As an American who lived and studied in Venezuela (pre-Chavez), now living in Argentina for a number of years, I cannot think of a good reason not to begin normalization of relations with Cuba. It just makes so much sense for the U.S. on so many levels. Politically it's a huge win the the U.S. throughout Latin America, a region so important yet neglected. It's been a huge win in public relations from the Caribbean down to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. God knows we could use a few friends in the world, given all we have either offended in the last 13 years. Economically, Cuba is small potatoes. But given its proximity to the U.S. (Key West is closer to Cuba than it is to Miami) and Cuba's symbolic importance politically in the region, there is no better way to remove what influence they have than by gradually bringing them into more normal relations.
The Cold War has been over for 25 years. Cuba isn't an outpost of the old USSR anymore. They lost that sponsor in 1989. They are losing Venezuela as a sponsor because of crashing oil prices. Even if Cuba opens gradually economically at first, political change will follow. The Wall Street Journal fully supports relations and economic ties with Cuba. Other than some understandable feelings of older Cuban Americans and the cries of a few politicians like Ted Cruz and Rubio. There isn't a logical argument against normalizing relations.
Now let's see if Obama follow up for a change. Let's see if this is more than just another lofty speech and an attempt to save his legacy. It's clear that nuclear negotiations with Iran are going nowhere. Relations with powers like China and Russia haven't been this bad in decades. The Middle East is within ruin or on fire. There is no better time to begin the process of bringing Cuba into the society of western nations than now.
In case you missed it, the end of the Cold War did not result in the liberation of the Cuban people. Cuba may not be "an outpost of the old USSR anymore," but the Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact, which established the United States as the guarantor of Communism in Cuba, is still in place (Russia, as the successor state of the USSR, inherited all its treaty obligations).
You recognize that the Castro regime is "losing Venezuela as a sponsor because of crashing oil prices," but rather than use that lever to force Castro into democratic concessions that he would not otherwise make except under duress, you prefer to bail the regime out and receive in return no assurances that human rights will improve on the island. It seems that saving the regime is what matters to you, not the survival of the Cuban people. Remarkably, you don't even mention them or their plight in your entire comment.
The fact that the WSJ supports the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the end of the embargo simply shows that it caters to the interests of the robber barons who see Cuba as just another market and couldn't care less about the human rights of its people. Certainly Cuban children can sew sneakers for 5 cents an hour just as well as Vietnamese children can, and it would cost a lot less to transport those sneakers to the U.S. from Cuba than it would from Vietnam. There's another "logical argument" for normalizing relations with Communist Cuba.
If you ask Cuban's whether they are better off under Castro or Bautista, I wonder what the answer would be. The issue is for 50 years we isolated Cuba in the hope that it would bring down Castro and it didn't work. Try something different. The Cuban refugees in this country are still mad because they had to give up their property and status to flee for their lives. If they were so good to the average Cuban, why did they flee to the USA?
Yes, why can't the Cuban people freely express what they think about Castro in democratic elections? Because Castro won't let them. The Cuban Revolution was predicated on the restoration of democracy. Instead, Castro installed a Stalinist regime which denied all civil and human rights to the Cuban people and reduced a country which once had the third highest GNP in the Western Hemisphere to a pauper state. One must have the greatest contempt for Castro's victims, and, indeed, think of them as something less than human, to believe that the only choice that they should ever have is between Batista and Castro. BTW, Batista died more than 40 years ago, and his supporters today, if he has any, are older than Fidel Castro. I suppose, however, that when Poland was still a captive nation you argued that its only choice was between Stalin and Hitler.
Your points are understood but the US has long had normal relations with countries that deny basic rights to their citizens. The entire Middle East -- sans Israel -- for starters. China too. The embargo is useless.
This is your argument: "I am friends with my neighbor who beats his wife, and because I want to be fair, I must befriend every wife beater even those who are not my friends."
But seriously, if we're going by morals we already trade with much worse countries.
If you were going by morals, you wouldn't.
Yep. We support some of the most oppressive regimes in the world, e.g. China, Saudi Arabia -- yet there is hardly a whimper of protest. But if Cuba had oil -- or made all the crap we buy at WalMart -- there would never have been an embargo. I'm not saying the Castro regime has been good -- but they have been no worse than many of the totalitarian regimes we support. It's time to move on already. What good is an embargo when every other country in the world still trades with Cuba? It's madness.
And has the fact that "every other country in the world still trades with Cuba" resulted in the restoration of democracy there? Has swarms of Canadian and Euro-trash tourists (as well as 600,000 Americans in the last 5 years) resulted in any improvement in human rights on the island? It seems that engagement with the Castro regime yields absolutely nothing that would justify consorting with its tyrants. Why, then, taint yourself by underwriting those tyrants and perpetuating their tyranny? Supporting the regime by extending diplomatic recognition to it or trading with it shows only your contempt for the Cuban people, its victims.
Euro-trash tourists? My, you have a way with words! and 600 thousand Americans? I'd like to see some support for that figure--it sounds grossly inflated. Who said anything about underwriting tyrants? The embargo has done NOTHING.
Deal with it.
I could provide you with all the documentation that you want for that figure. But what would be the point? Would you admit that you were wrong and that trade and tourism will only prop-up the regime rather than reform it? And Euro-trash tourists, as I'm sure you know, are the middle-aged male pedophiles who flock to Cuba to enjoy with impunity those "people to people contacts" that they dare not chance at home. In your mind, of course, these degenerates and their American counterparts will constitute a literal beachhead for democracy in Cuba.
If Cuba had oil this would have been done years ago. I hope this doesn't hurt Paul's presidential campaign.
If Communist Cuba had oil, it wouldn't need to be bailed out.
Potential Republican Presidential Candidates at Odds Over U.S. Lifting the Cuban Embargo