The Cuba Advocate

Year 58 of the Revolution

Embargo: economic arsenal of death

By Rev. Bob Carlsten

Economic policies kill and maim innocents just as surely, though not as dramatically, as obliteration bombing. The casualties are many times the number of those resulting from all bombs since the start of WWII for the same period of time. Policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that were initially designed to have U.N. oversight have been given over to the transnational corporations who control said institutions; somewhat akin to the fox guarding the coop. The overwhelming majority of the people in all countries who are “bombed” by these policies have no input as to their development and, worse yet, no political recourse to ameliorate their effects.

The most hideous of weapons in this economic arsenal of death and destruction is the embargo. The 37-year-old embargo placed on Cuba unilaterally by the U.S. is not only counter-productive to our own interests, but it has more damaging affects on their entire population than if we had unleashed chemical or biological warfare on that small neighbor. I must confess that I am weary of reading arrogant replies from senators and presidents alike that try to justify the harm we do to innocents in the guise of helping them see the light of democracy and human rights. If we were truly concerned about their human rights and dignity, shouldn’t we at least listen to the people most affected as we did in South Africa? In my visit to Cuba, and talks with human rights activists both there and here, I have not heard of any residents supporting the embargo. It is only wealthy Cubans and the likes of Jesse Helms — who want to dominate, exploit and hear the poor cry “uncle” — who promote this insane policy.

Dominance is like a cancerous disease in the soul of our world! At times it seems that it is nowhere more pernicious than in our own national psyche. From family life to sports to power politics, it invades every institution and fiber of our being, including my own sinful soul. Theologians such as Walter Wink, Robert Keck and Scott Peck are but a few of the growing voices calling for a healing of the disease of dominance in our relationships. Jesus was the epitome of a non-domineering person, but unhappily the Church that professes his name often yields to domineering ways and means.

When dominance couples with economics, they make Bonnie and Clyde look like a couple of do-gooders. One small step we could take as a nation to heal ourselves and exit the role of global cop (or bully, depending on one’s viewpoint) would be to defeat the Helms-Burton legislation that expands the Cuban embargo. A second step might be to honor the U.N.-expressed desire that we lift the embargo and let the free trading chips fall where they may. Can we also find it within our national soul to honor the U.N. for 50 years of accomplishment and give it the needed power to place checks on those seeking world domination?

[Reverend Bob Carlsten is a Denver minister .]


March 3, 2009 - Posted by | B - Cuba Articles

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