Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Embargo and the Enablers du Jour

The calls to end the embargo multiply daily. One might almost think they were orchestrated. In today’s installment a number of business organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation and Grocery Manufacturers Association, urged the President to be to lift the embargo, as these commercial potentates feel qualified to make foreign policy judgments. Lifting the remittances is fine by them, but could you please scoot over and leave a bit more room for that persistent camel.

Their motivation, only partially cloaked by altruism, is greed. Now greed is not necessarily a bad thing, but stupidity is always. If I’ve got this correctly, they wish to be free to do business with a government that has made an avocation of not paying its debts to the tune of 60 billion and five decades with a citizenry so impoverished that it can not afford American goods. (After all there are limits to even Tia Lola’s largess.) Maybe the thinking is that the ability to sell cigars, rum, and quack remedies to the American public will enrich the coffers of the Havana Dons thereby releasing rivulets of Cuban Class B currency to the populace, enabling a citizen to buy, say, one Nike sneaker a year. If these are our great business minds, it is not surprising that the heads of the big 3 are in DC on bended knee.

Of course, they could be positioning themselves for the day when Cuba once again rejoins the world of functioning economies, a prospect set back that much further by supplying an economic lifeline now. They seem to have forgotten the little matter of the unpaid millions, 2 billion approx, owed American companies and private citizens for expropriated property. I won’t mention the poor, benighted political prisoners. No one else does.

Mark my words; by the time this lunacy runs its course, Obama will be lifting the embargo by public acclaim. But then, heck, what do I know?

No comments: