Anyone who thinks that more economic pressure, or ultimatums, will force the Cuban authorities to stop arresting political dissidents and embrace democracy have learned nothing from history. For more than half a century we have tried a policy of unilateral sanctions and isolation, and it has achieved neither of those goals. Instead, it has been used by the Cuban government as an excuse for repression to protect Cuba’s sovereignty. It has hurt the Cuban people, not the Cuban government. And it has provided an opening for our adversaries and competitors, like Russia and China, in this hemisphere.
It was time for the United States to lead on this, work with the international community and enforce sanctions in a way that did what? That, within a short period of time, brought the apartheid regime to offer up to the international community that atomic weapon and to say: We are done with it. And for the South African apartheid regime to say, in terms of elections: Next year we are going to hold free and fair elections in South Africa–in terms of the release of Nelson Mandela and in terms of his election to President of South Africa.