Monday, April 13, 2009

This Is A Strange Day

Image credit: CIA World Factbook

This is a very strange day, because I find myself agreeing with Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN):

With momentum building in Congress for a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, Sen. Richard G. Lugar called on President Obama to appoint a special envoy to initiate direct talks with the island's communist government and to end U.S. opposition to Cuba's membership in the Organization of American States.

The nearly 50-year-old economic embargo against Cuba, Lugar (R-Ind.) said in a March 30 letter to Obama, puts the United States at odds with the views of the rest of Latin America, the European Union and the United Nations, and "undermines our broader security and political interests in the Western Hemisphere."

Lugar Urges Obama to Open Talks With Cuba, Ease Restrictions

The Soviet Union, which supported and protected Cuba as a Communist ally, folded almost twenty years ago. In all the time since, there's been little or no reason to continue the boycott. Now, Fidel Casto, the man who ruled Cuba for most of the last fifty years, is now largely out of the picture. Even the symbolism of Cuba's communist past is ending. Cuba hasn't been a danger to us in decades. Yet, because a small group of former Cubans in Florida overwhelmingly favor the boycott, it has continued.

President Obama has agreed to change the policy on allowing family visits to Cuba and to allow some telecommunications links, but little more. Thankfully, Congress is ahead of him for once:

Lugar is a co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate this week that would end all restrictions on travel to Cuba except in cases of war or direct threats to health or safety. Cuban Americans with relatives living on the island are currently allowed to visit once a year. A similar bill in the House has more than 120 bipartisan co-sponsors.

Lugar Urges Obama to Open Talks With Cuba, Ease Restrictions

It's high time our Cuba policy changed, and as Sen. Lugar points out, the upcoming Summit of the Americas would be a good time to start.


One Fly said...

This can't happen soon enough kinda like our third war on drugs. What a difference this would make in peoples lives.

Cujo359 said...

Not sure of the cost of this policy relative to our "war on drugs", but it's certainly just as irrational. On the Cuban side, it probably hurts a lot more people.