Posts Tagged ‘diplomatic relations with Cuba’

Make America Great By Resurrecting Failed Policies

June 17, 2017

While not the complete reversal it’s made about to be, President Trump changes the terms of former President Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba.

The move doesn’t help Cubans. From Matt Welch’s article:

As Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a supporter of Obama’s approach, told Reason in Havana 18 months ago, “These aren’t sanctions on Cubans, these are sanctions on Americans….It’s not a concession to allow your own population to travel. That’s an expression of freedom.”

To support this crackdown on Americans, Trump claimed that “The previous administration’s easing of restrictions on travel and trade do not help the Cuban people—they only enrich the Cuban regime.” But that claim does not survive contact with reality. American tourists give money directly to Cuban Airbnb operators, street musicians, private restaurant owners, and artists, many of whom now own their own property. Sure, those entrepreneurial Cubans have to cough up various tributes to the state, but there is no doubt that their own personal lot has improved. As Flake told us, “You have about 25 percent of Cubans who work fully in the private sector….The big change [since 2001, when he started visiting there] is the number of Cubans being able to not have to rely on government and therefore can hold their government more accountable.”

Trump attempts a “tear down this wall” moment with this quote: “We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled.”

Insert your own joke here.

Advertisements

Cuban Policy Reform

December 17, 2014

“In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas.”

That is from President Obama’s speech, discussing the re-establishment of partial diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Senator Marco Rubio’s reaction deserves special attention. He claims this move is “providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba” and mockingly states the ability to “buy Coca-Cola” will not improve the economic fortunes of everyday Cubans. Also, there’s this statement:

“I don’t care if the polls say 99 percent of people in Florida want to lift the embargo. I would still be for (keeping) it,” Rubio said. “My goal is freedom and democracy in Cuba, and the embargo gives us leverage.”

My counterpoints to Senator Rubio:

1. Don’t you think our embargo has done more to make the Castros “permanent fixtures” than any attempt to normalize relations?

2. Instead of trivializing freer markets, maybe we should recognize the power of more open markets to improve Cubans’ livelihoods. That appears to be happening as we speak.

3. I don’t believe majority rule should dictate everything, but it’s a funny thing to invoke support for “freedom and democracy” for a policy that imposes burdens and is losing the support of your constituency.

It’s not like President Obama’s action overturns 50-plus years of policy towards Cuba; further congressional action is needed. Maybe Senator Rubio has more faith in the efficacy of government than I do; personally I’d prefer policies toward other communist countries that encourage them to become “richer and more prosperous, because that’s a potential trading partner, customers for our products and services.” Which will also do more to undermine political oppression than any embargo.