Tunnel of leaves on a country road in Cuba
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez earlier this week unveiled a report saying that U.S. economic sanctions had caused Cuba more than $751 billion in damages.
So what does President Barack Obama really think of the embargo? That depends, I suppose, on Obama's audience and prevailing political winds.
In 2004, while campaigning for the Senate, Obama called for eliminating the sanctions. He said it was:
time for us to end the embargo with Cuba.... It's time for us to acknowledge that that particular policy has failed.In 2008, Obama told members of the Cuban American National Foundation that he would keep up the pressure on Cuba. An article called "Yes We Can Pander!" in Reason magazine quoted Obama as saying:
I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice: if you take significant steps toward democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations. That’s the way to bring about real change in Cuba—through strong, smart and principled diplomacy.