For more than 50 years, my adopted country, the United States, has subjected my native country, Cuba (and even more sadly and disturbingly, its people, my people) to an exhausting, unjust, and inhumane embargo and economic blockade…. For me personally, it’s as if my hands—left and right—were unable to communicate with or even recognize each other.
As if that undeserved beating weren’t enough, the USA has Cuba on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, which not only prevents the island from asking for U.S. economic aid (which it wouldn’t do anyway), but also afflicts the rights and sovereignty of individuals and countries; it prevents the world of international banking from establishing commercial relations with Cuba without being subjected to grueling, undiscerning scrutiny.
A recent survey conducted by the Atlantic Council demonstrates a change in the sentiment and opinions of U.S. citizens regarding this incoherent and anachronistic U.S. policy on Cuba. The results speak for themselves. Most people in the United States, whether Democrat or Republican, favor a normalization of relations between these two neighboring countries. And even more relevant is the fact that in Florida and here in Miami—home to the largest Cuban immigrant community in the United States, including those responsible for drafting, encouraging, and promoting this disastrous stance—63 percent of Floridians support change of diplomatic and trade relations, the lifting of restrictions on travel to Cuban by non-Cuban U.S. citizens, and Cuba’s exclusion from that ill-intentioned blacklist, where it never should have been in the first place.
A few months ago, Havana hosted the CELAC Summit, where presidents from almost every Latin American and Caribbean country, and the UN secretary-general, were present to discuss issues of mutual interest. Recently, the European Union, agreed to begin negotiating with Havana with a view to increasing dialogue and cooperating in the fields of investment, trade, and human rights. It would seem that the world is lining up to build friendly relations with Cuba and that the United States is remaining inert and isolated.
So, taking all of this into account, with all of these tools and now with the support of public opinion, why doesn’t President Obama take action? Wasn’t it he himself who said, during his first trip abroad as president, that the embargo on Cuba was an obsolete measure imposed before he was born?
President Obama seems to be suffering from a malaise that affects many national leaders who lose their sensitivity and stop listening to their people when they are at the height of power: deaf politician syndrome.