Cuba has been a thorn in the side of the United States since the late 50s. Kennedy compounded matters with the Bay of Pigs fiasco as well as the Cuban missile crisis, and we have never been able to get our relations straight since.
President Obama is looking to open up more relations with Cuba. For example, he is proposing allowing family memebers to legally visit Cuba, and possibly send funds to relatives there. Easing of some travel and trade restrictions as a cautious first step towards better ties with Havana, raising hopes of an eventual lifting of the four-decade-old economic embargo.
Additionally, different US companies are strongly lobbying the Obama Administration to open up trade barriers with the Communist nation.
Frankly, I am in favor of these moves. After 50 years of a failed diplomatic policy, something must change. The trade embargo to Cuba has done more to harm American businesses than it ever did to hurt Fidel Castro and his regime. You could even argue that it hurt the poor population of Cuba more than the communists.
Several members of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus visited Havana this week, and met with Fidel and Raul Castro. Fidel Castro has been gravely ill for two years, and his brother has been running the country.
The only problem with this trip is that the members visiting clearly are among the dumbest politicians in America.
For example, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri. Cleaver called his trip the most interesting he had ever taken. He said he preached Sunday at an Episcopal church where he was allowed to speak freely and meet privately with congregation members. An interpreter was at Cleaver’s side throughout his trip. “To see all of these myths melt right in front of my eyes was something to behold,” he said. “We’ve been led to believe that the Cuban people are not free, and they are repressed by a vicious dictator, and I saw nothing to match what we’ve been told.”
In a statement following the meeting today, Castro said that the delegation had expressed to him that a segment of American society “continues to be racist,” and is at least partly to blame for the travel restrictions. But the delegation said those remarks were not expressed in the meeting. “That did not happen,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), told reporters. So is Mr. Cleaver calling our brother Fidel a liar, so soon after praising his tropical paradise? I guess the question is, do we trust the great Fidel Castro or Mr. Cleaver. Hmmm…tough choice.
Rep. Bobby Rush said that Castro is the consumate survivor…yeah, against us, the United States. Maybe Rush should decide exactly which country he is backing before making such ludicrous statements.
Rep. Laura Richardson said that there were many people in Cuba who were in better situation than people in her district. I think that speaks volumes about her leadership in her district. The average wage of the average Cuban? $200 a month. This is the same woman who had her home foreclosed on last year, and still owes over $9,000 in property taxes. Yeah, right.
Democrat Representative Barbara Lee stated, “America’s harsh approach toward our nearest Caribbean neighbor divides families, closes an important market to struggling U.S. farmers, harasses our allies, and is based on antiquated Cold War-era thinking.”
Yes. I am sure the Cuban government allowed these Congressman to see the prisons and holding camps that the Castros have had in place for decades to hold political prisoners. I wonder if Cleaver even asked to see those. And as for Ms. Lee, I agree that the current policy is absurd. but there is a reason we are still employing Cold War thinking in regards to Cuba: they are still a communist country, with no free speech or free political discussion.
I also am always curious why these politicians go to Cuba, meet with the Castro regime, and never meet with the pro-democracy movement down there. What, are true democrats not worthy of speaking to? Or are they all in jail?
I am for changing the Cuban dynamic. Clearly, our policy has failed for half a century. The trade embargo has been one of our biggest foreign policy failures. But let us not delude ourselves. Cuba and their communist regime has harshly ruled the country, has imposed a dictatorship without any political discourse, that has been so bad that people are willing to fling themselves on rubber dingies to cross the ocean to Florida.
Let us change our policy to Cuba. Remove trade and travel restrictions. But don’t fool ourselves of the reality that the Cuban regime is evil. It is simply a fact.