December 14th, 2013
01:26 AM ET

Give capitalism a chance to change Cuba

By Fareed Zakaria

In the midst of the extraordinary spectacle of Nelson Mandela's funeral – in a stadium with some 90,000 mourners, including more than 90 heads of government – a small gesture caught the world's attention. President Barack Obama moved to greet Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil. On his way, he shook hands with the person to Rousseff’s right. The photograph of that handshake ricocheted around the world. Understandably, because the man Obama shook hands with was Raul Castro, president of Cuba.

Remember, the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba, and has a tight trade embargo in place against the island nation. So, many wondered whether this handshake was the beginning of a great shift in policy.

I hope so. Let's begin by asking whether the existing policy is working. In 1960, the United States enacted an embargo against Cuba. Its purpose was simple and explicit: regime change. Did it work? Well, until he retired from the presidency in 2008, Fidel Castro was the longest serving head of government in the world. Surely that's about as powerful evidence as one can get that the policy did not work and is not working.

The truth is that Cuba's miserable economy is almost entirely its own fault. The Castro regime has coupled political repression with communist economic policies and the result, predictably, has been total failure and stagnation. But things are changing in Cuba. The government has been experimenting with opening up elements of the economy. By some estimates about 20 percent of the Cuban economy is now in the private sector.

The best path forward for Washington is one that has been recommended by many experts, from Jorge Casteneda, the former Mexican foreign minister to Human Rights Watch. The United States should shift from a policy of regime change in Cuba, which has not worked, to one that promotes reform and human rights aggressively.

President Obama should offer the Cuban government a series of steps that would relax restrictions on trade and travel with Cuba – but only if they are matched by real economic and political reforms in Cuba. Let the Cuban people know, for example, that if its government were to free all political prisoners, the United States would be willing to relax the embargo.

Americans should have greater faith in the power of markets, trade and travel to eat away at the Cuban dictatorship, strengthen Cuban civil society, including private business, and thus change the character of the country. Washington has tried isolation, sanctions, and embargoes against Cuba for more than five decades with dismal results. Why not try capitalism for five years?

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Topics: Cuba • Fareed's Take

soundoff (258 Responses)
  1. ScialistCutAndPasteGuy

    I know Fareed Zakaria lives is a utopian world with Rainbows and Unicorns, but it is pretty insufferable to see him weigh in on issues. Even if his work is his own. He seems to be more a liberal cheerleader, than someone with anything to say. Please replace this urinalist with a journalist!

    December 15, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  2. burn out

    I like this place. There is lots of smart here.

    December 15, 2013 at 11:01 pm | Reply
  3. JoLCat

    The embargo will stay in place. You people here live in freedom while the people of Cuba live under a cruel dictatorship.

    This Castro family don't care about the cubans. No freedom of press, no freedom of movement, speech, no elections since before the revolution, more than 300 political prisoners etc.

    You guys don't know anything about Cuba. Yes I am cuban and I can tell you how 11 millions live under this regimen since 1959.

    Enjoy the freedom you have in USA because all cubans here would like to enjoy the freedom you americans enjoy in USA.

    December 15, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Reply
    • Milton Platt

      Do you live in Cuba?
      It should be obvious that the embargo has not worked, so leaving it in place will only cause more hardship for the Cuban population. Why would you insist on following a policy that hasn't worked after what......about 50 years?

      December 15, 2013 at 11:25 pm | Reply
      • Yanozik

        Yanozik

        So for Milton Platt, if his son use Cocaine and for years he has tried to convince that cocaine is no good for him and he doesn t pay attention to his advice, Milton Platt will start buying cocaine to his son tomorrow. Very smart!
        People in america dont get it. The cubans are not allow to work freely in the country. They dont need Mc donals or Wal Marts, or coca cola. they need freedom or everything. USSR Gave Billions of $ every years for decades and the people lived every day worse, The cuban Gov used that money to export revolutions in africa Asia and Latin america.
        What the Cuban Gov wants is that american banks lend money to the dictaroship, never pay it back and never seat to
        make a deal with the cuban opposition. So you still wants to make busines with the cuban gov? You want to send your Tax to the oppresor ? Actualy that's naive. that is help a Dictator to oppress even more his own people.

        December 15, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • NotAFanCuban

      I don't think Fareed is suggesting that the US take the same path that we took with China where we gave them the cow and allowed them to steal the magic beans on the off chance they might buy a glass of milk. He is promoting something for something. The political prisoners in exchange for ending the embargo.

      December 16, 2013 at 7:13 am | Reply
      • doregroj

        There is no relationship between giving capitalism a chance in Cuba and lifting the embargo. Embargo or not, Cuba doesn't have freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, private enterprise. They have a 1 party system, the communist system. They have a lot of doctors who earn $20.00 a month and are not allowed to leave the country unless they are sent to other countries in exchange for currency that goes to the cuban government. The only doctors allowed to go to other countries are the ones that either have children or husband back in the island as hostage. That is called slavery. The embargo is not going to change any of that. And by the way,, one of the reasons the embargo was put in place was because Cuba back in the early 60's nationalized all private property amounting to billions of dollars for which american companies were not compensated even a penny. Those claims are still outstanding. And the same person that did the nationalization is still running the country, unlike China and Russia who have gone through many different rulers.

        December 17, 2013 at 2:53 am |
  4. Yanozik

    Well , Fareed wants to make business in cuba , b/c he think that s going to change the system. What about china, nothing have changed. The same day Obama was shaking hands with Raul Castro in the Funeral of Mandela , the police and the special troops were kicking the cubans women and men in the streets of Havana and the rest of the Island, that same day so important for the human rigths. Putting in Jail cubans just to try to use the freedom of speech , Just for that. And Fareed thinks he is going to change that just to make business with the dictator?!?!?!
    The Cuban Goverment it is the only employes in Cuba but cannot employ anymore cubans b/c it is broke. So he is "allowing some cuban to work Freely" No choice. Those jobs are very simple, and under huge control of the Gov.
    They will not allow cubans to make too much pesos . Money means independece, Money means that the cubans dont depend from the Cuban Gov. That is not acceptable for the cuban dictatorship. One of those jobs is to burn CD and sale
    programs , music etc of course that is piracy. That is the kind of "freedom" to work in Cuba. Fareed is Too Naive or something else. That is the real embargo in Cuba ist the one that the Gov impose to the cuban people. The Cuban Gov wants is to Borrow money from America , Money that it will never pay back , like always. If you dont believe it Ask to a russian, ask to Venezuela.
    The Real problem is not between Cuba Gov and America, but between The Cuban Gov and The Cuban People,
    The cubans need freedom of speech, work, association, religion etc . The oppression of the Cuban against their own people won't change because USA start trading or lending money to the comunist in power. No more China Please!

    December 15, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Reply
    • Brent

      your argument contradicts itself. money DOES equal power, that's true. and THAT's the point. increase trade and you increase cuban jobs. increase jobs, increase wealth. increase wealth, and, as you said, you increase the people's power. they then use that increased power and economic influence to demand political influence. thus, we put a strain on the cuban political system that it will be increasingly unable to cope with. thus, their system collapses under the very weight of human nature. china is a perfect example of this. as many of them become wealthier they are now demanding more political influence to match their growing economic influence. even the communist chinese government has said that the country needs more democratic elements if it wishes to keep growing. trading with cuba will NOT propagate the dictatorship as you say. it WILL put unbearable pressure on their government to change. and that's the entire point.

      December 19, 2013 at 6:20 am | Reply
    • hui wang

      "What about china, nothing have changed. " Your conclusion is basesless! Capitalism already changed China in the past 30 yrs.. The it is second largest economy now, political change is slow but is going in right direction. Thanks to capitalism. Embargo, Isolation never works! Engagment works.

      December 20, 2013 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • hui wang

      Embargo, Isolution are the most stupid policy!

      December 20, 2013 at 10:02 am | Reply
  5. Yanozik

    So for Milton Platt, if his son use Cocaine and for years he has tried to convince that cocaine is no good for him and he doesn t pay attention to his advice, Milton Platt will start buying cocaine to his son tomorrow. Very smart!
    People in america dont get it. The cubans are not allow to work freely in the country. They dont need Mc donals or Wal Marts, or coca cola. they need freedom or everything. USSR Gave Billions of $ every years for decades and the people lived every day worse, The cuban Gov used that money to export revolutions in africa Asia and Latin america.
    What the Cuban Gov wants is that american banks lend money to the dictaroship, never pay it back and never seat to
    make a deal with the cuban opposition. So you still wants to make busines with the cuban gov? You want to send your Tax to the oppresor ? Actualy that's naive. that is help a Dictator to oppress even more his own people.

    December 15, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Reply
    • Brent

      it's not naive at all. increased trade means increased jobs for cubans. increased jobs means increased wealth. increased wealth means an increase in demands for a voice in government (that can affect people's increased wealth). ultimately, the people demand a democracy. (the basic concept of "no taxation without representation" is universal. it's happening in china right now.) if you don't believe that chain of events, then please name even ONE rich country that has EVER fallen to communism. there are none. poverty breeds communism, wealth ends it.

      December 19, 2013 at 6:12 am | Reply
  6. Phelix Unger

    The Russians used Cuba for their own political ends, then left the economy in the tank when they abandoned Cuba during the early 90's. The Cuban people were never in debt to Russia, the Russians owe Cuba. Cuba lacks some basic human right especially, and certain news in the outside world escapes the average citizen, while I was doing a job there I showed my counterpart foreman and his neighbour a satellite in the night sky, and they wouldn't believe me that it was a satellite, it took a fair bit of convincing, but they accepted what I had said. The were the neighbour hood watch guy coming around seeing what was going on, like the Cuban version of Maxwell Smart. I don't know about much but for the last 500 years someone from outside controlled Cuba and the Cuban peoples future, I know there is racism, buts it like buried just below the skin. The last were the Spanish, who brought so many slaves to Cuba, that was settled with the Spanish American war, then the US set up a puppet government, finally after years of watching their country being controlled from the outside, the Cuban people rose up and managed to kick out most American businesses and people that owned do much of the country, the system changed with a rebellion fought by proxy, with the Russians supporting the rebels and the interests in America were not being paid attention to and by the end of the 50's Castro and Che controlled the country, then in a few years the bay of pigs with Russia, who really wanted to go to Cuba and point bombs at America. The Russians are gone. It was only going to be temporary, but Cuba is ready to open up, they just don't want to be owned by anybody, no business thinking their going after old business ownership, there can be no, you owe us this or that, so don't go down that road. You know when I was down there and I asked where does Cuba go after Castro, and no one would answer, the Cuban people are just like other people. A roof over their heads, food for the kids, and maybe a better future for your children.

    It does take a lot longer to get things done, a day worked in a hard physical job, takes about three down there, if with good communications. I would say on a rate of women in high places in Cuba was surprising. I'll bet the share of women in high profile positions might compete with a capitalist system. Great people just need this yoke off them.

    December 16, 2013 at 2:51 am | Reply
    • Atanacio Luna

      What an intelligent well thought comment. Wish more people had the information, good sense, and manners to present reasoned arguments.
      I am not well informed, I am the first to say it. However, I have a strong feeling that Mr. Zakaria as usual has a good argument. I fully concur that what we have done has been capricious and ineffective. It feels like the TEA party reasoning for 50 years. I say we try something new.
      What is wrong with treating Cuba like any other nation with a dictator? It seems the Castros have done a good job, as dictatorships go. I think what we are really afraid of is that socialism can be shown to work, in a nation next door to us. That really scares us and that is why we have been so unreasonable with Cuba for 50 years. If that is all it is: Let's grow up a little, and not be so scared of reality.

      December 17, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Reply
      • Brent

        castro has not really been good for cuba. it is a lush and could make a fortune from tourism alone. and the people there have the charm and graciousness typical of many hispanic countries. they could be doing MUCH better than they ever did under the castros. this is proven by the fact that the us DID control cuba. we made a FORTUNE there. and any american that watches the news (and isn't a republican) can already tell you that socialism CAN work. look at germany. it was the largest exporter in the world until china took that spot and it still, basically, supports the entire eu. the happiest countries in the world are all in northern europe....and all socialist. even the us is socialist, although the right prefers to ignore it. public education, social security, public roads, etc. all these things are socialist.

        December 19, 2013 at 6:06 am |
  7. Mike MacKinnon

    What a load of trash. The economic struggles of Cuba are caused by the cruel and illegal U.S. blockade not by socialist policies. For all the talk of "freedom" this has exactly zero to do with freedom. It's about one more tragic story of a nation forced by U.S. oppression into an economy of greed and inequality. The Cuban people don't need to go back to being an American playtoy, they have far, far more freedom since the revolution and the repression that does exist, which is far less than is suggested by U.S. propaganda, has been forced upon them by bullying from a imperialist"superpower" 90 miles away which has murdered millions in the name of greed and bigotry. No capitalism in Cuba! Capitalism and freedom are not the same at all.

    December 16, 2013 at 5:58 am | Reply
    • robert

      Doesnt matter all the Cubans including myself all aready in Miami .Whats left get what they deserve.

      December 16, 2013 at 7:33 am | Reply
    • peter

      Couldn't have said it better, Mike. And, Cuba is opening up without the us help (?) and is becoming more market oriented.
      Yet in China where prisoner labor makes rockwell drills, for a bowl of rice a day, nothing is said? There is no slave labor in Cuba. Viva Fidel! Viva Che

      December 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Reply
      • Brent

        capitalism has lifted tens of millions out of poverty in china. and now more and more of them are demanding democracy because they now have a stake in the system. try another example.

        December 19, 2013 at 5:58 am |
    • g2-8621476e47c1886404d6f649be8aeee9

      The embargo from the US has done nothing to Cuba whatsoever, seeing as how Canada, the EU and others AREN'T part of it and have been sending their tourists, etc to Cuba for decades. Get a clue man, the world is not the USA, and in this matter, it's only the USA that has been in the wrong just because it got it's panties in a bunch over what RUSSIA did in Cuba.

      December 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • Brent

      rotflmao. wow. the old "blame america for everything" tactic. AND the old "no...communists aren't REALLY as oppressive as you think" tactic. let me guess, you used the same arguments to support the communists in vietnam also? the ones who unoppressively set up concentration camps? how do you explain the fact that even russians admit publicly that communism was oppressive? or the fact that millions in eastern europe were willing to die trying to escape from the "worker's utopia"? how do you explain the tens of thousands of cubans that willingly floated over to the mean, evil, oppressive united states? get a clue!!

      December 19, 2013 at 5:56 am | Reply
  8. robert

    The embargo lifted would help Cuba .But the dictatorship wants to hang on any way possible.Just a few more years so fidel and raul can die or leave.But judging by whats going on in Venizuela I have come to one conclusion ,You cant cure Stupid.

    December 16, 2013 at 7:31 am | Reply
    • peter

      You said it. I didn't Stupid is what stupid "believes"

      December 16, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Reply
  9. J Sanchez

    The Castro removed Batista because their claimed he was a dictator. However, Cubans are far worse now under this regime than under the Batista. However, I agree that the embargo is hurting the Cuban people not the goverment.

    December 16, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
  10. RSchoon

    Clearly Mr. Zakaria is the only one that paid attention in history class.
    Yes, the dictatorship in Cuba is repugnant, yes, the human rights abuses are criminal, and yes, we should encourage regime change.
    Can the weight of the US economy bring about an end to the repression in Cuba? Gosh, after the Iron Curtain that was going to be around for 100+ years came crashing down 13 years ago, what do you think?
    Should we let the domestic political scene in the state of Florida dictate hold US foreign policy hostage on how the US deals with Cuba? No!

    December 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • Brent

      totally agree. for all of it's flaws, capitalism is still the system that has lifted more people out of poverty than any other. (look at china.) poverty breeds communism. alleviate the poverty and the communism dies.

      December 19, 2013 at 5:49 am | Reply
  11. Rick McDaniel

    Exactly. None of that actually works........because the other powers of the world, just step in to negate it all.

    December 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  12. CTVince

    It's easy to comment on the USA's failed policies. -which you do routinely. Try doing that in Cuba. What moral standard would we embrace, Mr. Zakaria, by propping up a regime that routinely violates the democratic and human rights of it citizenry. It's just more than a business model.

    December 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Reply
    • Brent

      the point is not to prop up the current regime. the point is to end it. as people's wealth increases then they begin to demand a voice in the government that can increase, or decrease, that wealth. we are seeing this in china right now. a voice is government is also known as..... democracy. history shows that communism can only thrive in poor countries where the masses are all for sharing the wealth because they are poor and will sacrifice nothing. they have no wealth. if we increase the wealth in cuba then the average cuban will start demanding influence over decisions that affect their growing income and property. communism may survive decades of embargo, but it can't withstand the voice of the people. it will die when they speak.

      December 19, 2013 at 5:45 am | Reply
  13. Jerry Falwell

    All these ignorant anti-Cuban comments here are extremely disgusting as they only prove just how many ignorant people we have blogging on this website. This current economic embargo on Cuba is stupidity at it's very worst and proves absolutely nothing at all! As long as ignorant people make our laws, this country will always be in trouble! Of course, nobody's going to mention the fact that Fidel Castro did more for Cuba than any man who has ever lived. The defense rests!

    December 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  14. peter

    This guy hasn't a clue. Just spin the spin and keep the job. Laughable, really like McCain in Ukraine.

    December 16, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  15. Tokos

    Everybody (even western citizens) can see now THE CHANCE given by capitalism to the majority of the people!
    Leave the cubans alone, you do not care about them more them more than the Cubans leaders.
    You do net even care about western citizens, so for the others...

    December 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  16. kwabena

    Wow! The info. In the video prior to the story talked about the large numbers of homeless and those in poverty in the us and this dude wants that in Cuba! No they must discontinue free health care and education. And what about the political prisoners in the us. They should also be set free!!

    December 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Reply
    • Brent

      please name america's political prisoners. when bush was president i saw millions call him a blithering idiot. i was one of them. none of us went to jail for it. republicans blatantly LIE about obama (socialist, not born in the us, trying to take everyone's guns, etc) and yet NO ONE has gone to jail for it. again, please list america's political prisoners.

      December 19, 2013 at 5:38 am | Reply
  17. Rick

    Why does CNN allow this Iranian propagandist to post on CNN ?? They should also just offer a job to the likes of Snowdung !!

    December 17, 2013 at 4:57 am | Reply
    • Brent

      what propaganda?! saying that our current policy has failed is not propaganda, it's a provable fact. castro DID stay in power for decades, he DID turn the country over to his brother, it STILL does not have a democracy. all facts. was the iranian propaganda in recommending capitalism as a cure? if that the case then the vast majority of both the american government AND people must have been subverted by iran because we ALWAYS recommend capitalism and democracy as the cure for everything. we can probably be forgiven for this since both lead us to be, you know, the world's only superpower. seems to have worked well for us.
      iranian propaganda? really?! seems to me that he offered a far more intelligent solution and the MOST american one possible. do it our way.

      December 19, 2013 at 5:34 am | Reply
  18. OttawaMensCentre

    No one doubts the number of political prisoners in Cuba
    however at the same time, that pales into insignificance
    the number of political prisoners, the wrongfully convicted etc
    in the jails of the United States which has one of the highest percentages
    of the population incarcerated.

    Cuba uses the United States as its excuse, and fails to show any sign of ending
    it"s police state, and treating it's citizens with fairness.

    The average Cuban can't afford a mobile phone or internet even though the cost
    to provide that service is very little extra to the government.

    Things are changing at a snails pace in Cuba and
    it will continue to be at that snails place absent some
    innovative collaboration that brings a win win scenario
    to both countries.

    Cuba can jump start its economy by
    making it's fiber optic internet connection available to
    the public.

    December 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Reply
    • Atanacio Luna

      I feel your comment is as well reasoned as poor Rick's is disoriented: surnames do not good Americans make, and good Americans are smart, broad-minded, and well informed.

      December 18, 2013 at 12:02 am | Reply
  19. Shawn Irwin

    The USA needs to stay the hell out of Cuba's and every other countries business.

    December 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Reply
    • Jerry Falwell

      Well said, Shawn. Thank you. I see a lot of disgusting, ignorant anti-Castro comments here. The people making them are a bunch of ignorant, dimwitted fools who can't think their way out of a wet paper bag, proving in turn the weakness of our education system.

      December 18, 2013 at 8:56 am | Reply
  20. Bill

    Look oper up trade do you have any idea how much that northwestern coast of Cuba is worth......you rally want to screw with them send downa bunch of American realtor to start a crazy bubble that will really mess thing up.......Then the smart one will really clean up and make a killing

    December 18, 2013 at 9:50 am | Reply
  21. Pietro Angelo Manganelli

    So long as the Cuban regime has a donor country wiling to prop them all the sanctions in the world will not bring them down.

    December 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Reply
  22. Brent

    Unlike many that have posted, I totally agree with this. The reasoning is simple. If I'm poor then I'm a huge fan of communism. I don't mind spreading the wealth around because I have no wealth. I gain something, lose nothing. However, if I have money then I'm not such a fan anymore. Wait a minute! This is MY wealth! Ending the trade embargo would allow Cuba to improve it's economy by leaps and bounds. This would be good for the Cuban people's standard of living.
    But, it wouldn't improve their lack of political rights now, would it? Actually, yes, it would, If I'm poor then I don't really care what the government is doing. I have no stake in the game so they can't damage my interests...which are none. However, if I'm starting to get some money under my belt then things change. I have a house, a small business, maybe I wanna buy a boat one day, etc. All of a sudden the government's policies MATTER to me. Wait a minute! This is MY income you're talking about here! Since the government can now affect my interests I now demand a right to influence the government's actions. Know what they call having a voice in your government? Democracy. Thus, increased trade will lead to both a better standard of living and an increase in democracy.
    Some one posted, "What about China? Increased trade hasn't changed anything there". Really? Increased trade has lifted tens of millions out of poverty in China. In fact, it's been the greatest decrease in poverty in human history. Seems like a positive change to me. It has also increased the number of Chinese citizens that are starting to demand democracy....for the very reasons stated above. Even China's (nominally) communist government has stated that the country needs more democratic elements. THAT is a REAL change.
    Clearly this is a time-consuming process however. Even if we lifted the trade embargo tomorrow Cuba would not magically transform into a capitalist, democratic state the day after. However, it WOULD change and improve. Simple human nature tells us so. And, as Fareed pointed out, the current system has been a dismal failure. The definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results. We certainly need to try something new and get better results.

    December 19, 2013 at 5:24 am | Reply
  23. smarter to work with the giant next door

    It would be so much smarter of Cuba if they realized that you must work with the giant next door than fight with the giant next door! The Castro family effectively "castrated" Cuba for over 50 years.......... absolutely crazy stuff....... Thanks Fareed, you have nailed it again......... 🙂

    December 19, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
  24. sparks2000

    the author first states that Cuba's situation is almost entirely their fault.Then he goes on to speak of isolationism and sanctions which have destroyed the Cuban economy.Which is it?Almost entirely Cuba;s fault,or the fault of US sanctions and policy's.I love contradiction.lol

    December 19, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  25. smarter to work with the giant next door

    One just has to look closely at what the infamous Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse Dung did to China, over a 26 year period, from 1949 thru 1975, to understand how a misguided, violent, paranoid nutcase can cause an entire nation to be "held back" in terms of real progress over a long period of being held within the "grip" of a tyrant! So multiply that by x2, to get 52 years, and you have the equally wonderful communist debacle of the misguided, violent, paranoid nutcase Fidel Castro holding back Cuba......... and the entire world has indeed noticed what happened to China over the last 26 years, after they threw of their communist tyrant "yoke" and cleverly morphed into a Capitalist Nation with a mere veneer of Communism........ maybe Cuba can learn from the story of China, and release itself from its Castro cancer..........

    December 20, 2013 at 2:16 am | Reply
    • Yanozik

      At least some body has common sense, I agree with you.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  26. ivan cruz

    whao
    It never stops to amaze me how narrow minded, and politically ignorant the exiled cuban community is. As a cuban american, with family back home, that helps them on a monthly basis, and lost everything as an exile, let me educate you. The only way the iron curtain collapsed was through relaxation of money flows, all the changes since the 80's, was due through economics, not regime change. Once wealth is gradually introduced all restrictive regimes change, some more than others but the bottom line is that they all change( read the history). From the start of Polands economic revolution to peristrokia, east germany, china, vietnam, etc etc all have made a change (proven multiple times), guess what if my family in cuba can have the same economic freedom enjoyed in vietnam, china, laos. forget what my family lost lets move forward. Please remmember, the most capitalist economy currently is china, and let me remind all hard core anti communists out there. If you have purchased any appliance, clothing or home improvement article in the last 10 years, you have personally contributed to a communist regime's repression against their citizens. So please lets move forward, I agree with Fareed, lets try a new medicine to cure or aleviate the disease.

    December 20, 2013 at 9:10 am | Reply
    • Yanozik

      Yanozik

      Do you know that the private sector that is allow in cuba is "saling mangos on the stress"??? that's happening right now in Any country in Africa, Is that private sector? They are not allow to have workers, invest, or get loans from banks. Nobody can create an industry, That "freedom" for free lance happens in cuba evry 10 years. Than all of them go to jail.
      I wish the situation were different, B/c private sector creates the fundation to be independend from the Gov.But that is not hapening and will no happen in cuba under the comunism.
      I dont blame that you think that way if you have not live in a comunist society.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Reply
      • ivan cruz

        you are half right although most are street vendors, there are also small business that can now hire a few emoployees and the state bank is giving out small loans for start ups and expansion. get rid of the embargo and the financial services will increase and private jobs will be created.

        December 21, 2013 at 8:16 am |
    • Yanozik

      I agree in part, but we has to respect the cuban exile. But i think you are wrong in thinking that the economic freedom have to come from america. That has to come from inside cuba.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • Yanozik

      To those that analys the Comunism in cuba they things work in USA, I show you here an example that hoappens when you try to crack the embargo.
      Alan Gross was arrested four years ago Tuesday while working covertly in the Communist-run country to set up Internet access for the island's small Jewish community, access that bypassed local restrictions. At the time, he was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. government's U.S. Agency for International Development, which works to promote democracy on the island.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  27. Treflip

    I still do not understand why the US has to impose their economic ideologies to a country that just wants their own way of thinking. Why is the government of the united states being so selfish, why don't they give the freedom to choose and let them live how they want to live, why not help another on the way and make it just a little bit easier. Who are these leaders that want all countries to believe in the selfishness of capitalism, it is not the way to go and these last one hundred years have proven so. The world is a greedy, selfish place.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • Yanozik

      USA isnot imposing ideologic, just helping the cuban people to get rid of that long dictatorship.
      If Cuban Goverment wants the embargo to be lifted, Must be paying for all the Industries that stole from US.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Reply
    • Yanozik

      To those that analys the Comunism in cuba they things work in USA, I show you here an example that hoappens when you try to crack the embargo.
      Alan Gross was arrested four years ago Tuesday while working covertly in the Communist-run country to set up Internet access for the island's small Jewish community, access that bypassed local restrictions. At the time, he was working as a subcontractor for the U.S. government's U.S. Agency for International Development, which works to promote democracy on the island.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  28. Yanozik

    Do you know that the private sector that is allow in cuba is "saling mangos on the stress"??? that's happening right now in Any country in Africa, Is that private sector? They are not allow to have workers, invest, or get loans from banks. Nobody can create an industry, That "freedom" for free lance happens in cuba evry 10 years. Than all of them go to jail.
    I wish the situation were different, B/c private sector creates the fundation to be independend from the Gov.But that is not hapening and will no happen in cuba under the comunism.
    I dont blame that you think that way if you have not live in a comunist society.

    December 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  29. KelRiever

    Hyperbole is the only word I can use to describe this report.

    The embargo has had a clear effect. It also happens to send a strong message that, quite frankly, Cuba itself says has been responsible for their devastated economy.

    And you know what? Propaganda based or not, I believe them.

    Sure, you could try to hand wave it away saying Cuba is at fault for its own economy. If you look at things with tunnel vision.

    Cuba is not a power to be reckoned with.

    Cuba's influence in the world is insignificant.

    Cuba screams that it struggles under the sanctions, showing it has worked.

    Yeah, so it hasn't made them friendly to the US. What nonsense to think that was the goal?

    The US does not need Cuba. Cuba needs the US. It is time they admitted their failure and did away with their Tyranny. If not, let them stay stuck in a time warp.

    December 20, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
  30. Cuban Pete, the King of the Rumba Beat

    It's time to lift that embargo.

    December 20, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Reply
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