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Good for Pope Benedict!

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Good for Pope Benedict! During his trip to Cuba this past week, not only did he criticize Cuba’s embrace of Marxism and the Castro regime’s infringements on religious liberty and civil liberty, he also condemned the 50-year-old U.S. embargo on Cuba. He pointed out that the aim of greater freedom in Cuba was not helped by economic measures that “unfairly burden” Cuba’s people.

Don’t you just love it when American Christians proudly proclaim that America is a Christian country while they continue to support their government’s embargo on Cuba? Would one Christian — just one — care to explain how the U.S. government’s cruel and brutal embargo against Cuba can be reconciled with Christian principles?

Let’s see. There is the commandment that says that one should love his neighbor as himself. Christ said that that was the second-greatest commandment. Please, American Christians, show me how a government policy that is designed to inflict massive economic harm on innocent people — and that has inflicted such harm — and that continues to inflict such harm — can be reconciled with that commandment.

It can’t be. Those American Christians who wear their religion on their sleeves while, at the same time, supporting the U.S. embargo on Cuba are nothing more than hypocrites, just like those that Christ had to deal with when He walked upon this good earth.

What is the U.S. government’s justification for the embargo? Here’s how U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner responded to Pope Benedict’s condemnation of the U.S. embargo: “Our Cuba policy is focused on improving relations between the American people and the Cuban people.”

What? That’s obviously just a crock, nonsensical statement. It’s just one of those big lies that corrupt governments throughout history tell, knowing that many of their citizenry will just accept without question. Hey, maybe we should be grateful that at least Toner didn’t mention the standard “national security” crud we’ve heard since 1960 to justify the U.S. invasion of Cuba, the embargo, the assassination attempts, the partnership with the Mafia, and the many acts of sabotage and terrorism against Cuba.

Hey, Toner, how about explaining to us exactly how your lovely little embargo improves relations between the American people and the Cuban people?

You can’t do it. You know as well as I do that your lovely little embargo is intended to hurt the Cuban people. It is intended to starve them to death. It is intended to kill them, just like your lovely little embargo on Iraq killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.

What’s the real reason for the U.S. embargo on Cuba? It’s personal, vengeful, and vindictive. For one thing, the CIA has never gotten over its failure to effect regime change with its invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. And the U.S. government has never gotten over the fact that its 50 years of inflicting suffering on the Cuban people with its embargo has never succeeded in effecting regime change in Cuba.

That was the purpose of the embargo in the first place — to cause so much suffering among the Cuban people that they would finally get angry and initiate a violent revolution that would oust Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and their communist comrades from power and re-install a pro-U.S. dictator, like the one that preceded Castro into power.

Never mind that countless Cubans would die in such a revolution. In the minds of the U.S. national-security establishment, their deaths would be considered “worth it” — that is, worth replacing Castro with a pro-U.S. dictator.

Moreover, the CIA and the Pentagon are undoubtedly still upset that the Cuban military has never ousted Castro in a coup and established a pro-U.S. military dictatorship, like the U.S.-supported military dictatorships in Guatemala, Chile, Pakistan, and Egypt.

The fact is that the U.S. embargo on Cuba has no legitimacy whatsoever. No constitutional legitimacy and no moral legitimacy. It is an act of aggression against a sovereign and independent regime, one that has never attacked the United States, never initiated assassination attempts against U.S. officials, and never engaged in acts of terrorism against the United States.

Of course, the CIA and the State Department would undoubtedly claim that the U.S. government has the legal and moral authority to inflict harm on people who happen to be living under a communist regime.

Oh? And where does that authority come from? I certainly don’t see it in my copy of the Constitution? And from a moral or religious perspective, since when can a political regime inflict harm on another nation’s citizenry simply because their government officials hold a particular political or economic philosophy?

Oh, and I have another question for you, Toner: How does the embargo on Cuba expand the freedom of the American people? Don’t your people in the Justice Department go after Americans who travel to Cuba and spend money there without the required U.S. government-issued license? Don’t they prosecute them criminally and ask the federal judge to send them to jail for a long time for daring to travel to Cuba and spend money there without a government-issued license? How can a legal requirement to get a license that enables a person to spend his own money be reconciled with basic principles of freedom? How can being put in jail for spending your own money without government permission be reconciled with the principles of economic liberty?

Let’s face the uncomfortable truth, Toner: Your cruel and brutal embargo on the Cuban people is nothing but a socialist-fascist type of economic control that is used not only to harm the Cuban people but also to control and punish the American people.

After all, Toner, how are your economic controls on the American people different in principle from those of Fidel Castro? Aren’t you controlling Americans’ economic activities in the same manner that Castro controls the economic activities of the Cuban people with his socialism?

Oh, and by the way, Toner, you do realize, don’t you, that one of Castro’s socialist pride and joys is his government-provided healthcare system? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what you people in the U.S. government are fighting for too?

Admit the truth, Toner: Your cruel and brutal embargo does nothing to improve relations between the Cuban people and the American people. It is nothing more than a hypocritical, immoral, vengeful, personal attack on the freedom and well-being of both the Cuban people and the American people.

After all, what better way to improve relations between the Cuban people and the American people than by simply lifting the embargo? In that way, the American people would then be free to travel to Cuba and spend money there — free to interact with the Cuban people — free to visit with them — free to share ideas and perspectives with them — free to share music with them — free to associate with them.

In other words, Toner, pray tell: What better way to combat Cuba’s communist and socialist system than through American freedom? Why in the world have you people in the U.S. government adopted communist, socialist, and fascist methods to defeat communism and socialism? How does that benefit the American people? How does it benefit the Cuban people?

American Christians will soon be going to church in droves on Easter. While they celebrate the risen Christ, unfortunately they will continue to do what they were taught in American public schools. They will continue to defer to the authority of Caesar by supporting Caesar’s 50-year-old program of inflicting as much economic harm on the Cuban people as possible, in flagrant violation of God’s sacred laws and commandments.

Good for Pope Benedict for issuing a much-needed condemnation of the U.S. government’s evil, immoral, unconstitutional, and hypocritical assault against the Cuban people.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.