CFC President Ambassador Otto J. Reich’s letter to the editor in The New York Times

The New York Times, December 27, 2022

To the Editor:

Re “Largest Exodus Imperils Future of Ailing Cuba” (front page, Dec. 11):

Cuba has had many mass migrations since 1959. In fact, the exodus has never stopped, only waxed and waned as the government alternatively cracked down or encouraged emigration, or as the means to escape became more, or less, easy.

In the nearly 64 years of communist rule, one of every six Cubans has left the island. More than ten thousand have drowned or disappeared in the Florida Straits, trying to reach the freedom of the U.S. Scores have been murdered by the regime’s security forces trying to escape.

This depopulation is not because of U.S. sanctions; it is because of political repression and Marxist economics. Fidel Castro himself, while alive and the sole ruler, ridiculed the embargo, because he was receiving ample economic aid from the Soviets. It was only when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 that Castro began blaming the U.S. for the problems communism had created.

Otto J. Reich
Falls Church, Va.

The writer is the president of Center for a Free Cuba and a former diplomat in the Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations.