June 13, 2014
Chris Sabatini, Foreign Policy
In the past month, former diplomats and administration officials, business leaders, public intellectuals, and even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have raised questions about the effectiveness of the United States's half-century-old embargo on Cuba. They've dared to propose different ways to promote human rights and change in the totalitarian state. They've called for carefully tinkering with -- but not eliminating -- the U.S. embargo on Cuba to provide more direct, private support for independent civil society, a growing non-state sector, and more connectivity.
From the response, you would have thought that they had called for Fidel Castro to be a judge on next season's The Voice.
Unfortunately, but not unpredictably, these reasonable calls for a public debate on Cuba policy have been met with distortions and personal attacks, as if even daring to raise the question of the efficacy of the monolithic 52-year-old embargo -- the likes of which Washington has never applied on any other country -- is akin to treason. Embargo questioners are denounced as apostates or crony capitalists who must have some other agenda than concern for the future of Cuba and the plight of its long-suffering citizens. Cuban-American signatories, in particular, are singled out for unique opprobrium...