Obama Got It Right On Cuba

Representative Kevin Cramer sent out a press release yesterday evening reacting to President Barack Obama’s recent move toward more normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba. Not only does Cramer agree with President Obama’s move, it seems our Congressman supports lifting all trade sanctions with Cuba.

From his press release:

I support the lifting of sanctions against Cuba. After more than a half-century, there is no political or economic progress to show for shutting out Cuba’s economy. This change creates a new trading partner for American businesses, especially in agriculture, and opens up new opportunities for Cubans to prosper along with us. While I believe this is a prudent decision by the President, he needs to keep the Cuban government on a short leash. If the benefits of this new trade opportunity only enrich the Castro brothers at the expense of the people of Cuba, then we need to re-evaluate.

I think Obama’s move was the right one, but I also agree with Cramer that we ought to go further. I wish Cramer had been more clear about the extent to which he supports lifting sanctions, but I wonder why keep any trade restrictions with Cuba?

Some might argue that we’re simply propping up the Castro regime, but I’d point out that decades of Cold War-era restrictions haven’t exactly destabilized the dicators. In fact, the U.S. sanctions have given the Castros an enemy to rail against. A handy scapegoat for all their nation’s ills.

Far from undermining Castro’s, our sanctions have likely done a great deal to keep him in power.

An influx of capitalism onto the island would do more to loosen the grip of the country’s dictators than decades worth of sanctions.

How Cubans are governed is up to Cubans. If they’re tired of the Castro regime then let them replace it. But in the mean time, we can improve their lives significantly by being trade partners. The more they’re exposed to economic and social freedom, the more they may come to want it for their own nation.

Besides, the sanctions against Cuba have always been just a bit hypocritical given our enormous trade relationship with countries like China which have a track record of human rights violations and sins against individual liberty every bit as bad as Cuba’s.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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