Global Ethics Corner: Budgets, Cuban Policy, and Ethics?

March 13, 2009

The March appropriations bill of $410 billion has "controversial provisions that make travel and trade to Cuba easier…."

The bill passed after Florida and New Jersey senators were assured by Secretary Geithner that "the government would interpret the law so strictly that it will be ineffective." Putting aside the issue of enforcing the law as intended, what about Cuba?

All Americans have the right to be represented in their government's decisions. These states have large anti-Castro constituencies that oppose easing the Cuban embargo. Republican Senator Martinez's opinion is accurate: Cuba is "a cruel, totalitarian repressive regime."

But a report from "the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, says U.S. policy toward Cuba has not worked to bring democracy to the island," and recommends an overhaul.

Do we respect the wishes of anti-Castro Americans, to restrict trade, or the wishes of agriculture and medical sales interests, to open Cuban markets?

Stepping away from the politics, ethically, do we continue a failed 47 year embargo that does not improve democracy and hurts Cubans?

Or, if we relax restrictions, do we reward repression?

What do you think?

By William Vocke

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