'US embargo on Cuba a failure'

Campaign News | Sunday, 22 February 2009

Top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations committee says the US should re-evaluate its 'ineffective' policy of economic embargo on Cuba.

In a letter accompanying a report set for release on Monday, Sen. Richard Lugar said the policy of shunning the communist nation by imposing a strict trade embargo has failed to affect the island and needs to be reconsidered.

"By directing policy toward an unlikely scenario of a short-term democratic transition on the island and rejecting most tools of diplomatic engagement, the US is left as a powerless bystander, watching events unfold at a distance," said the report .

"We must recognize the ineffectiveness of our current policy and deal with the Cuban regime in a way that enhances US interests.”

It warned that the unilateral embargo on Cuba has not only failed to 'bring democracy to the Cuban people', but also has further pressed the country's impoverished population.

The report was prepared by Republican staff members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who traveled to Cuba in January.

The document calls for removing Bush administration restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba. US president Barack Obama during his presidential campaign had also said he would lift the restrictions.

Senator Lugar said the election of Obama and the replacement of Cuba's legendary leader Fidel Castro -- a staunch US critic -- by his brother Raul have created an opportunity for Washington to think over the effectiveness of US policies towards the Latin American nation.

"It is clear that the recent leadership changes have created an opportunity for the United States to reevaluate a complex relationship marked by misunderstanding, suspicion, and open hostility," he said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also ordered a review of US policies toward Cuba.

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