This Reuters story tells us that “old Europe” is getting ready to tell Dubya what he can do with perhaps our stupidest foreign policy faux pas (in the middle of his farewell tour, absent protestors strangely enough in Germany, where they apparently don’t even feel like investing the energy in despising him any more – can’t totally blame them)…
'The time could be right (to lift the embargo) because of changes undertaken by Cuba's new leadership,' said one EU diplomat. Signs of an opening include new rules allowing Cubans to buy cell phones, rent rooms in hotels once reserved for foreigners, and an increase in public debate.And this article explains one of the many reasons why the embargo is awful (a tribute to the efforts of a small but incredibly noisy bunch of Cuban émigrés and the sway they hold on the political landscape).
'Sanctions could be lifted ... but linked with dialogue, with a review. We are working on finding the exact formula,' another EU diplomat said of the ongoing talks ahead of the June 16 meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Former colonial power Spain has long led calls for an end to the EU sanctions, which unlike the 1962 U.S. embargo do not prevent trade and investment. But it has met resistance from the bloc's ex-communist members, notably the Czech Republic.
But gosh, it’s so refreshing to see responsible adults in the story trying to actually manage an obstacle of sorts (and the embargo is certainly that) by insisting on terms and concessions from the other side as a precondition of arriving at a solution.
What’s that word? Oh, ummm….Negotiate! Yeah, that’s it; it’s been so long since I’ve seen it applied that I’d almost forgotten what it meant.
And of course, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez is telling our allies that they’re all wrong…
'The so-called reforms or so-called changes that have taken place in Cuba, we believe are somewhat cynical,' Gutierres (sic) told Reuters in an interview in ex-communist Ukraine.And this from a representative of a regime that readily does business with China, with its myriad human rights violations, and Colombia, the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists (despite what Gutierrez alleged here before he was slapped down by Sherrod Brown).
'It is surprising that the world would rather talk about the fact that Cubans can now visit their own hotels and not talk about the fact that there are political prisoners starving in their own jails,' he said.
Looks like the EU is just trying to get by without any more blowups until President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History is nothing more than a bad memory (and Kucinich’s articles of impeachment are moving forward, as noted here).
Update: This is a hoot; the Repugs are mad at the Dems because China (they say) is drilling for oil off Key West as part of a lease agreement with Cuba…gee, ya’ think Cuba could have had a lease agreement with us instead if it weren’t for the embargo supported primarily by Republicans??!!
Update 6/12/08: I thought so (wow, is that GOP "message discipline" slipping, or what?).
And the Reuters story (one of the links above - I forget which one) also tells us that Newt Gingrich and his American Solutions “Real Change for Real Change for Real Change Already” scam has come up with a "plan"; why, he wants to drill for oil in the USA! Wow, what an “innovative solution,” and so environmentally friendly too!
Say goodnight, Newt.