Hit & Run

Cuba Libre, Starring Butch Otter

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Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, whom I profiled before his election last year, is in the news for trying to break down the embargo on Cuba.

Otter's first Cuba visit came in March 2003, as a congressman. That trip was organized by the Lexington Institute.

"We're doing the exact same things that we did in the '50s when we cut Cuba off and threw them into the arms of the Russians," Otter told me, riding in the front of an air-conditioned Havanatur bus during his fourth Cuba visit, earlier this month. "We're isolating ourselves from them, we're not talking, we're not doing business deals, we're not exchanging products, thereby exchanging values. We don't have to agree with everything they do. But understand it."

…The question often asked is, what will happen when Cuba opens up? But Otter, and the growing coalition of Congressional bedfellows who oppose the embargo, like to remind us that it is not Cuba that is closed. It is the United States.

The whole piece is sort of rambling, but it's a nice snapshot of what happens when a bona fide libertarian (and friend of Jeff Flake!) is elevated to a statehouse, with all the power that provides.