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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Just say no

 
 

Pulitzer Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel once said that “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Since 1961, the United States has upheld an embargo against the nation of Cuba, as a form of protest to the communist government.
The embargo, which is an almost complete cessation of trade with the island, is the most severe peaceful protest of a government that America can make, and is well-deserved. However, some Americans seem to disagree, as they are exploiting loopholes in the embargo to conduct business. These businesses must recognize the reason for the embargo and, as such, not try to exploit it for their own gain.
On Nov. 1, Cuba entered into contracts to buy $300,000 worth of cattle and $10 million of wheat and meat products from America, according to the Associated Press. They are exploiting an exception to the trade embargo that allows transactions on a cash basis.
“We’re all committed to cooperation,” said rancher John Parke Wright, of J.P. Wright & Co., which is part of the deal. “What we represent are good relations, fellowship and free and open trade.”
Yet, good relations, fellowship and free trade contradict the very purpose of the embargo. While Cuba poses no threat to the United States, its communist government stands as an enemy in principle to the beliefs central to the American way of life. While Americans value individual rights and freedom, Fidel Castro’s government supports the belief that one’s life belongs to the state, enslaving men to one another.
Sadly, Cubans fail to recognize that communism and the suppression of freedom are antithetical to prosperity and life, and blame America for their problems. For the 13th year in a row, Cuba has rallied the United Nations into approving a resolution to end the embargo, which Cuban foreign ministry calls “a cruel, inhuman and genocidal blockade.”
U.S. Ambassador Oliver Garza rightly disagreed: “If Cubans are jobless, hungry or lack medical care, as the regime admits, it is because of the failings of the current government,” Garza told the General Assembly. “The resolution is an attempt to blame the communist regime’s failed economic policies on the United States and to divert attention from its human rights record. The Cuban government is not a victim, as it contends. Rather, it is a tyrant, aggressively punishing anyone who dares to have a differing opinion.”
The Cuban government has laughably brushed aside American’s condemnation of its government. Recently, the U.S. State Department issued a statement condemning Cuba’s continued imprisonment of 75 political dissidents arrested last March.
“The government of the United States doesn’t have the minimum moral authority to accuse Cuba,” the Cuban foreign ministry fired back. “It’s the government of the United States that is the worst violator of human rights in the world.” Given their statement, it seems apparent that they have no idea what the word rights means in the first place.
The Cuban government is blindly ignorant of the reality, failing to recognize either the nature or rights or the benefits of them. Such failings result in the poverty, death and the misery of their population, and while they blame the United States it’s their communism and tyranny that are in fact the source.
Yes, America could open up trade with Cuba and allow the Cuban government to buy food and medicine from us. But any trader must consider where the other party is getting their money and if it’s moral to accept it. Cuba wishes to buy this food with money taken from the oppressed Cuban people who suffer under the communist yoke. By aiding the existence of the communist government in any way, America would be giving support to the principles it claims to stand against, which must never be done.
Sad though it is, the plight of Cuba is the fault of communism, and given that it’s their choice, they must lie in the bed they made for themselves. A free way of life brings life and prosperity, and if they truly wish for these things they must seize it for themselves, rather than trying to buy a few more minutes of living from somewhere else.
American businessmen must recognize that a moral principle must come before profit, and stop their exploitation of embargo loopholes themselves. If they refuse, the government must step in and forbid these exchanges. The right of Americans to do business ends when it’s doing business with our enemies.

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