The Absurdity of the Provisions in the Cuba Embargo

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryAlthough Brian Evan Singer will not be a household name like Brett Kavanaugh, his name has made some headlines. In this case, he was arrested by Florida state authorities on his small ship called the “La Mala” for smuggling electronic equipment to Cuba. Singer had hidden the electronic equipment in a secret compartment behind a cabin bed. The electronic equipment in question were 300 Ubiquiti Nanostation Network M2 devices valued at $30,000. These devices can send or receive WiFi signals from as far as six miles. Such equipment is strictly controlled by Cuba’s state-own company Etecsa, and thus anyone in Cuba receiving such devices from elsewhere is strictly illegal. If Singer was caught in Cuba he could have been given a lengthy jail term. But this is not what happened. Since M2 devices are considered a violation of the U.S. embargo on Cuba (and a threat to national security), not having a license to export them to Cuba is a felony. Therefore, Singer will be spending his time in a U.S. prison.

Because of this, Singer got 78 months in jail. The odds are Singer would not have gotten a license to export the M2 devices, and because of the embargo he has become a felon where in the case of other countries he could have simply done trade deals that would have earned him a good deal of money. Of course, many things that could be exported to Cuba and the regular trade that could have gone on with Cuba remains dead in its tracks because of the embargo. I am by no stretch of the imagination for the Communist Party of Cuba, but the whole embargo is a leftover from the days of the Cold War. We do not have any such thing in regards to China, Vietnam and Laos. In fact, we have diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. The embargo remains as an appeasement to the old conservative Cuban American organizations and associations that still have influence in American elections in Florida. And since Florida is an important state for national elections, Republicans aim to keep those Cuban American organizations and associations with influence happy. It is time that America abandons the out-dated and anachronistic embargo against Cuba. It makes no sense to make felons out of those who by going anywhere else would simply be doing business.

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