|Cubans at the Ecuadorian embassy in Havana, Cuba (Photo: 14yMedio)|
It seems that many in the media are confusing the effects with the underlying cause and it is not only with the question of Cuban migration, but also with the sanctions placed on the Cuban dictatorship by the United States. The reason for the poor relations between the Castro regime and the United States is not because of the embargo but just the opposite. The reason for the embargo on the Castro regime is to safeguard U.S. taxpayers and not have them subsidize a dictatorship hostile to U.S. interests.
The Cuban embargo was first imposed on the Castro regime on January 3, 1961 by President Eisenhower in response to the confiscation of U.S. properties and toughened by President Kennedy a short time later. The logic for economic sanctions was to raise the cost for the Castro regime to engage in subversion in the hemisphere. Unfortunately, the reason for the embargo still endures.
Cubans were fleeing the Castro regime prior to and following the embargo. However in 1965 the Lyndon Johnson Administration was faced with the Camarioca Boatlift, an migration crisis provoked by the Castro regime. Kelly M. Greenhill in her February 2002 paper, Engineered Migration as a Coercive Instrument, gave an analysis of what the Castro regime did and how the Johnson Administration responded that can be briefly summed up as follows:
All the above took place before the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA) even existed. The CAA was brought into existence on November 2, 1966 due to the humanitarian crisis spurred by the communist dictatorship in Cuba when hundreds of thousands of Cubans found themselves in a legal limbo that necessitated the creation of the Cuban Adjustment Act.In September 1965, Castro announced that any Cuban who had relatives living in the US could leave the island via the port of Camarioca, located on Cuba’s northern shore. Castro also invited exiles to come by sea to pick up family members who had been stranded on the island, following the suspension of commercial flights between the two countries during the Cuban Missile Crisis three years earlier. Two days later he began offering two flights daily from Havana to Miami. ... By unleashing his “demographic bomb,” Castro demonstrated to the US government he could disrupt its immigration policy and the opening of the port at Camarioca carried with it a “lightly-veiled” threat, namely that Havana, not Washington, controlled Florida’s borders. Almost overnight, and with little warning, the Castro regime had presented the US with a major refugee crisis. President Johnson initially responded with contempt to Castro’s move, making a speech before the Statue of Liberty in October 1965, in which he proclaimed that the US would continue to welcome Cubans seeking freedom “with the thought that in another day, they can return to their homeland to find it cleansed of terror and free from fear.” However, after the numbers of those leaving the island began to escalate, Johnson quickly changed tack and began a series of secret negotiations with Castro. The result, announced the following month, was a “Memorandum of Understanding,” a formal agreement that established procedures and means for the movement of Cuban refugees to the US.
Cubans historically have not been the only people to enjoy this special privilege but others such as the Hungarians, Czechoslovakians, Vietnamese and others have benefited from similar measures although for shorter periods. They did not come to the United States pursuing the American dream but fleeing the communist nightmare in their own homelands.
The common denominator was not economic sanctions but that these regime's systematically denied the human rights of their nationals under communist dictatorships, including the right to enter and exit their own country.
Sadly, Cuba today remains a communist regime with first generation leadership firmly in charge. No other people who suffered under this type of regime was able to overthrow first generation leaders due to their will to hang on to power with extreme brutality.
The Castro regime for decades has sought the elimination of both the Cuban Adjustment Act and economic sanctions on the dictatorship. However both continue to be needed the Cuban Adjustment Act to protect fleeing Cubans from a repressive communist regime and the Embargo on Cuba to defend American taxpayers from the predation the Castro regime has visited on many other countries to the tune of billions of dollars.