politics, not foreign policy.
Mark Lore, Winchester, Va.
The editorial board wrote that the United States should not end the trade embargo against Cuba until that country grants “genuine freedom to its people.” That is what might be called an all-or-nothing approach. The Post acknowledged that “Cuba has toyed with economic liberalization and lifted travel restrictions for some” but said the persecution of dissidents continues. There is some truth to that, and many would agree with some of The Post’s other reservations.
I was a friend of Oswaldo Payá. I would like to see a satisfactory explanation of his death. And while I believe Cuba has moved further toward liberalization than the editorial board suggests, I’d like to see it move much further — and more rapidly. I have worked toward this goal for many years. But I also believe the best way to bring that about is through engagement and dialogue and not through continuing the embargo and a policy of hostility. The overwhelming majority of Americans — and Cubans — agree.
Some evidence of a changing dynamic is perhaps seen in a recent call from Miriam Leiva, a co-founder of Ladies in White, a longtime Cuban opposition group, for greater engagement.
Wayne S. Smith, Washington
The writer is Cuba project director for the Center for International Policy.