THE MARCH 3 letter from Carlos Gutierrez, US secretary of commerce, demonstrates why the United States is isolated in its Cuba policy ("Cuba must change before US shifts"). Gutierrez's focus on the impact of tourist dollars fails to mention the use of those tourist dollars to maintain a healthcare and education system that provides Cuba's citizens free universal healthcare. Cuba's infant mortality rate is superior to that of the United States, and its life expectancy is comparable to that of major industrialized nations. Cuba guarantees its citizens free education through the post-graduate level, and has successfully addressed illiteracy.
To demonstrate the degree of repudiation of US policy, one need look no further than to the United Nations. Each year for the past 16 years, the General Assembly has voted to demand that the United States lift its unilateral embargo. Each year the number of countries voting against the United States has increased, resulting in a 2007 vote of 184 in favor of Cuba, four against, and one abstention.
The United States should join the rest of the world, and engage in mutually respectful bilateral talks and work toward normalizing relations with Cuba.
The writer is a cochairwoman of the National Network on Cuba.