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Us Government Policy Towards Cuba, events 1995

From the Series
 "The Other Side of the Coin"

L. J. White

Taking an impartial look at US policy towards the "Pearl of the Antilles" or Cuba, the largest Island in the Caribbean with a population of more than eleven million people, mostly of Spanish and African heritage, many questions arise.  Oddly enough we never hear much about this nation or its accomplishments, obviously not much is said about the suffering the people are experiencing. Seemingly forgotten by the US media, most Americans do not even realize it only lies ninety miles off Key West. 

Published articles are usually disparaging towards Cuba's form of Government and economic conditions affecting the population.  I often wonder if some questions, there are many, could or would be answered by the US Government and media directly and objectively.   Maybe then the American public would finally become aware of perhaps some obscured realities and reasons for the existing attitude toward this neighboring Island that in the fifties was the leading tourist attraction of the Caribbean and what could have been construed as a US friend and most importantly, an ally.   So, with that in mind here are just a few questions I for one would love to have answered.

After the longest and most devastating embargo in US history towards any nation on earth, now more than 38 years in force, reality shows that it is only adversely affecting the population, not the Government of this small Island; I have to wonder why it still persists.  It seems to me the policy makers and US Government have not found a problem selling weapons to Iran, making numerous treaties with China, a communist regime accused of many civil rights violations, reestablishing relations with Vietnam, where countless American lives were lost not too long ago; The list could go on.  However if we were to look at Cuba back in the early stages of the revolution and today, it becomes apparent to me the existing policy and attitude towards this nation is not justified, definitely not clear at all.

I am not aware of American lives being lost due to any aggression whatsoever by the Cubans upon US soil or American interest in the region.  I have not heard nor read of any Cuban involvement in drug traffic any where in the region; Furthermore, Cuba unless in possession of nuclear weapons, can not be a military threat to the United States simply because of its size, population and history.  To my knowledge, not one recent report by the US Government suggests the existence of nuclear weapons on the island.  What then, could it be an economic threat?  That would be ridiculous.   Back in the fifties Cuba was not by any means underdeveloped, holding a major role as a tourist attraction however, unable to economically compete with the US.

Well, maybe it has something to do with the exportation of Revolution or better yet "Ideology".    This is a strong possibility, it seems to be the straw the US Government stills hangs on to after thirty eight years; Is it realistic by today standards?

Has anyone figured out yet that the useless Embargo only helps Fidel Castro and the regime he stand for stay in power?

When Mr. Castro visited the US soon after the Revolution that brought him to power, he made a point to address the discrimination issue then tabooed in the States.   Now we have Martin Luther King as a national hero and many other illustrious black leaders including Mr. Jesse Jackson.   Was that visit to New York by Mr. Castro the beginning of racial unrest and upheaval, creating problems for the American Government and other interest, or was it the beginning of the end for the K.K.K. and human right abuses towards the black and other minorities in the US?   Soon after the revolution Mr. Castro literally closed the casinos in Havana, a city that was known for its splendor and nightlife, ending American underworld involvement in the Cuban Economy, such as prostitution, gambling etc.  That action by Mr. Castro did not settle well at all in America back then for obvious reasons but, are we not overlooking the "Mafia" in Russia today?

While in the Turk and Caicos, a lovely set of Islands south of the Bahamas, aboard my 40' sailing vessel, a couple of years ago I became aware through my receivers on board of the imminent invasion of Haiti by US Forces.   Oddly enough I also heard of the mass exodus of Cuban citizens from the Island following a statement from Mr. Castro to the effect that, "Any body that wants to leave can do so".   Mr. Clinton then ordered Coast Guard vessels and other military units to look for and intercept these individuals who were leaving their homeland in whatever could float.  Leaving towards what they thought was freedom, men, woman and children to the tune of over thirty thousand in just a few short days.  Some twenty nine thousand were picked up and sent to Guantanamo, US Naval Base on Cuban soil in the province of Oriente, to a hastily constructed make-shift detention center; This raises some questions.

Why were they picked up in international waters for the most part and taken to Guantanamo, with all the appearances of a modern day concentration camp at high cost to the American citizens?   Why not take them to the mainland, process them as "Political Refugees" or immediately deported back to Cuba as economical refugees or undesirables?   Haitian refugees reaching the coast of Florida are for the most part assimilated into American society, not taken to Guantanamo totally disenfranchising them, depriving them of self-respect and the undeniable right to freedom.   What is the status of these twenty nine thousand Cubans today?  Where are they?.  Can the US Government address and inform the American taxpayers of this "Human Rights Issue" and the fate of these unfortunate people now seemingly forgotten?   I have heard very little since the incident took place.

Why punish eleven million souls needlessly because of obscure Government differences?  Are there no accomplishments achieved by a society who endured a thirty-eight year embargo by the biggest nation on earth?  Why don't we look and see.  Cuba undeniably led the Spanish-speaking world in the Atlanta Olympic Games far surpassing any other Caribbean nation or the hemisphere, not to mention Europe.   If a medal per-capita study were to be conducted Cuba could conceivably lead the world.   Cuban artists rank among the best in the Latin world.  I'm well aware of Cuba's significant contributions to such important areas of human development and culture.   Medicine is another area in which the Cubans excel.

While in Puerto Rico, for a period of almost two years, I became associated in a professional endeavor meeting many individuals who had first hand experiences with Cuban medicine.  Their personal accounts were impressive to say the least.  Also, I might note, their infant mortality rate is approximately ten percent, placing Cuba among the lowest in the hemisphere.  These are facts, not hearsay, and cannot be denied by any Government on the planet. 

Cuba has achieved these goals without help from the largest nation on earth, on the contrary, while under relentless economic and political pressure from the United States.   What has the US embargo and constant pressure accomplished?   How has it improved the quality of life for the population of this Caribbean Island?   Or ......has it?   What is the real reason for such extreme, borderline inhumane policy to a neighboring country once a close friend?  Has it not proven fruitless and counterproductive, depriving the inhabitants from perhaps a better quality of life?

While traveling the Caribbean I have met countless people from different Islands including many Americans who dared visit this beautiful Island lying just off the coast of Florida.   Their personal experiences while in Cuba were extraordinary, all of them have regarded their visit as the "Best experience they ever had".   Without exemption, they've told me of the hospitality, friendliness and sincerity found amongst the people and officials.   All unanimously agreed that the island of Cuba has incredible natural beauty, culture and yes, very good medical attention.  The very well known author of the "1995 -1996 Cruising Guide to Cuba" Simon Charles has several references as to the quality of medicine on the island.  Why the inexcusable persistency to maintain a blockade that helps no one?  Why increment sanctions as opposed to lessening tensions, beginning the movement toward cultural exchange and friendlier relations?

Not too long ago, while at anchor in the Bay of Boquerón, a most beautiful area in Puerto Rico, doing some repairs to my vessel I heard of the several intrusions upon Cuban soil by exile groups based in Miami, Fl.  These incidents culminated in the downing of two aircraft by the Cuban Air force.   Strangely enough the incident took place on or about the time Mr. Castro was making his presence known abroad rallying support for his country.  This unfortunate tragedy led to more severe sanctions from the US against Cuba and a definite ill effect on Castro's efforts.

Why don't we look at the events a little more closely and perhaps have some questions answered?  How would the US react if Cuban elements, originating from Cuba, violated air and maritime US space on several occasions in order to create subversion?   How would the US Air Force respond if Cuban planes "buzzed" Miami dropping anti Government literature, refused to leave air space or land their crafts? 

I can tell you this much, I have been bordered by the Coastguard several times in the Caribbean Region for, so called safety inspections, on more than one occasion well within territorial waters of another independent Caribbean nation. Twice in inclement weather, not only endangering my vessel and crew but the lives of Coast Guard personnel as well.  I have not dared refuse such boarding, nor have I met any other Captain who refused.    I have met dozens of Captains with the same experiences.

The destruction of two aircraft, piloted by anti Castro elements, brought about a US posture I do not understand.    Why didn't the US condemn the air intrusion, by the exile group, as an illegal act perpetrated on a sovereign nation?   Better yet, why was it allowed to begin with?  Did the US know about it before hand? 

I seem to recall the so called "Flotilla", from the same organization, that violated Cuban waters prior to the incident resulting in the loss of two aircraft.   This "Flotilla" was highly publicized by the media in the US and Puerto Rico.  The group was met by Cuban gunboats and peacefully turned back without incident or aggression from the Cuban Navy.   US Coastguard had full knowledge of said "Flotilla" and its purpose.  The vessels were US registered; some documented manned by US citizens or Americans.  This expedition and infringement into Cuban waters was not covert and should have been considered an illegal and grave act against a foreign nation.  This intrusion was allowed to transpire; however, not condemned after the fact. Why?

No form of Government on the planet is or was ever perfect, US included.  The American taxpayers deserve real answers to crucial issues not a one sided view.  The media has the responsibility of impartiality, or in essence ceases to be a responsible body of information serving an organized and civilized society.   Instead they would only help serve political and special interest groups, keeping a whole nation blindfolded and misled.

I think it is a fair statement that in the case of Cuba the American populous has been, to say the least, uninformed, if not misinformed, about the real reasons for US policy toward this Island in the Caribbean.   A nation such as the US who takes pride in human rights, opportunity, freedom and unbiased information should take a long hard look at the reality of events, and how the Government and informational sources handle them.   The media should aggressively seek the sometimes and often hidden distorted truths, publishing them with clarity.   Freedom of the press, and the responsibility of unbiased reporting is one of the founding stones of a free society.  Only by the uncompromising desire to bring forth questions, publishing indisputable and objective, perfectly understandable answers, will the American people be served and see the…….

"Other Side Of The Coin"

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