Naïve New York Times Fails to Recognize Cuba’s Real Enemy

By Karel Becerra

A few days ago the New York Times asked for an end to the “embargo on Cuba.” However, they should have asked for an end to the embargo on Castro. Cubans have nothing to impound: no properties, no houses, no cars, no furniture not even intellectual property; everything belongs to the communist government.

This misunderstood contradiction means people such as the Times editorial board see a generous leader fighting against imperialism and a country “that has suffered enormously since Washington ended diplomatic relations in 1961.” Meanwhile, the Cuban people who know the truth see a civil society impoverished by a dictatorship in Cuba that has held power for over five decades.

Cubans who know better call for independence and democracy on José Martí’s 160th birthday. (CID Facebook)

The Times presents two main arguments: “shifting politics in the United States” and “changing policies in Cuba.” Therefore, they contend, it is now “politically feasible to re-establish formal diplomatic relations and dismantle the senseless embargo.”

The first argument is supported by a telephone survey of a sample of one thousand respondents in nation of 300 million citizens and a Cuban community of over one million. It lacks of scientific rigor and is meaningless.

The second argument falls flat after a mere glance at Cuba’s Official Gazette, where allowed private activities are nothing but “topping palms, fixing shoes, and selling plastic bags.” The Times adds that, as part of these reforms, it is now possible for Cubans to “sell properties like cars and houses,” although they fail to mention buying them. Even the Times knows it is impossible for a Cuban who fixes shoes or sells plastic bags to pay US$25,000 to buy a car.

However, the Times argues that “in recent years, a devastated economy has forced Cuba to make reforms.” Here begs the question: if the reforms have been forced on the government, they are not really open to a freer market, so why ask for an end to the embargo?

The Times‘ logic only holds if they can show that lifting the embargo would have a negative impact in the economy, since then Castro would be forced to make additional reforms.

The Times ignores the facts that shape the real world. Castro’s regime only reacts under pressure, from inside or from outside.  The pseudo reforms in Cuba are nothing but “a process that has gained urgency with the economic crisis in Venezuela.” Yet, the Times editors ignore the interference of Castro in Venezuela, which has contributed to their sister nation’s economic crisis.

Last but not least, the Times tries to defend Odebrecht, a Brazilian enterprise involved in cases of corruption. This has occurred while investing billions of dollars in El Mariel, helping to build a seaport in Cuba with Brazilian capital.

Do the Cuban workers receive their salaries directly from the investing company? Will Cuban entrepreneurs be able to import or export their products? The answer to both is no!

The Mariel seaport investment only serves the regime and its heirs. This investment constitutes explicit support for Castro’s regime and its planned successors. No matter how hard the Times tries, there is no way to hide that fact.

But apparently the “great project [will] be economically viable only if American sanctions are lifted.” After five years of construction, it has become evident that they need an end to the embargo! It seems that a dam was built without a river.

Well, that’s how socialism works: mourn and blame someone else.

“End the economic embargo! Lift the sanctions!” go the cries of the Times. First the seaport and now the river to North American markets. Fortunately for the people of Cuba, they are running out of time and the river is not available for navigation.

Karel Becerra is a Cuban exile in Argentina and the current secretary of international relations at the NGO Independent and Democratic Cuba.

Edited by Fergus Hodgson and Marta Menor.

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