Tuesday Open Thread: Time To Lift The Cuba Embargo ?by Doug Mataconis
With today’s announcement that Fidel Castro is stepping down as President of Cuba, the curtain is drawn on one of the longest international rivalries of the 20th Century.
Yes, Fidel’s brother Raul is taking his place, and, yes, Cuba remains a one-party dictatorship, but this announcement leaves me with the feeling that we are seeing the beginning of the end of Cuba’s totalitarian history.
Which leads to a question — is it time for the United States to lift it’s near total embargo against Cuba ?
For the past 50 years, Americans have not been able to travel to Cuba (although people do go there through Canada and Mexico), they haven’t been able to sell anything to the Cuban people, and they haven’t been able to buy anything from them. The United States doesn’t even have diplomatic relations with Cuba.
From the beginning, the rationale for the embargo was that the United States didn’t want to strengthen the Cuban regime, but that rationale never made sense. Even during the height of the Cold War, we were trading with, and had diplomatic relations with, the USSR, China, and all of Eastern Europe behing the Iron Curtain. We’ve been trading with Vietnam for nearly two decades now and we have an ambassador there. But not Cuba.
Politically, it’s simply been impossible to even address this issue before now. No President — Republican or Democrat — wanted to raise the opposition of the powerful anti-Castro Cuban lobby in South Florida. But now that Fidel is basically gone, isn’t it time to start treating Cuba like every other nation in the world ?
I think the answer is yes.