A report to be issued this week by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, on U.S. policy toward Cuba is right on the mark, according to George A. Lopez, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
The report sharply criticizes the U.S. use of comprehensive sanctions toward Cuba and recommends an overhaul of U.S.-Cuba relations.
“In Cuba, sanctions imposed by the U.S. have devastated the lives of ordinary people without bringing any political change in the country,” said Lopez, who has written five books and dozens of articles on economic sanctions.
“Sen. Lugar has moved us beyond ideological debates to a pragmatic discussion of whether comprehensive sanctions actually work. In Cuba, they clearly have not, and the senator’s call for a recasting of policy should be heeded immediately.”
The report from Lugar, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, indicates that recent leadership changes in both the U.S. and Cuba create an opportunity to redefine their relationship. The report could have gone even further to address the harsh realities left by so many years of devastating embargoes, Lopez said.
“These penalizing sanctions have skewed the production sectors of what’s left of the Cuban economy,” he said. “Some of the Cuban economy is now run by `sanctions busting’ criminal networks that do not disappear once sanctions end. Other sectors are dysfunctional due to sanctions. It is in the interest of security in the U.S., Cuba, and the region to deal with these economic dislocations and illegal actors through analysis, planning and coordinated action. And it must happen soon.”
Media Advisory: Lopez’s comments may be used in whole or in part. He can be reached for interviews at 574-631-6972 or firstname.lastname@example.org _.
Originally published by newsinfo.nd.edu on February 24, 2009.at