August 15, 2006
Posted to the web August 16, 2006
ETERAN Cuban leader Fidel Castro has celebrated his 80th birthday in bed while recovering from intestinal surgery. There has been intense speculation about Castro and Cuba's political future although the Cuban Communist party newspaper Granma has reported that he is 'as firm as hardwood' - and the Ugandan politician who said he was 'as strong as mahogany' is still at the top several years later. It is definitely far too early to write off Castro.
However it is not too early to dismiss the irrational and disgraceful US blockade of Cuba that has been in place for over 40 years. The United States has done everything possible to break the regime in Cuba - including several hundred failed assassination attempts on Castro - but it has completely failed. It has treated Cuba as a rogue state yet Cuba has never threatened the USA. Cuba's only crime has been to pursue independence instead of remaining a pseudo-colony a few miles off the coast of Florida.
If any country in the world behaved towards the United States as it has done towards Cuba, the United States would certainly include it in the 'axis of evil', call for international sanctions and launch air strikes.
United States sanctions against Cuba are a moral blot on the record of a country that claims to defend freedom and diversity.
President Castro is still a powerful political force but his illness show that he, like all of us, is still mortal. The Cuban people will then again decide for themselves the type of government they wish to have. The United States will not advance its cause by trying to impose a particular system by brute economic force. The United States should lift its economic sanctions on Cuba so that the Cuban people can freely decide their own future without intimidation when the time comes.