Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Problem With Cuba: They Don't Have Pandas

The thing about introducing bold, progressive policy is that you're never going to please everyone, not least the people whom the policy is meant to help. Case in point: President Obama's newly lifted restrictions on travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens who have family on the island. On both sides of the Cuba debate, one thing is clear: the policy is flawed, limited, and an (un)intentional endorsement of Fidel Castro's regime.

A fair enough point, so, can we talk about China for a minute and how we can't get enough of their trespasses on human rights? If we can court and applaud a regime that's one billion plus people strong and hell-bent on scorching the earth with contaminants and poisoning the world with lead-tainted products, we can surely extend an olive branch to our friends south of Miami.

You know what the problem with Cuba is? They don't have pandas. If they had cuddly, droopy eyed pandas then the US would be all over them. Alas, the island nation only has miles of sugar cane and tobacco.

People, would you like to go back to the Cold War and the Bay of Pigs fiasco?

Of course Barack isn't endorsing Castro's regime, he's not even saying that Castro was right all along. What our country is realizing, after forty years of misguided, stubborn policy, is that with 90 miles of water between the U.S. and Cuba, and lots of heartache on both sides of the divide, it's time for new thinking on the subject - and who better to guide that thinking than the U.S.? A conciliatory approach to foreign relations is not an admission of defeat, it's an acknowledgement of the fact that trying to work together toward coexistence is better than ignoring each other all together.

True, the Cuban government is going to impose a 30 percent tax on remittances - an exhorbitant fee for sure - but that's just grandstanding by La Revolucion in the wake of all this pro-USA sentiment that's likely resurged in the country now that the embargo is showing the first signs of easing up. I would expect for these fees to come down soon enough once the initial wave of media interest in this story dies down.

My take on the matter: it's time for a new point of view on Cuba. The US is finally seizing an opportunity to realign the thinking of the Western Hemisphere toward a pro-democracy, pro-US stance.


Anonymous said...

Did you know that the 1996 Helms-Burton law, which fortified and extended the embargo, was signed by none other than President Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, lifting the embargo won't be easy. It'll require an act of Congress. Frankly, I never believed the Castros really wanted the embargo lifted. It's not like they have all that much left holding their nationalist political show together. We'll see what concessions the Cuban government makes toward democratization. It's also high time Congress makes some moves toward solving once and for all Puerto Rico's political status. Puerto Rico's territorial status is still pretty


Anonymous said...

I'm sick of all this bs about Cuba. To your point, China is so much more of a problem but because we're in bed with them ecomonically, we'd never prevent Americans from travelling there. Do we really care whether Americans travel to Cuba or not? It's a tiny island.