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Obama should reverse policy on US trade embargoes

Business Times - 17 Apr 2009


Obama should reverse policy on US trade embargoes

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

ONE of the most dramatic changes in US foreign policy embraced by President Barack Obama has been his decision - announced this week on the eve of a summit with the leaders of South and Central America - to ease the US relationship with Cuba by lifting travel and spending restrictions on Americans with family on the island.

The move amounts to an admission on the part of Washington that the policy of isolating the communist regime first imposed by the administration of former president John F Kennedy has failed. Moreover, as the United States takes the first steps towards normalising relations with Cuba, American officials and lawmakers should consider one of the main lessons of a half-century of failed policy towards Havana: trade embargoes only tend to help strengthen the power of the targets of these embargoes (the ruling authoritarian regime), while slowing - not a…