Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Baby Step In The Right Direction

According to the NY Times, President Obama is set to announce an easing of some restrictions with respect to Cuba.

President Obama plans to abandon longstanding restrictions on family travel and remittances to Cuba, an administration official said Saturday, fulfilling a campaign promise in a pivotal swing state and signaling a possible warming of relations with the Castro government.

As the article notes, Congress wants to go further and lift all restrictions on travel to Cuba for Americans. Neither the White House nor Congress, however, are willing to even discuss the lifting of the trade embargo against the small island nation just 90 miles offshore, and that's a shame.

The embargo hasn't worked. It didn't cause the Cuban citizenry to rise up and throw off the shackles of the Castro dictatorship, it just made them poorer. The current policy will stay in place until the Cuban government responds in some way to the easing of restrictions to be announced by the White House. While that may be how real politic is played, it is unfortunate and certainly inconsistent with a great deal of US foreign policy the last 40 years.

We don't have a trade embargo on China or Saudi Arabia, yet neither country is exactly a shining example when it comes to human rights. We never imposed economic sanctions or cut off diplomatic relations with the military dictatorships in Latin America when their leaders were busy "disappearing" their citizens. The difference, of course, is that Cuba is tiny, poor, doesn't have much in the way of oil or any other desired commodity, and it is communist.

Those other countries also don't have a sizable emigre community concentrated in an electoral swing state. At this point in history, however, the Castro brothers are aging and so is the current Cuban American leadership. I suspect that President Obama is mindful of the imminent changing of the guard, and this first, cautious step is a way to open the door just a crack.

It's only a baby step, but at least it's movement. For that I guess we should be grateful.

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Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

I'll be grateful for olympic long jumps.

Baby steps?

Fyuck dat. We're all full-grown people around here, iirc.

I want those who pretend to represent me to at least ACT adult...

Yeah, I don't satisfy easy. I cant get no...

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm opposed to torture. For Woody, I'll make an exception. And dick cheney, who's thought processes are identical to woody's, I'll also make an exception.

7:12 PM  

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