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US embargo blocks constructive policy approach to Cuba


Protests in Cuba have brought the US embargo back into the public debate but really are more about a failed regime and unaccountable political system.

The rights and wrongs of the US embargo of Cuba have come back to the fore with the latest anti-government protests resulting in President Miguel Diaz Canel laying blame for the country’s long-collapsed, rudimentary economy on perceived US attempts to ‘destroy Cuba’, while embargo supporters herald the protests as some kind of redemption for a failed 60-year-old policy.

The reality is neither of these are true as, once again, the opposite ends of the embargo debate meet in giving it too much credit – whether for the suffering of Cubans or for the myth of redemptive, imminent regime change. The protests are really about a failed regime, a long-suffering people, and a political system which resolutely refuses to be accountable to its own citizens over the preservation of its leaders’ power.

Ultimately, the embargo is a policy which has failed to achieve even a modicum of success in improving human rights on the island, but most Cubans no longer believe the embargo is responsible for their suffering. They know the blame lies with a rigid, ineffective government lacking in ideas for restarting the economy or improving social services.

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