Every now and then, amid all the spam and junk from angry partisans and lunatics, there comes a thoughtful email from a reader that makes a reporter just happy he's doing his job. So I reached out to the sender (a 23-year-old Miami Republican who votes the party line) and decided to just post his study and his entire note (plus my added hypertext) below:
My name is Andrew N. Estevez, I just graduated in 2013 from the University of Miami with a Master's in International Business Administration. Your article on the front pages of the Friday Herald really struck a chord with me; not only because I am born of Cuban parents and have a Venezuelan girlfriend who passionately participates in all the Miami rallies for change in Venezuela, but also because, in my final semester at UM, I wrote a research paper analyzing the ineffectiveness of the United States' embargo on Cuba.
My paper is entitled Insanity. On the second page there is a quote from Albert Einstein that reads:
"Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Senator Rubio has presented a sophisticated strategy that addresses the flaws in our Cuban policy created half a century ago. Our economic embargo only led the Castro regime to strengthen ties with other tyrants around the globe. Prohibiting our trade did not stop them from trading with the rest of the world, it was only effective in restricting us from smoking nice Cuban cigars. Much worse, our policy gave Castro the fuel he needed to convince the citizens that their horrible living conditions are the result of the US embargo; when actually they have more than enough access to resources that could provide their citizens with the freedom they deserve.
In my paper I also address how the Obama administration has become totally lax on the embargo restrictions. Last year over $250,000,000 went to Cuba from the U.S. through trade and remittances - at this point the embargo hardly exists. Sec. of State Kerry said in his OAS speech that our citizens are the best ambassadors we have for inspiring change in Cuba. In a time where policy is so meekly defined, he is probably right. If we send more Americans who carry our culture to Cuba we can give the people there a taste of what freedom is really like - this will probably fan the flame lit under the Castro regime.
That taste of Impirialismo is what has given the Venezuelan people aspirations for what their country could look like if they eliminated their corrupt government, and gained more economic freedom. Therefore, the Senator is right, economic sanctions (like our policy on Cuba) will be ineffective, as they will only give Maduro a reason to blame us for their dilapidated economy. Sanctions on individuals would be far more effective as it would force officials to seek improvement of their country's economy once they are stuck there and not permitted to come on the weekends to shop in Aventura Mall. Unfortunately, this policy is not helpful at this point in Cuba, because I am sure that Fidel and Raul could care less about losing their Miami shopping privileges.
Thanks again for the great article! I am glad you are giving this issue the spotlight it deserves. I'd be honored to contribute to the Herald in any way on these topics if it would be helpful.
Blogger's note: Thank you, Andrew. Your note and study were more helpful than you'll ever know. Keep up the good work.