Saturday, October 08, 2005


The Embargo Works both Ways

The unprecedented escalation of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba during the 2nd Bush administration not only causes social and economic harm to the Cuban people (more than $82 billion in the over 40-year-blockade), but seriously damages the US people as well.
Last year Washington augmented the extraterritorial nature of the siege in its attempt to destroy the Cuban Revolution, and applied more regulations, sanctions, and threats that limit the rights of citizens and businesses, both within and outside the US.
As only one example: on September 30, 2004 the Treasury Department declared that citizens or permanent residents in the US may not legally buy any products that originate in Cuba, including tobacco and drinks, even in a third country.
Such restriction includes buying articles for personal use only in a foreign country.
The penal sanctions for violation of this restriction could be fines of up to one million dollars for corporations, and for individuals, 250 thousand dollars and ten years in jail.
Three hundred sixteen US residents were fined last year by the Office of Foreign Assets Control for infringing regulations of the blockade and, as of August of this year, 477 have been fined.
US research centers and universities assert that elimination of the blockade could generate 100,000 jobs and six billion dollars for the US economy. In agriculture and other exports, the US loses some 1.24 billion dollars annually from the blockade.
The University of Florida estimated that, ten years after lifting the blockade, US exports to Cuba would range between 6 billion and 9 billion dollars a year.
In spite of the prohibition to visit Cuba, US magazine readers chose it as the best island in the Caribbean, and among the 115 best in the world.
If they were allowed to travel to Cuba, 66.8 percent of people in the US (in 2001) said they would go; roughly 2.8 million US citizens and 289,000 Cuban residents ann ually.
Analysts in both countries indicate the great potential gains for US companies if they were not limited in trade with Cuba, particularly in energy, food, agriculture, pharmacology, and biotechnology.
In sum, final elimination of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba would result in a notable enhancement of US income, expansion of its economy, increase in employment, and the pleasure of visiting this most beautiful island.
(Written by Cira Rodriguez of Prensa Latina, published on Oct.8,2005)
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