Way Past Time to Open Up to Cuba

I thought we should have opened up years ago to Cuba, even when they were at their most totalitarian.  After all, 60 years is probably enough time to prove sanctions are not enough to bring Cuban leadership to their knees, and in the intervening time we have seen any number of examples of the power of trade and open interaction helping to topple bad regimes.

Unfortunately, I think we have been prevented in doing so by pure ego (we don't want to admit a failed policy we put so much bipartisan effort into) as well as Florida electoral politics  (anti-Castro votes considered swing votes in a swing state).  I don't know what to do about the latter -- we have ethanol subsidies for the same reason (ie Iowa's prominence in the presidential selection process).   However, with Cuba currently mitigating some of its worst socialist impulses, it strikes me that now is the time we can overcome the ego problem and simply declare victory.  Unfortunately, we now have a President that may want to continue punishing Cuba, this time for lowering taxes and reducing the size of government.

  • Ignoramus

    11 US Presidents later, and Fidel is still puffing on Cohibas.

    I do entertain a few way out-there ideas. One is that every incoming President gets an envelope from the outgoing. Inside is JFK's personal 8mm collection (Marilyn Monroe!) ... the real alien autopsy photos from Roswell Area 51 ... and details of Castro's complicity with the Soviets in JFK's assassination. It'd explain our half-century continued animosity to Castro:

    Ex-Marine and lone gunman Oswald defected to the Soviets before he came back to the USA. He travelled to Cuba just before he shot JFK. The Soviets have been implicated in other political assassinations, including the attempt on Pope John Paul II.

    If you think this crazy, LBJ publicly said as much just before he died.

  • Mark

    The "Iowa prominence" bringing about ethanol subsidies is a myth.
    States that get major bucks from ethanol are
    Illinios
    Minnesota,
    Iowa,
    Nebraska
    South Dakota
    Missouri
    etc.
    Basically all of the Midwest.

    And why does the Midwest produce nothing but corn and soybeans? I think it has something to do with government sponsorship of the products. It days past Iowa did Apples, berries, oats (Quaker Oats largest cereal plant is in Cedar Rapids, IA, but now all the oats are brought in from somewhere (Canada?) by train)

    There are also a large number of people in Iowa who are very dubious of supporting the ethanol subsidy, but they are not quite enough, and also not quite worried enough - having other issues which take priority to really care.

  • Mark

    I know Iowa doesn't grow sugar because of the sugar price support program. Though Iowa has good soil for sugar beets, beets grown would not be allowed to be sold for anything but animal feed.

  • tehag

    As the first act of openness, I suggest sending all our hardened criminals on a reverse Mariel boat lift. That ought to be open enough.

  • http://myweeklycrime.blogspot.com Elliot

    "...60 years is probably enough time to prove sanctions are not enough to bring Cuban leadership to their knees..."

    <nitpick>

    So, you're wanting another 13 years? (2010 - 1963 = 47)

    </nitpick>

  • John Moore

    I have sometimes also wondered if the sanctions have been maintained as a punishment for Castro's involvement in Kennedy's assassination. It seems possible that, with the CIA trying to kill Castro, Castro wound up the loose cannon Oswald and turned him loose with some hope of success.

    However, I do suspect it is now just FL politics.

    It is time to drop the embargo. Americans go there already, but only leftists, who come back their pre-conceived ideas reaffirmed by the Potemkin Village they are allowed to see. If lots of Americans could go, those silly ideas would be deflated, Cubans might have a better chance at freedom, and Americans would have more freedom.

  • http://www.jamesgraham.bz JamesG

    Cuba's problem is not -- and has not been -- our embargo. It's problem is the same that afflicted Albania and Poland during the glory years of marxist domination and that afflict North Korea today: it's a totalitarian communist country.

    Cancel all restrictions tomorrow and basically nothing will happen in Cuba.

    Proof: there are (surprised?) wealthy highly competitive Western economies -- Germany, Japan, France, Italy, etc. -- with many powerful multinational companies (Siemens, Tesco, Toyota, Fiat, etc) whose governments have absolutely no restrictions on dealing with Cuba yet none of those companies -- none! -- have invested a dollar in Cuba for the simple reason that they are forbidden to do so by the Cuban government.

    By all means lift the restrictions but stop stupidly thinking it will make a difference.