CUBA SANCTIONS ARE OVER!!!
The blockade against Cuba, which was initiated some 40 years ago by the U.S., suffered a major setback this week as European Union leaders announced their intention to end their sanctions against the island country.
The announcement came as George W. Bush toured Europe, and it signaled his weakened position as a world leader and a EU rejection of the Bush administration's hardline stance against Cuba.
The sanctions under discussion were initially imposed in 2003 and suspended two years later. EU leaders cited political and economic reforms launched in Cuba since the February retirement of Cuban icon Fidel Castro as that country's president.
Getting to the heart of why they now are more favorably disposed toward Cuba, EU diplomats cited eased restrictions on consumer items, many of which will be purchased from EU-based corporations.
Nevertheless, EU leaders involved in the discussion on abolishing the sanctions permanently also proposed additional dialogue between Cuba and European countries.
The repressive, pro-Bush administration government in the Czech Republic, however, has parroted the statements of George W. Bush and Republican presidential nominee John McCain's dismissals of recent changes in Cuba. Spain, by contrast, has been the most vocal on ending the sanctions, viewing exchange and dialogue as worthier aims than blockade.
Ironically, those who oppose ending sanctions or lifting the embargo based on a belief that changes that have been made are insufficient or "cynical," as the Bush administration said this week, have to explain why such an embargo has failed to force the changes they insisted it would. Why keep pursuing a failed policy?
Like Bush administration officials and John McCain the Czech Republic insists it will only support abolishing sanctions if the EU is willing to legitimize groups in Cuba that want to overthrow the government or who have ties to proven terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles or Santiago Alvarez. John McCain, earlier this year, went so far as to hint at more direct U.S. intervention in Cuba in the event that he is elected as U.S. president.
It remains to be seen if such a directly interventionist and invasive condition as that pushed by the Czech government will be imposed on Cuba by the EU in exchange for lifting the sanctions.
The European Union is ending sanctions on Cuba in defiance of U.S.
America's security fantasies
Regarding Roger Cohen's "The world is upside down" (Globalist, June 2) : At the end of his otherwise excellent column, Cohen writes that the United States "underwrites global security at vast expense" and that the newly wealthy should "share this burden."
This is a peculiarly (indeed, almost exclusively) American view. The greatest threat to global peace and security is, and for some time has been, the United States and its bipartisan obsession with achieving permanent, "full-spectrum" military domination of the planet and outer space, as explicitly spelled out in the two blatantly aggressive national security strategies published in recent years.
If, as Cohen suggests, a new "multi-polarity of security commitments" is in order, this new world order of genuine defense should seek to contain and, when necessary, resist American hegemony - at least until this once admirable country either regains its senses or can no longer afford the "vast expense" of its military ambitions.
John V. Whitbeck Jidda, Saudi Arabia