Cuba deserves praise — and needs reforms. But it’s for Cubans to decide.

[This letter first appeared in The Washington Post. The writer, Manuel Gomez, is an occasional contributor to Progreso Weekly. We thought this was important to reproduce here.]

As a Cuban American, I was saddened to read The [Washington] Post’s April 3 editorial “In Cuba, a symptom of deepening despair”:

Yes, Cuba suffers shortages of many essentials, but there is no widespread hunger or a collapse of its health-care system. On the contrary, Cuba has contained the coronavirus epidemic far better than most in our hemisphere, including the United States, and is on track to vaccinate all Cubans with a homegrown vaccine by the fall. And all of this while also undertaking major changes in its economic system, including many we supposedly want to see happen.

Considering the vitriol surrounding Cuba policy, some may consider me an “apologist,” but still I must wonder why The Post editorializes about some minor, and even false, complaints from tiny dissident groups that engage in publicity stunts directed and financed by our tax dollars, without primarily denouncing the inhumane six-decade-old embargo, and the measures added by President Donald Trump.

Cuba has many features to praise, and I know it also needs reforms. But it is for Cubans to decide how to undertake them, not for the United States to try to impose them through an embargo that has not only caused much of their economic suffering, but also the siege mentality of its political system.