Trading With The Enemy

It May Sound Like a Heinous Crime, but Thousands of Americans Violate the Cuban Embargo Every Year

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Michael Krinsky, an attorney who specializes in Cuban affairs and business dealings with embargoed countries says, "it's an utterly meaningless standard. The Congress recognized that in 1977, but the Cuban issue was too hot to handle. The world has changed, and the cold war is over. No one can suggest that Cuba is a threat to our security or economy now." Krinsky says that with political calculation in the second term of a Clinton presidency, ending the embargo would attract minor backlash from south Florida while garnering tremendous praise from American business interests--which have missed out on millions of dollars earned by European and South American companies.
State Department officials say that the laws won't change overnight. One expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says, "it won't be solved with the stroke of a pen. We want freedom and democracy in Cuba." But the official does not claim that Cuba is a threat to the economy or security of the United States, which, according to the law, is what necessitates the continued sanctions.
For Customs, the embargo is a nuisance that leaves agents caught between strict enforcement and the ambiguities of a system unable to fully enforce the law. The outspoken agent on the Miami em-bargo-enforcement task force evaluates the Cuban situation in the harshest terms. "It's been a failure for 30 years. I hope it doesn't go on much longer."
Mike Chingon November 10, 2010 7:04pm ET

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