Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Former U.S. president Carter admits the embargo is wrong and demands the immediate release of the Cuban Five

James Carter in Havana today
Carter has ended his three day visit to Havana and has met with ecclesiastical authorities, U.S. government local employees, sometimes referred to as ‘dissidents’, Alan Gross (a U.S. citizen recently charged in Havana for illegally bringing high technology communication equipment to the aforementioned dissidents), Cuba’s Jewish community, relatives of the Cuban Five, Raúl and finally, shortly before leaving, he was received by Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Carter greets Cuba's Cardinal Jaime Ortega
During a press conference on Wednesday, he said that the United States should lift the embargo, and wished all U.S, citizens could travel to Cuba. He also spoke in favour of the release of Alan Gross.
He declared that the Cuban Five deserve to be back in the island after 12 years of unjust imprisonment after a trial which under any standards has been described as highly irregular.  

Carter and Adela Durwin, President of the Hebrew Council of Cuba
Although as a private figure today, Carter obviously cannot exercise any legal force to end the blockade, and that it is also true he could have used his presidential powers to do it during his tenure as President, it is nevertheless encouraging to see a former U.S. president admit that the approach of all U.S. governments, including his, towards Cuba has always been wrong. 

Raúl Castro sees Carter off at José Martí Airport
However, Jimmy Carter could definitely help ease the tensions and clear the way for a hypothetical dialogue as equals between Washington and Havana. We remain optimistic that at least he can do that now.
It took Carter 30 years to admit the mistake.
Do we have to wait until the year 2041 to see a much older repentant Obama visiting Cuba, telling reporters  that things could have been better, if only ...?

Information from Cubadebate

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