Let Cuba Live
102 Twitchell Rd, So. Paris, Maine 04281, (207) 743-2183 www.letcubalive.org
September 22, 2017
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senators Collins and King,
We, the undersigned, are writing to you in opposition to the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba. The recent assault on Cuba from Hurricane Irma highlights the cruelty of this policy. Indeed, just as that hurricane was hitting eastern Cuba on September 8, President Trump was signing a memorandum relating to the “Continuation of the Exercise of Certain Authorities Under the Trading With the Enemy Act.” He was reauthorizing the U.S. economic embargo for one more year.
The U.S. government is continuing a policy that, over decades, has caused Cuba grave financial losses and shortages, even of healthcare supplies and food. The Cuban people have suffered, and this has been intentional. That purpose was made clear in State Department official Lester Mallory’s memo of April 1960: “The only foreseeable means of alienating internal support [for Cuba’s revolution] is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship.” He called for “a line of action which … makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.”
It looks like even in the best of times the U.S. government wants to hurt the Cuban people, but now a devastating hurricane worsens their suffering. Nation and peoples aspiring to live in harmony with others normally reach out to help the victims of natural disasters. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, for example, beleaguered Cuba sent 750 doctors to other islands in distress. But an unflinching United States steadfastly harasses Cuba, rubbing salt in the wounds.
Additionally, we would point out that continued U.S. abuse of Cuba is a sad commentary on U.S. democracy. To explain: Opinion polls show that most Americans, including Cuban-Americans in Florida, want the embargo to end. The Obama administration was on the same page. Yet decision-making on Cuba seems to have been farmed out to special interests. Apparently a few Cuban-American legislators are in charge.
The Senate does have a unique role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. Presumably, that means the whole Senate and presumably Cuba falls within the scope of U.S. foreign policy. At the same time the United States plays the bully in Cuba at the cost of grievous suffering there.
Gratifyingly, each of you has already supported or offered measures aimed at correcting U.S. policies on Cuba. But we think the time is over for incremental steps. We see the need for courageous, decisive action in order to break the ice jam on Cuba. You would be going against the grain. We invite you, our Maine Senators, to speak out and to act against the entire Cuban Embargo, and to do so in a fashion dramatic enough that fellow senators pay attention, and indeed our whole people.
We thank you for your efforts in the past toward a rational Cuba policy and for your consideration of what we have proposed here.
Judy Robbins (for Let Cuba Live), Sedgwick, Maine
Steve Burke (for Let Cuba Live), Warren, Maine
Tom Whitney (for Let Cuba Live), South Paris, Maine