[Marxism] Obama strengthens Cuba blockade

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Tue Sep 15 18:43:57 MDT 2009

Obama did not "strengthen" the Cuba blockade. He has merely continued it,
and as the article notes, since the Helms-Burton Act, it is no longer within
the president's authority to lift this measure, although he can weaken it by
having the executive branch issue licenses that legalize otherwise
prohibited activity. This he has already done very substantially in relation
to Cubans in the U.S.; visits and remittances have increased substantially
because the Bush-era once in three year restriction on visits and miserly
limit on remittances have been lifted. 

As for other restrictions that he could lift on travel and businesses, there
are all kinds of petitions pending. It looks like Obama at this time is not
prepared to do much more than what he's already done (which was what he
promised in the campaign) at least for the time being. But what he has done
does not "strengthen" the blockade. And you'd need to study the legislation
closely to assert that his continuing the "state of emergency" isn't
necessary to the license-granting authority of the executive. I seem to
remember that Helms-Burton was formulated in that way, i.e., those
provisions took effect if the executive failed to act. But that was many
years ago and someone would have to check the exact provisions of that law.
If what I remember is right, then what Obama has done is to merely preserve
the executive branch's authority to waive elements of the blockade through
specific licenses. 

At any rate, given the relaxation of restrictions on Cubans in the U.S., if
you tell someone who has been following the issue closely that Obama has
strengthened the blockade they're likely to look at you a little funny. 


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