The Rev. Jesse Jackson has called for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States on Cuba over the last 52 years, in an op-ed published on Tuesday by the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The implacable opposition of the U.S. government to Cuba’s presence in hemispheric meetings has practically offended all our neighbors,” said Jackson, who acknowledged that this policy of strangulation against the Caribbean island has operated to isolate Washington.
Jackson, a prominent civil rights activist and a Baptist pastor, who was a candidate in the Democratic Party presidential primaries in 1984 and 1988, said that the embargo against Cuba should have been lifted decades ago.
“The embargo against Cuba has been maintained to a large extent for two reasons. First, (Fidel) Castro made the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the cold warriors feel ashamed, frustrating their attempts to invade the island, destabilize the regime and assassinate him,” he said.
The civil rights activist mentioned domestic policy as another important reason to maintain the measure, particularly through the dependence of the White House on Cuba-American voters in the state of Florida.
He said that this policy is outdated and that the new generation of Cuban-Americans wants to maintain relations with their country of origin.
Jackson said that this “cold and old-fashioned war” against a small island 90 miles away from U.S. coasts should have ended long ago.
“Cubans are freer to travel to the United States than Americans to travel to Cuba,” he pointed out. “Cubans are expanding private property and an encouraging foreign investment.”
Jackson called upon President Barack Obama to take a constructive step to eliminate the embargo against Cuba.
“President Obama,” he said, “can revive the leadership of the United States in the region and put an end to a historic shame.”