Clinton at CFR: Cuba Embargo No Longer Serving American Interests

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           Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations

 

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton elaborated on the recent revelation that she recommended to President Obama that he take another look at the Cuban embargo. Her remarks are below:

Q. One thing I read in the book was that you suggested to the president that he take another look at the Cuba embargo.

CLINTON: Yes.

Q. That you didn’t think this was serving American interests.

CLINTON: Right. Right. And I don’t. I write in the book about the conclusion that I certainly have reached: that the embargo is Castro’s best friend. It provides Castro an excuse for everything. “Why do we still have to be harassing the mothers of the imprisoned?” “Well because America is behind it.” “Why do we have to, you know, prevent the kind of relationships that we would like to see Cuba engage in, in opening up, and being more forward-looking?” “Well because we can’t, America is embargoing us.”

It would also help our relationships throughout Latin America because it’s also used as an excuse there. Every conversation at every Summit of the Americas starts with a conversation about Cuba. I would like to see that excuse removed. And I do believe, however, that shifting the onus onto the Castros will not end the embargo until after they’re gone. I honestly believe that. Every time we’ve tried–my husband tried–and remember there were talks going on, there was [sic] behind the scenes, we were looking at everything from immigration to lessening up on State Sponsor of Terrorism, all the rest of it, [and] the Brothers to the Rescue plane [was] shot down, ensuring there would be a reaction in the Congress that would make it very difficult for any president to lift the embargo alone.

Fast forward–not telling tales out of school–the Obama administration having the same conversations with Cuban counterparts and with leaders of countries in the region so that the Cubans could hear an echo. What do they do? They arrest Alan Gross, a development professional, throw him in jail, refuse under any negotiations to let him loose unless we return five convicted Cuban spies who are slowly being let out of prison because their time is up, not because of a trade.

So I think we should advocate for the end of the embargo, we should advocate for normalizing relations, and see what they do. See how they respond. And then go back to a lot of our friends in the region and say, “The United States is ready to move, what about your buddies in Havana? What are they going to do now?”

I would like to change the psychology of this issue. We’ve been in a corner for too long. We need to get out of the corner.  As I say in the book, probably the most important, long-term commitment this country can make is to a much closer, more constructive relationship within our own hemisphere. And if we do that, we will be much better positioned to deal with all else that goes on in the world. It will be difficult to get it to the point I would like to see it unless we clear away the accusations against the United States over the embargo.

(Tomado de CubaNow)