- I am thrilled that we many finally be opening up to Cuba. I would throw the doors wide open to free trade, travel, and interchange. I think it is perfectly reasonable to rethink a strategy after fifty or so years of failure.
- I am depressed to see Obama kissing Castro's butt. I shiver to contemplate the future love-fest between Obama and Chavez
- My approach would have been: Fidel, you and your system of government are evil. However, isolating your people from the rest of the world so they don't know how bad they have it is just doing you a favor. We are going to kick your ass with openness, rather than embargoes
- Oh, and by the way, we are going to end sugar tariffs and hopefully start purging HFCS from our food in favor of good old, high-octane pure cane sugar.
Update: According to Radley Balko, Obama is giving Castro moral support without any real increase in openess. Bummer:
At the OAS meetings last week, Obama refused to renounce Cuba's human rights violations, including its imprisonment of political dissidents. It's usually risky to criticize someone for what they didn't say or do, but in the world of diplomacy the absence of any explicit criticism of Cuba's political suppression was conspicuous, and almost certainly wasn't accidental. At the same time, Obama has backed down from his position in the Democratic primaries to open up U.S. trade with Cuba (he actually came down from that position during the general election campaign).
In other words, America's new Cuba policy seems to be one of gradual rapprochement when it comes to engagement with Cuba's authoritarian government, but continued isolation and punishment of Cuba's people. That's unfortunate.
Obama did allow for more visitation between Cuban-Americans and their families on the island last week, but while that's a welcome change, it wasn't particularly bold, brave, or risky. There was almost no political downside at all to the change.