A Good First Step on Cuba

President Barack Obama has relaxed controls over contact with Cuba. Reports the Washington Post:

The Treasury Department formally lifted nearly all U.S. restrictions on family travel to Cuba on Thursday, along with limits on how much money families can send to relatives on the island.

The department also eased regulations prohibiting U.S. telecommunications and satellite linkages between the United States and Cuba and licensing requirements for visitors engaged in agricultural and medical sales.

President Obama first announced most of the changes in April as part of a general opening that he said would allow Americans to reach out to the Cuban people, and he ordered Cabinet departments to take steps to implement the changes. Since then, the administration has also resumed a regular dialogue with the Cuban government on immigration issues and said it would move toward a resumption of direct mail service between the two countries.

This is a good first step, but only a first step.

The Castro Brothers & Co. are a nasty lot, but the U.S. has been trying for nearly 50 years to starve the regime into submission. The Castros’ dictatorship survived the end of the Soviet Union and Soviet subsidies, and appears to be in no danger of collapsing in the near future.

It’s time to try an alternative approach: eliminating travel, trade, and investment restrictions. The Europeans, Canadians, and Latin Americans are all active in Cuba. When I visited Cuba (legally) a few years ago, I stayed at a Dutch hotel. U.S. sanctions have no impact other than to eliminate any chance for Americans to promote change through dialogue and contact. Liberalizing relations might not be likely to result in democracy. But current policy is an abject failure. Indeed, the embargo actually has aided the regime by allowing it to blame its failure on outsiders.

President Obama ran for president promising “change.” This is one issue where he should deliver on his promise.

Doug Bandow, American Conservative Defense Alliance

This blog post is reprinted from Campaign for Liberty with permission.

11 thoughts on “A Good First Step on Cuba”

  1. If this were a truly free country, then US citizens could freely travel to Cuba without a permission slip from their own rulers (sic). There is no declaration of war against Cuba, so there should be no restrictions. If this were truly a free country, then it would respect Cuba's rights to self-determination instead of demanding Cuba get permission from our rulers for their choice of government.

    An Iron Curtain surrounds Cuba and it was constructed by the authoritarian US government.

  2. Nothing points to the stupidity, hypocrisy and dysfunctionality of American politics like the amazingly dumb embargo on Cuba.

  3. One wonders if the Obamunist will reimpose all of these restrictions once he discovers that relaxation of them has planted the seeds of free trade and mutually beneficial exchange between Cubans and Americans. We can't have THAT, now can we? It just doesn't serve the Establishment's best interests.

  4. Uncle Sam has been treating Americans like helpless children for a hundred years. Our betters think they know what's best.

    Any government that dictates what drugs we can take, what thoughts can be criminalized, how much income we can make and keep for ourselves, what wars we will fund against our will and a million other interventions, certainly will see fit to tell us what countries we can visit. Obama is merely the latest despot. He won't be the last.

    1. Are you kidding!? They'd not only keep the embargo, they would find a way to inform the American people that Al Qaeda trained Cubans were forming frogman teams to cross the Caribbean with knives in their teeth, and hijack Greyhound buses to crash into the Washington Monument. Congress would then non-declare a non-war with an authorization to use force! Don't you read the papers, or watch Fox News!?

  5. It was announced today that Obama the Fraud just extended the embargo against Cuba for another year.

    Obama's "change" only runs skin deep, yet the deluded, racist and paranoid Fox News viewers and Limbaugh listeners will continue to call him a socialist, communist, fascist, Nazi and a secret Muslim. What he is really is a beltway conformist and a protector of the status quo. Anyone offering legitimate criticism of Obama should expect to lumped in with the crazed anti-Obama zealots. Idiocracy rules.

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