Afghanistan. Now Cuba
Mr Biden, you got us out of Afghanistan. It took courage and determination but you got it done.
Thank you. And you are right. History will show you made the right decision.
It is very hard to make smooth transitions under any circumstances, and Afghanistan was a rough one from the start.
Critics of your choice abounded, and they relished what they saw as a chance to diminish you but in the end diminished themselves.
So we now turn that page and open this next one, Cuba.
We can’t rely on the old tactic of the embargo. That won’t do. It hasn’t worked.
Whereas in Afghanistan there were many calculations to make, Cuba is markedly different.
What we need is to lift the embargo. That is it.
Will lifting the embargo prolong the life of the dictatorial elite? Maybe. But lifting the embargo will more likely be a greater bonus for the people of Cuba, who will then be better prepared to eventually do away with that cruel and oppressive regime.
The Cuban system is destined to crumble from within, not from externally imposed sanctions.
No protest in Cuba has a chance to overthrow the regime because it stands well armed by China or Russia or both, and will not hesitate to fire upon fellow Cubans to crush whatever menace is on the rise.
Lifting the embargo, on the other hand, offers the chance of broadening and deepening the productive capacity and initiative of the Cuban people, and then they will come up with the ideas and the timing to oust the government.
Please think of the image you will be projecting to the rest of South America and the world. ‘We will not stand in the way of men and women seeking their freedom.’
Holding on to the embargo has only brought misery to the people.
You have the unique chance of following the success of Afghanistan with the opportunity to enlarge the lives of all Cubans and by extension the lives of other men and women in the world.
Yesterday, I read that Mikhail Gorbachev is now 90 years old. A play has opened in Moscow to celebrate his life. It’s a two person play, Gorbachev and his wife Raisa. I had the great pleasure of seeing him and even asking him a question at a forum in downtown Los Angeles shortly after being replaced by Boris Yeltsin in 1991.
Recently, he attended a rehearsal of the play in his honor and at the end stood up to an ovation. The article said he had nothing to add to the play. The only thing he said was, ‘It’s all about freedom.’
To Gorbachev alone belongs the enormous distinction of having broken up the Soviet Union.
Cuba, Mr Biden, offers you a wonderful opportunity to enlighten the minds of men and women throughout the world.
In the same way that you freed us from the onerous burden of Afghanistan, you have the unique opportunity to say to the Cuban people, ‘Let not an embargo stand in your way, take from free markets what you must, find your strength in the power of ideas, and fight to gain your freedom. We Americans will be rooting for you.’
Oscar Valdes. Oscarvaldes.net