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A column is more than a headline

My recent column in the Los Angeles Times seems to have angered lots of people--just as I hoped it would. However, most of the people I heard from were not angry for the reason I had hoped they would be. My principal argument was that ordinary Cubans, like those in my recent book The Cubans, have lived with wartime food rationing for the last 60 years. In the piece I point out that the U.S. embargo of Cuba has also lasted 60 years and though it is not the cause of the shortages that plague the island, and make people go hungry, it has made it harder and more difficult for Cubans to find food. (You can read the entire article at What got so many upset was the headline, which I didn't write, so that instead of being incensed that so many people are suffering, the tweeters and e-mail haters defended the embargo and laid all the fault at the feet of the Castro regime. I will never hesitate to criticize Havana and the old men who have run so much of the island into the ground, but neither can I overlook the failure of the embargo to bring change, and the cruelty of continuing it despite that. To the argument that the Cuban government can buy anything it wants from any other country, I would respond by asking, If so, then what good can the embargo do?


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