The new year brings another anniversary for Cuba’s revolution and another chapter in the long running debate in Washington over whether U.S. policies are weakening Fidel Castro’s decades-long rule or merely increasing the suffering of his people.
A bipartisan group of legislators is pushing to end restrictions on the sale of U.S. food and medicine to the island. But while critics evoke images of Cuban children going hungry or sick because of U.S. policies, the administration argues that these conditions are the byproduct of a deeply flawed system.
Past efforts at easing the U.S. embargo have always fallen short, but advocates for change believe they are in a stronger position this time. Still, support for maintaining the status quo remains strong.
“In trying to send a message to Castro, we’re denying the people of Cuba access to the most basic humanitarian items and harming the innocent and the needy,” says Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.