The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 67/No. 31           September 15, 2003  
Democrat Howard Dean
supports U.S. embargo of Cuba
(front page)
Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, currently at the front of the pack of contenders for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2004, has announced his support for continuing Washington’s more than four-decade-long economic war against Cuba.

“If you would have asked me six months ago, I would have said we should begin to ease the embargo in return for human-rights concessions,” Dean told reporters at an August 24 dinner in Seattle, according to the Miami Herald. But, “we can’t do it right now.” He cited as a reason the April trials and convictions of 75 individuals in Cuba for collaborating with and accepting money from U.S. government representatives to undermine the Cuban Revolution.

In taking this stance Dean joins most of the other Democratic Party presidential contenders. Sen. John Kerry announced August 31 on NBC’s Meet the Press that he, too, supported keeping the U.S. trade sanctions against Cuba. Florida senator Robert Graham and Connecticut senator Joseph Lieberman—Albert Gore’s running mate on the 2000 Democratic presidential ticket—are both outspoken supporters of the embargo. Missouri congressman Richard Gephardt, too, is a staunch supporter of Washington’s aggressive policy toward Cuba. And, according to the Herald, Sen. John Edwards has “spent months meeting with exile leaders to study the issue.”

Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and New York politician Alfred Sharpton have taken positions in favor of easing Washington’s trade restrictions with Cuba. Speaking in Iowa this past May, Kucinich said the embargo should be lifted “to open up Cuba” as a new market for capitalist investment and trade. Dean’s position is consistent with his overall foreign policy stances, such as backing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, arguing for a stepped-up “war against Al Qaeda,” and advocating renewed negotiations with north Korea to pressure it to end its nuclear program, while threatening “in private” to go to war over that issue. He has criticized the Bush administration’s tactics in going to war against Iraq with “inadequate planning and without maximum support” from other governments.  
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