Foreign Policy

U.S. Takes First Steps to Fix Cuban Policy: Here's What Pundits Are Saying

The good, the bad, and the Lindsey Graham.

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Castro
Wikimedia Commons

President Obama announced Wednesday that the U.S. will establish diplomatic ties with Cuba, a huge milestone in U.S.-Cuba relations. While only an act of Congress could repeal the embargo that has existed since 1960, this is a vital first step in allowing market forces to eventually improve the lives of Cubans who have languished under dictatorship for more than half a century.

For fans of human freedom and economic opportunity, the news is undoubtedly encouraging. Over the years, Reason has frequently written about the need to open up Cuba to market forces. As Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) told Reason TV in 2011, "the whole trade embargo is silly." Flake explained that it was wrong for the American government to limit its citizens' interactions with Cubans.

Unfortunately, all too many Republicans remain committed to Cold War-era posturing on outdated and ineffective national security measures. Neocon Sen. Lindsey Graham leads the pack:

I will do all in my power to block the use of funds to open an embassy in Cuba. Normalizing relations with Cuba is bad idea at a bad time.

— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) December 17, 2014

And he has plenty of company, according to The Huffington Post:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), another member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was equally blunt. Appearing on Fox News on Wednesday, the Cuban American slammed the administration for the expected announcement, which he called "absurd." …

"Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama's naiveté during his final two years in office," Rubio said. "As a result, America will be less safe as a result of the President's change in policy. When America is unwilling to advocate for individual liberty and freedom of political expression 90 miles from our shores, it represents a terrible setback for the hopes of all oppressed people around the globe."

But neoconservatives aren't the only critics of improved relations with Cuba. Some Twitter leftists seem depressed about the prospect of their tropical island socialist paradise transforming into a capitalist hellhole:

Cuba has the best doctors in this hemisphere. I'm glad that Obama will overwhelm them with all the corporations that killed Cuba before.

— War on Xmas Jeb Lund (@Mobute) December 17, 2014

I'm very glad I was able to visit Cuba several times before US tourists try to turn it into Cancun

— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) December 17, 2014

booking my Cuba vacation now before there's a Starbucks, a McDonald's, and a bank on every block

— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) December 17, 2014

It would appear there's more overlap between delusional, angry neoconservatives and authoritarian-worshipping leftists than one would expect, huh?

To end on a positive—and highly sarcastic—note:

It is crucial that we not abandon the Cuban embargo, given its obvious success in ousting the communist regime.

— Jim Antle (@jimantle) December 17, 2014

Stay tuned for more news on this front. In the meantime, read more from Reason on the Cuban embargo here.

NEXT: Hackers Threaten Attacks If Sony Releases The Interview, Major Theater Chain Declines to Show the Film

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  1. When America is unwilling to advocate for individual liberty and freedom of political expression 90 miles from our shores

    Shut up Cruz. Did you ever consider that diplomatic relations could be used to do just that?

    1. That’s a Rubio quote.

      1. My bad. Shut up Rubio. Cruz should probably still shut up about something.

        1. Cruz should go back to his native Canada.

          1. “When America is unwilling to advocate for individual liberty and freedom of political expression 90 miles from our shores”

            ^This^ from a Senator who is constantly voting for new legislation that makes us less free within our own shores.

            Brilliant.

    2. It’s especially bad given that normalizing relations could conceivably result in Cuba loosening rules about travel as well – in which case we would be fighting for individuality by allowing Cubans to immigrate here.

      I also think it’s fundamentally impossible for a Cuba with normal trade with America to remain authoritarian. The economic behemoth 90 miles to the north is going to absolutely overwhelm the Castro regime with the wonder of capitalism.

      1. Yup. Let them get a taste of American tourist dollars.

        1. Good old Coca-colonization.

          1. Needz moar Starbucks. But skip the McDonald’s and go straight to Chipotle.

            1. I love that tweet. Typical leftist snob.

              They want every shop to be local, organic, and non-gmo, but don’t understand that there economics at play.

          2. Oh please. That’s much better than they have now. They question is how will Cuba progress and modernize once the Castro brothers move on in the future. Will, for example, it become a Costa Rica or Venezuela?

            Either way, this is a good development. For once I can say Obama did an appropriate thing.

      2. Tell it to China and Vietnam.

        1. While they are still “Communist”, they do seem to have been largely overwhelmed with the wonders of capitalism. If China had stuck with hard core Maoism, the Communists wouldn’t have lasted this long.

        2. “Tell it to China and Vietnam.”

          Both of which have seriously liberalized their economies and dragged millions of people out of poverty.

          Those are success stories. You’re proving my point.

          1. Yet still are authoritarian police states.

            1. What is with people in this comment section behaving like drastic improvements aren’t worthy of celebration just because things aren’t perfect yet?

              I’m sure Cubans would trade places with the Vietnamese in a heartbeat from an economic growth, freedom, and well-being standpoint.

              1. What is with people pretending that enriching authoritarian governments benefits the people living under them?

                1. So are you saying that ordinary people’s lives in China and Vietnam have not significantly improved since their governments started liberalizing their economies?

                  As far as I can tell, that is very much not the case.

                2. “What is with people pretending that enriching authoritarian governments benefits the people living under them?”

                  Are the hundreds of millions of Chinese people who are now out of poverty all members of the ruling class? It seems to me they’ve benefited, and unless you think they’re all inner circle members of the Communist Party you have no basis whatsoever to argue that the average Chinese person has not benefited.

                  You’re basically just ignoring the benefits afforded to the average Chinese person because you refuse to acknowledge things can get better while a country remains authoritarian. There’s no reason to make the perfect the enemy of the good, and it is an indisputable fact that the AVERAGE Chinese person is vastly better off today than even 20 years ago.

                  Your refusal to acknowledge that has no bearing on the basic facts of the matter.

          2. Both remain authoritarian, arbitrary dictatorships, but that is an upgrade from totalitarian.

            And it is a lot easier to leave them nowadays.

            Voluntary emigration is still a pipedream for Cubans.

          3. Tell that to all those arrested in Hong Kong.

    3. Rubio.

      …racist.

  2. First time in six fucking years the administration has done something that I basically agree with. I am terrified to see how they will fuck it up. Perhaps they can start droning wedding parties in Havana.

    1. Everything will demand a trigger warning. That’ll be the legislative compromise.

  3. I have just stopped caring about Cuba. Every other country in the world sans Cuba and North Korea has managed to throw off the yoke of Leninism. If the Cubans can’t manage that, I don’t see why that is my or the U.S.’s problem. In a just world the Castros would have been hanged decades ago. If the Cubans don’t have the collective will to do that and would rather live in shit, that is their problem not mine.

    I don’t care if we trade with them or embargo them. I am just done with the entire issue. It is clear to me that most Cubans must like living in a prison in their own shit or they would have risen up and done something about it. Who are we to say they can’t do that?

    1. That’s way harsh. The majority of Cubans and North Koreans are dirt-poor and probably hopeless.

      I hold far more contempt for the idiots in Venezuela who are still voluntarily choosing to head down the path of totalitarian socialism, but even there, there is a large opposition that is unable to do anything.

      1. I have contempt for them as well. But Cuba is no worse and no more oppressive than the old East Germany and probably not as bad as Romania was. And yet, those people managed to rise up and rid themselves of their Marxist oppressors. What the fuck is the Cuban’s excuse other than a good number of the population must like it?

        1. Isolation imposed by the US for no reason other than habit?

          1. Yeah because the US intervened so much in Romania.

            And you are a communist Tony. You should be happy the Castros have stayed in power.

            1. If much of the population likes their silly tinpot leaders, then I consider that a form of their victimization by that regime. I’m first a democrat, of course, and your equating run-of-the-mill support for social democracy with authoritarian communism means you’re foremost an idiot.

              1. Communists and socialists often call themselves ‘democrats’. You have the added feature of neglecting Mill’s warning of ‘tyranny of the majority.’

                1. I don’t neglect it at all, thank you.

            2. I would like to say john, the only thing that would make you an idiot, even though we disagree on much, would be if you respond to Tony.

              Just sayin.

              1. ^That! Just pry open the door to Cuba enough to let the citizens have some wider access to the Internet.

                When they discover what’s happened in the world in the past 50 years, they just MIGHT make some moves in the right directions.

                We’ll see… it’ll take years for results to really show up.

                But… I still think this is a last-ditch plan on Obama’s part to not be seen as a Total Fuckup President when his record is written in history books.

          2. Except there is no isolation imposed by the US. Cuban doctors are working all over South America as well as in Africa. Cuba is free to trade with all of Latin America, with Europe, with Africa, and with Asia.

            I hate the embargo, but their poverty is largely the result of Communist economic policies, including wage ceilings. Blaming the embargo and lying about Cuban isolation is just a way for dictator worshipers like yourself to ignore the consequences of policies you admire.

            1. You don’t think having no trade with the overwhelmingly dominant nearby economic power has a role to play in its economic conditions? But yes let’s just use Cuba as a proxy for our ideological fixations. I hasten to point out that the only examples of the kind of purist economic system you favor are places where a dominant economic activity is the exchange of child sex slaves.

              1. You don’t think having no trade with the overwhelmingly dominant nearby economic power has a role to play in its economic conditions?

                He never said or implied that you idiot.

              2. the only examples of the kind of purist economic system you favor are places where a dominant economic activity is the exchange of child sex slaves.

                Care to provide an example?

              3. Poland from the 1950s to the 1980s traded with the overwhelmingly dominant nearby economic power. Fat lot of good it did the Poles. Ditto Hunagry and Romania.

                1. Cuba trades and does business with the EU and Canada and it’s still a shit hole.

                  I. Wonder. Why.

              4. Tony, if lack of trade with 300 million Americans is the problem for Cuba, why haven’t they had any success trading with a few Billion citizens of Other countries in the world?

                Maybe it has something to do with their own ‘economic policies and beliefs’?

                No, of course, right?
                🙂

          3. Cuba can trade with every other country in the world, and there aren’t many things that can only be obtained from the USA. Their isolation is imposed by the Castro cult. If Cubans were free to leave their prison, that island would be depopulated in a decade.

            -jcr

          4. Isolation imposed by the US for no reason other than habit?

            The US has not imposed isolation on Cuba. Every other country in the world is free to do what they want with Cuba.

            Typical lefty tunnel vision. Nobody does anything anywhere unless and until it is a reaction to the US. Its like foreigners aren’t really people, or something.

    2. John, they tried to rise up. There was the war against the bandits, which was savagely defeated (with summary executions of any rebels who made the mistake of surrendering).

      Castro ran a network of concentration camps that nominally were disbanded in 1972, but in reality the people sentenced to those “villages” have never been allowed to leave.

      The intelligence service is much like Saddam Hussein’s, and its pretty much impossible for a rebellion to start because the guy asking you to join is likely working for Castro. The population is balkanized, and too poor to do more than struggle for their daily sustenance with little energy or time for rebellion.

      1. Okay. Then export huge numbers of guns to them. And if they are “balkinized” such that they won’t unite to kill the Castros, whose fault is that? Sure the communists did their best to create that. But nothing is making them not stop and set aside their differences and kill the rat bastards. And there are tons of Democratic dissidents in Cuba just like there were in Eastern Europe. Yet, they never get anywhere. That isn’t all the government. Some of that is the Cuban people themselves.

        1. I think the guys with gumption to do something flee to Miami.

          I predict (using my never-wrong crystal predicting ball) increased trade and an increased standard of living will result in a Cuban Spring.

          1. I’m all for this but these “Springs” you speak of…they don’t seem to be working out.

      2. Also, lots of Cubans have ‘secret boats’ they’ve been working on for years made out of old car engines and anything else they could find. They’re hidden, terrified of the secret police, and basically just waiting for a chance to make a break for it.

    3. We don’t trade with them. But don’t other countries? Can’t the entire globe except the US do business with them if they wish?

      If so, why do we get blamed for the embargo ruining their economy?

      1. Because lies are all they have. Europe and Canada and most of Latin America trade with them.

        1. Yep.

          No direct trade with the USA definitely handicaps Cuba, but it isn’t an excuse for total economic disaster.

          Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba was getting $3 billion a year from the Russians. The Castros could even improve Cuba with that.

        2. Yes, but the Helms-Burton act stops a lot of trade from happening since it prohibits corporations that do business in Cuba to do business in the US

      2. Because otherwise leftys would have to admit the failure of their socialist utopia.

      3. Costs to transport things would definitely go up just because of distance geographically. But they should be able to get practically anything, even American goods through an intermediary.

        And for the past few decades, the US doesn’t manufacture much. All that comes from China, India, etc.

        1. US manufacturing is up. It has continued to rise despite outsourcing.

          Jobs that require lots of human hands are not that economically rewarding.

          The decline is in manufacturing employment because machines are cheaper and more reliable than a $22/hr AFL-CIO member.

          1. Ah, that’s a good differentiation.

      4. If so, why do we get blamed for the embargo ruining their economy?

        Because all wrong in the world is America’s fault; blow back and all that.

        Sheesh that left-libertranism 101.

    4. I have just stopped caring about Cuba. Every other country in the world sans Cuba and North Korea has managed to throw off the yoke of Leninism. If the Cubans can’t manage that, I don’t see why that is my or the U.S.’s problem.

      Fine, then let’s lift the embargo and see what happens.

      1. I don’t care. Keep it, lift it, I just don’t give a shit.

    5. Embargoes have never worked. Free trade often works.

      1. THIS ^ infinity.

        Whatever damage embargoes have done to the elites in the target country, they have done vastly more damage to the people being oppressed by those elites.

      2. A Russian, this week, might disagree with you…

      3. South Africa is on the phone and would like to speak with you.

        And we trade a hell of a lot with China. That doesn’t seemed to have made China very free.

        1. John, I responded to you in The Real Scale of US Defense Spending thread if you want to finish up that discussion about FMF funding.

      4. Embargoes have never worked.

        Wrong,

        They worked to degrade Italy’s military in the decade before WWII and they worked to help in Apartheid.

        The flip side to claiming that embargos don’t work is that expanded trade doesn’t matter.

        1. in = end

  4. I’ve never had a whole lot of positive feelings towards people who vacation in cuba while overlooking the fact that Cuban citizens aren’t(weren’t) actually allowed to leave the place themselves.

    A guy I knew went in the 90s; I asked him how much he enjoyed the “world’s largest Zoo”

    1. ^THIS…

      “booking my Cuba vacation now before there’s a Starbucks, a McDonald’s, and a bank on every block”

      In other words, I cannot wait to experience the last authentic socialist enclave before rapacious capitalists provide goods that raise the living standards of the proles.

      Narcissist, much?

      1. Aw hell, it ain’t even like Cuba is bereft of the products of capitalist consumers, they’re just stuck with those products that existed prior to the Castro takeover. They’re not driving around solar-powered Yugos made by a socialist collective where everyone is paid the same but has some unique gender identity, they’re driving the fucking cars that a thriving capitalist behemoth was churning out in the 1950’s. (complete with the fuel-effiency stnadards of the era)

        1. I hope every Cuban who owns a Bell Air sells it to a tourist for $$$$….

        2. They use city buses from Montreal from the 1970s with the destination spot – Papineau, Pie IX etc. – eerily suspended in time.

      2. This comment baffles me. If having a Starbucks, a McDonald’s, and lots of banks is the price we pay for what few economic and political freedoms we currently have, then bring it on.

        I’ll put up with that all day. You know why? Because I don’t have to go to Starbucks, McDonalds, or a particular bank if I don’t want to.

    2. “world’s largest Zoo”

      Ahem: RACIST!

    3. I agree. I am tired of the issue, but I would never spend a single dime on that Island. Anyone who does is a fucking communist stooge.

      1. I won’t even buy Cuban cigars, because I have no desire to enrich the Castros.

    4. My brother in law feels the same way. I learned that when I bought a ticket to Cuba off a friend years ago. Now that I think back and after what I experienced and observed first hand, I have to agree with him. My money went to supporting a piece of shit commie.

      Alas, people don’t see things this way.

      Quote from article: “I’m very glad I was able to visit Cuba several times before US tourists try to turn it into Cancun.”

      As opposed to the conditions in place now, right? Asshole.

      I’m always fascinated by people who go to Cuba and refuse to see what’s in front of them. It was obvious to me the Cuban people – who are really awesome – put up a brave face. What else could do they do living like they do and with spies all over the fucking place?

      1. My money went to supporting a piece of shit commie.

        Some of it maybe. Some more went into the small but growing private sector. Some may have helped a Cuban build a dingie to escape.

        1. Cubans didn’t get one cent of my money.

          1. Cubans not named Castro didn’t get any of your money.

          2. One effect will be to allow baseball players still residing in Cuba to sign with American teams. The regime is currently allowing some of it’s stars to play abroad, most notably in Japan, but the US embargo prevents them from signing with MLB teams, as part (or all) of their salary will go to funding the Cuban government.

            Yulieski Gourriel is one of the players who went to Japan in the summer of 2014. They allowed him a Twitter account since last February, and this week tweeted that negotiations are underway to renew his contract with Yokohama – but Gourriel himself is not negotiating. The current offer is $3m (US) for next year, but the contract is with the Cuban sports ministry, which “owns” the player. Gourriel says when he finds out if there’s a deal he will let people know.

            No obstante, la decisi?n de renovar no est? en manos del jugador, sino del gobierno cubano, sin cuyo permiso ?ste no podr? regresr a Jap?n en 2015.

            YulieskiGourriel @YulieskiGourrie ? Dec 11
            No Creo Aceptar Jugar en otra Liga que no sea Japon

            YulieskiGourriel @YulieskiGourrie ? Dec 15
            quiero dejar en claro que no e firmado con el Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars Cuando lo haga yo mismo lo hare saber

            I feel like Tweeting him to ask how much of the $3m the government will allow him to keep, given that Cuban players usually play for something like $100/mo and the government always brags about them being “amateurs”

      2. Y’know, I’ve actually thought about doing one of those tours of North Korea simply because I want to see what the only remaining Stalinist dystopia on the planet is like up close. But given that those tours are only capable by going through the DPRK’s govt and paying them $2,500 to further oppress their people, I’ve held off.

        1. By all accounts, the government minders keep you from seeing anything even remotely resembling the real North Korea anyway.

        2. And you’ll probably be detained as a spy, and not released unless you’re a Dennis Rodman fan.

        3. “are only capable by going through the DaPRiK’s govt”

          FYTW

      3. When I read the first line of your comment, I thought I was about to read about how much money you can make from home on your computer…

    5. These lefties are actually upset that people in Cuba might get to live like human beings one day. Disgusting.

    6. Hey, like I said down below, it’s a great educational experience to see what the wonders of centralized planning did to Havana. But yeah, I did end up funding a dictatorship with my money.

    7. A guy I knew went in the 90s; I asked him how much he enjoyed the “world’s largest Zoo”

      What I find to be more reprehensible is that there’s a particular political philosophy that will want to keep it that way if the Cubans throw off the chains of Marxism and start modernizing.

      “what a quaint time capsule Cuba was!”

      1. A reply to Matt Binder’s Tweet was =

        “The architecture is glorious!”

        yes… those 200yr old colonial prisons, still bursting with life!

  5. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of a Cuban cigar shares my enthusiasm.

    Semi-related: I have this “friend”…a SJW harpie and full blown Marxist…is apparently very happy about the prospects of the US “raising the nation” instead of pulling it down. You can’t explain that.

    1. If you truly have a FRIEND (no scare quotes) who is a Marxist, I applaud you. Too many people only surround themselves with fellow travelers, even when their viewpoint is as niche as many people here have. I believe that just like traveling improves the individual, having diverse friends does too.

      There are more things in heaven and earth and all that…

      1. They’re less scare quotes and more of an emphasis on the fact we’re more than acquaintances but far from besties. It’s a long story. Anyways… We actually have a lot in common but she can’t step off her social justice pedestal long enough to enjoy the mutual interests. As a straight white male, I’m naturally her mortal enemy…even though I have nothing against her other than her frequent piss poor attitude. I also believe she truly means well with her opposition to oppressions. I just think her approach could be better. The point I was initially driving at, though, is that she absolutely despises capitalism…yet is happy about this breaking news, and loves Starbucks. Go figure, right?

        1. You still haven’t answered the most important question, “Is she hot?”

          1. She’s pretty… Never invested much thought into it since she’s gay haha

  6. good for the admin. Sounds like they can at least do SOMETHING right.

    remains to be seen how it plays out.

    Not that I agree with the liberal position that the US is at fault for Cuba’s mess and if only WE were nicer, bla bla

    It’s sad that the people of Cuba suffer due to the fuckupedness of their shitty leaders

    1. *good for the admin. Sounds like they can at least do SOMETHING right.*

      Yes, caving to dictators is always a great idea. Agreeing to prisoner swaps with conditions is a great idea, too.

  7. The only thing bad about this is that Obama did it.

    First, I hate giving him credit for anything, and secondly, he probabyl only did it because of the usually lefty-progressive soft-spot for communist regimes, particularly Cuba.

    It burns me that he’s probably sitting there smugly thinking of how great it is that he can poke a stick in the eye of the evil capitalists who have so cruelly thwarted the glorious Cuban revolution all these years.

    1. It has to be Obama and the timing is right. A president running for re-election won’t risk losing Florida because of a bunch of po’d Cuban-Americans.

    2. Meh. A good thing is a good thing. I’ll hate on Obama’s actions, not him, and this is a good action. To get upset over who is doing it is buying into the cult of personality, just from the opposite direction.

      1. ^This^..Well said. Cult of personality=easy. Agreeing on principle with someone you despise= sucks to have principles.

      2. + 1 Little Red Book.

    3. First, I hate giving him credit for anything, and secondly, he probabyl only did it because of the usually lefty-progressive soft-spot for communist regimes, particularly Cuba.

      Fear not, Hazel, if Obama’s gambit pays off, the progressives will lament the lifting of communism by complaining about the mongrelization of the Cuban Culture with capitalism.

      1. What’s funny is that Cuba used to be a culturally rich AND industrially strong powerhouse. Their previous stewards were your typical crony dictators, but it was a swank spot to go for a weekend on the east coast. Then it turned to a shithole after the revolution.

        I imagine that if it had been allowed to continue without the commies, it would look a lot like Mexico today- beauty spots, blemishes and all- and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It is an open question to me whether or not they’d have all the ills caused by the Drug trade.

    4. He thinks American health care will finally match Cuba’s standards, thanks to Obamacare. My great fear is that he might be right.

    5. Does anybody else get the feeling that Obama is going to quietly fuck over the country with some EO while everyone’s talking about Cuba?

  8. How can lindsey graham be so consistently awful? I generally prefer the pubs to the dems, but ferchrissakes I would vote for Josef Stalin over Lindsey Graham.

    1. Sudden|12.17.14 @ 1:35PM|#
      “How can lindsey graham be so consistently awful?”

      HA! You think you got “awful”? I’ll see your Graham and raise a Pelosi!

      1. He doesn’t represent me. I’m in L.A., I’m stuck with the same crap senators you are. I’m just mystified at times that I can never agree with Graham on a single thing eventhough I can generally find a handful of issues of common ground with TEAM RED.

        1. I don’t understand why South Carolina hasn’t primaried his ass.

          Lindsey Graham’s continued career is just another wage of the Democratic Party going full retard. In the past, the South Carolina Democratic Party would have come up with an acceptable alternative to Graham and he would have never gotten elected or done more than one term if he did. Thanks to the Democratic Party being run by hateful retards, the Democratic Party is basically extinct in the South such that assholes like Graham will forever stay in office.

          1. I don’t understand why South Carolina hasn’t primaried his ass.

            When it comes down to it, people here love him and his pro war/military and anti-terrorist all the time shtick.

            1. Yeah but you could come up with a challenger who was that too, but without the cronyism and love of all other big government.

              1. And less obviously gay. I would think the obvious gay thing would hurt him there.

                1. You’d think so, but nobody seems to care that much.

              2. He was primaried this year though.

    2. I doubt Graham can even put together a coherent argument supporting his position on this subject. He would probably just pull out the straw man and go to town on it.

    3. Sometimes I get my loathing for him and John Edwards (who I loathed way before the home-wrecking hippie) mixed up. Both just execrable pieces of shit, and they sort of sound similar.

    4. It’s that corn cob in his ass, it makes him ornery.

    5. Lindsey should know it was a good move to isolate Cuba back when they were minions of the Evil Empire that threatened to impose its rule on the world; now that we are the Evil Empire threatening to impose our rule on the world, we’re going to need those minions.

  9. I have every confidence that Cuba will manage to shoot down a civilian US aircraft and screw it up once again.

  10. Wasn’t the original problem Castro’s nationalization (theft) of everything – including a whole lot of business and property owned by Americans?

    Maybe at this late date it no longer matters, but we shouldn’t forget what this started with statist theft.

    1. Yes. It started with that. Lets also not forget the little matter of the Cuban Missile Crisis where Castro asked the Soviets to start a nuclear war against the US on his behalf. Castro is one of the biggest pieces of human garbage even to inhabit the known universe.

    2. Eh, a LOT of countries back then were nationalizing foreign corporate assets; we have diplomatic relations with all but a couple of them (Iran being the only other notable example).

      I believed the argument was made that American corporations received favorable treatment under previous Cuban regimes (through bribery and other practices) at the considerable expense of most Cubans. I have no idea how true that argument is (like many populist arguments, it probably had at least a shade of truth… but was much more complex in reality).

      Regardless, the nationalization occurred many many decades ago, the people who were affected are mostly dead, and it’s not even brought up anymore as a reason to keep the embargo. It’s time to move on rather than keep the silliness going.

      1. Also, it’s not the US’s responsibility to protect US companies from theft overseas. You decide to leave the mainland, you do so at your own risk. (I live in Brazil, BTW)

        1. If it’s state-sponsored theft, a government response is appropriate.

          1. Maaaybe a stongly worded letter.

          2. Not even then. The phrase “Banana Republic” has its origins in the penchant of the US government to overthrow Latin American governments that displeased United Fruit Co.

            There are historical reasons for Latin Americans to distrust US (crony) capitalists.

            TBS, I think one of the best reasons not to have intervened in Venezuela is that it is too useful as a bad example.

        2. Just keep paying your US taxes.

      2. Well, Obama certainly isn’t going to bring it up…

    3. Wasn’t the original problem Castro’s nationalization (theft) of everything – including a whole lot of business and property owned by Americans?

      It started a little earlier than that – some might say it started about 1492 – the Cubans (like a lot of South and Central Americans) could look at the history of colonization and slavery and banana republics and gunboat diplomacy and argue that they were just stealing back what was stolen from them.

      If you aren’t familiar with the history of Dole and United Fruit and that sort of thing, you really are missing a big chunk of American history.

      I’ve always said the second biggest mistake Reagan made after making Bush his VP was not sending the Seventh Fleet out into the Atlantic to stop Thatcher from re-taking the Falkland Islands. If Reagan had told Great Britain to fuck off and stood up to protect Argentina it would have gone a long way to repairing the shitty relations we’ve had with Latin America for centuries. Whatever back-hall bribes we would have had to pay Great Britain to swallow would have been worth it – and the Dems would right now be screaming about all those illegal Hispanic immigrants coming here to vote Republican.

      1. I’ve always said the second biggest mistake Reagan made after making Bush his VP was not sending the Seventh Fleet out into the Atlantic to stop Thatcher from re-taking the Falkland Islands. If Reagan had told Great Britain to fuck off and stood up to protect Argentina it would have gone a long way to repairing the shitty relations we’ve had with Latin America for centuries

        That is completely fucking insane on so many levels. That is beyond Raimondo-level of insanity.

        1. Yes – He thinks a President should have prevented an ally from recovering occupied land from a shitty non-friendly irrelevant country.

      2. If you think the South American Socialists would have loved the US if only we had stuck it to your closest ally in support of a tin pot right wing dictatorship’s invasion of another country’s land, you are nuts.

        And I am pretty sure winning the cold war in Europe was a hell of a lot more important to Reagan than getting Rigberta Menchu to say something nice about him.

      3. Oh please. Castro has always been a colonizing conquistador cleverly cloaking himself in the mantle of the oppressed. His father was a Galician for crying out loud.

      4. Yeah, a shooting war with his buddy Thatcher would have been a great idea.

      5. I agree. If Pete DuPont had been Reagan’s VP and successor, the last 25 years would be very different (for the better).

        1. Reagan wanted Paul Laxalt as his running mate. The GOP establishment forced Bush on him.

      6. Reagan actively aided the British in the Falklands war by allowing them to use the US base on Ascension Island and by supplying them with the latest Sidewinder missiles.

        If Reagan wanted to stop the British, refusing access to the US base on Ascension Island would done it because they had no other way to stage the invasion and resupply their forces.

  11. “Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naivet? during his final two years in office,”

    The tyrants long ago figured this out and are busy acting on their findings.

    1. Normalizing relations will allow the people of those oppressed dictatorships to see what a raw deal they’ve been getting.

      1. *Normalizing relations will allow the people of those oppressed dictatorships to see what a raw deal they’ve been getting.*

        Horsecrap. We had normal relations with the Soviets for HOW MANY YEARS before they crumbled?

  12. I can think of no surer way of destroying what is left of Cuba’s statist economy than opening up the American market and allowing people to go there on vacation. Sadly this probably means that the Cuban Cigar will hit rock bottom for a decade or so, but by all means, lets go!

    1. Please tell me that’s sarcasm.

      1. Why? It’s all true.

        1. Must have misread.

    2. It is my understanding that the communists have fucked up the cigar industry to such an extent Cuban cigars are no longer anything like they once were and are not even close to being the world’s best anymore.

      1. Outside of Cohiba, they’re pretty overrated. I don’t know what they were like 30 years ago. I was 12.

        1. I think “what they once were” is talking about all the way back to the 60s. They smuggled the plants out of Cuba and replanted them in Costa Rica. The problem with the current Cubans is that are poorly made and the tobacco isn’t harvested and dried as well as it used to be. Shockingly, the slaves at the collective do shoddy work. Who knew?

          1. Being quite the connoisseur of fine cigars, there are MUCH better out there right now. Basically the entire country of Nicaragua makes a better cigar. I have heard tell, and smoked several myself, that Cubans today are about the same. And that they are the “baseline” of what a cigar should be since they were dominant 70 years ago. BUT since there have been no market influences, innovation, and no desire to expand the market, cubans have stagnated while Padron, Rocky Patel, Arturo Fuente, etc. have taken the time to refine their products to jizz worthy levels. Fuck, now I want to go home and light up a 4000.

    3. A surer way would be to march an army through and kill them.

  13. This is great, but I’d really be more enthused about ending the stupid embargo. I hear that the limit on remittances will be quadrupled and travel eased. What other changes will there be to the trade/economics aspect?

    In several months or less, there is going to be a flood of Cubans coming to America on new and improved boats and rafts bought with the increase in money these changes will bring. That’s how we end totalitarianism.

    1. Politically, it’s going to take time. But this is undoubtedly a positive first step.

  14. Oh, and by all means, if a howling mob of Cuban citizens chase the Castor Oil Twins (“Swallow your socialism; it’s good for you) out of the country, by all means offer them sanctuary.

    In Miami.

  15. booking my Cuba vacation now before there’s a Starbucks, a McDonald’s, and a bank on every block

    Get your ass to Cuba and soak up some of that Revolucionary Chic before it’s gone, Comrade. Why don’t you go for the full effect, and lash some inner tubes together and paddle down from Miami?

    1. Before you know it, the limited edition Che berets will be everywhere.

  16. I will do all in my power to block the use of funds to open an embassy in Cuba. Normalizing relations with Cuba is bad idea at a bad time.

    It might be a bad time, but how is this a bad idea inherently?

    Of course, it is Lindseytown.

    1. It’s a bad idea because Obama did it. And it’s a bad time because Obama is president.

    2. It’s always a bad idea to normalize relations with a “hostile” state to a neocon. Mentioning it’s a “bad time” is superfluous.

      1. If everyone’s our friend, who will be our enemy?

    3. Why is it a bad time? It’s not like they’ve threatened to nuke us lately.

      1. Commentary ran a blog post whining about this and compared normalizing trade with Cuba to allowing Iran to have nuclear weapons.

        Yep. Allowing some rich ass American to blow the kids’ college fund playing Baccarat in a Havana casino is identical to allowing a country run by Millenarian death cultists to have atomic weaponry.

        There’s no difference.

  17. this is a vital first step in allowing market forces to eventually improve the lives of Cubans who have languished under dictatorship for more than half a century.

    Fuck that, the Collectiviser-in-Chief wants some pointers from los Hermanos Castros.

  18. Only Nixon Jr could go to Cuba.

    1. *applause*

    2. Would it be Gooding?

  19. “Booking my Cuba vacation now before there’s a Starbucks, a McDonald’s, and a bank on every block.”

    I’m guessing he’ll take the guided tour around the maintained parts of Havana. If you want to see the real Cuba, walk off the beaten path in Havana and you’ll find tons of abandoned historical buildings and storefronts throughout the city.

    1. How people can think like that, I can’t even grasp. You live a better life than kings and queens a mere 100 years ago, built on freedom and free enterprise, and you just shit on it. It’s like some spoiled 16 year old that thinks it’s just natural to get a new Audi A6 for your birthday. You wanna see Havana before capitalism “ruins” it…? Fuck. You.

      1. “You wanna see Havana before capitalism “ruins” it…?”

        http://cdn.havanatimes.org/wp-…..a-cuba.jpg

        Behold the beauty of Havana before being ruined by capitalism!

        Wide swaths of Havana are like Detroit – dirt poor people in collapsing buildings. It’s a leftist wonderland.

        1. That’s the shit I’m talking about. The tourism officials try to coral you into the extremely fake and state-run storefronts in the ‘nice’ parts of Havana, where everything is maintained and freshly painted. You quickly notice that there’s practically no Cubans shopping in this locations. Go four or five blocks away from the tourist zones and you get a whole new picture, plenty of streets like that and a lot of scared looking people.

          1. East Germany was similar when I visited back in the 80’s

          2. To be fair, I think that is probably true of lots of places that are supported by tourism. I suspect the disparity is larger in Cuba, and that tourists don’t have as much freedom of movement to see the other areas.

            For comparison, we went to Aruba last year. The areas near the hotels all had designer stores and high-end restaurants (I also thought it was boring). But you saw very few native Arubans there. There were also some nice areas where the natives that owned those places lived. Most of the rest of the island was definitely poorer. But it seemed pretty far from backbreaking poverty. Superficially, I’d compare it to rural West Virginia. And looking at the per capita GDP, that guess doesn’t seem too far off.

          3. *Go four or five blocks away from the tourist zones and you get a whole new picture, plenty of streets like that and a lot of scared looking people.*

            So it’s a lot like Washington, D.C.?

          4. That’s EXACTLY what the ‘oh noes capitalism will ruin Cuba’s essence’ idiots don’t get.

            It’s already a faux-resort town. I had to get on a moped to get out of that shit to get into town and meet Cubans WHO ARE NOT ALLOWED to mingle with foreigners on the beaches.

            It is there I learned about the ‘truth’ about Cuba.

            And Michael Moore and his ilk can A) suck a donkey’s cock and B) deserve a thorough beating for lying about it being a ‘paradise.’

      2. …”You wanna see Havana before capitalism “ruins” it…? Fuck. You”

        I’m sure there are Cubans more than happy to give up freedom for some free shit, even if that’s a hot dog once a month and a visit to a doctor who can’t get aspirin.
        But I’m betting the most would be more than happy to trade places with this lefty twit and have a chance to buy Big Mac and a cuppa joe at Starbucks.
        And leave *him* in that oh, so wonderful workers’ paradise for 50 years.

        1. the average Cuban could work fires at McD’s and make more in two weeks than he makes in an entire year.

        2. Maybe not the Big Mac.

      3. Someone here posted an article awhile back decrying the new housing projects going on in Cuba because they were replacing older buildings with more modernized housing complexes. Something about ruining the authenticity of Havana or something. It’s pure narcissism, why should the Cubans get good housing if it gets in the way of my aesthetic sensitivities?

        1. That type of romanticism can only come from someone who has never experienced poverty and/or deprivation. It always comes from those who would claim that they have more empathy and caring than thou, but in reality would sacrifice the multitudes in service of their own social signaling.

        2. Yep. That was from The Nation.

          http://www.thenation.com/blog/…..-trip-cuba

          They made so many ridiculous arguments and claims in that article (particularly in regards to Cuba’s wondrous health care system) that I actually wrote a long ass blog post about it.

          http://locustkings.blogspot.co…..rship.html

          It’s legitimately the worst written article I’ve ever read in a political magazine. Here’s an actual paragraph:

          “The Catholic Church, is one voice among many and stressed that propaganda that Cuba is a communist godless society, is completely unfounded. Through their education system, and the support that Cuba enjoys by just about every country, except the US, Cubans are among the most knowledgeable people about the rest of the world.”

          Do not criticize the glorious state of Cuba, Comrade!

          1. The Catholic Church, is one voice among many and stressed that propaganda that Cuba is a communist godless society, is completely unfounded.

            That sentence should have gotten the reporter and the editors fired.

            1. “That sentence should have gotten the reporter and the editors fired.”

              Yeah, The Nation has always been awful but Vanden Heuvel has really done a number on it. They have some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen anywhere on the internet, including among random bloggers.

          2. While home ownership is high, thanks to housing subsidies, laws requiring apartment owners to maintain their own apartments but absolving them of responsibility from maintenance of common areas, have resulted in the buildings’ overall deterioration. The average house is seventy-five years old, maintenance subsidies are non-existent, therefore even working professionals find home repair simply too costly. Residents have been very innovative to meet basic housing needs and one sees shanty towns built at the top of buildings or the courtyards of colonial houses and balconies used for different purposes to the original ones. A program of renovation started in the eighties has been proceeding slowly.

            More worrisome are the consequences of recently enacted laws allowing Cubans to buy their own houses, which they do for the most part with remittances from relatives in Florida. This is resulting in many of the historical buildings to be purchased by Cuban Americans who will quite likely demolish them, due to their state of disrepair, and will replace them with large glass towers as has been the case in many cities the world over.

            What the fuck? VandenHuevel is an elitist of the worst stripe.

      4. ” You live a better life than kings and queens a mere 100 years ago, built on freedom and free enterprise, and you just shit on it. “

        “uh, capitalism has poverty too!!”

        seriously- this is the kind of retort you can expect.

        90% of the responses to the above tweets are completely in agreement – ‘how horrible that capitalism is going to “ruin” this wonderful place’

    2. Michael Trotten has written a ton of good stories about the “real Cuba”:

      http://www.city-journal.org/2014/24_2_havana.html

      Worth Googling his other stories…

  20. Also, fuck Jeremy Scahill. In case anyone needed more evidence that progressives don’t care about the suffering of the destitute and the impoverished, look no further than the fact that Scahill decided to use the horrible suffering of the Cuban public as nothing but a pawn in his own personal smug-alert.

  21. So, some pundits think it might bring some economic evolution to Cuba, but now it’ll bring McDonald’s and Starbucks, so now it’s gonna be all commercial. You pundits aren’t doing it right.

  22. I must disagree with the people who say spending money there is a bad thing. Quite the opposite. There is a small but growing private sector there, and spending money will help it to grow. That’s how you get rid of socialism/communism.

  23. I might have waited until the Castro Bros were pushing up the daisies…but their kind seem quasi-immortal.

    1. It does boggle the mind to realize that JFK is some guy in old black and white newsreels, and Fidel Fucking Castro is still there in Cuba.

      1. Rum and cigars have some kind of magical life extending properties?

    2. “Swiss Servator, Winter kommt!|12.17.14 @ 1:59PM|#

      I might have waited until the Castro Bros were pushing up the daisies…but their kind seem quasi-immortal.”

      See = Autumn of the Patriarch, by Marquez

      Caribbean tyants are deathless

    3. Vampires are hard to kill.

  24. Ever notice how none of the nativist usual suspects never seem to mind Cubans getting amnesty?

    1. How else are you going to carry Florida in a presidential election?

      1. Elderly Manhattan Jews?

      2. Medicare Part D?

        Supreme Court arbitration panel?

    2. I am against Cubans getting amensty just because they arrive in the USA.

    3. I mind. I don’t want a giant influx of Cubans. One of the reasons why Carter got his ass handed to him in 1980 was the boat lift.

      I don’t know a single person who is against open borders would want a giant influx of Cubans. They don’t give a shit if the odd guy in a raft or baseball player shows up. But they sure as hell wouldn’t want huge numbers showing up.

      The conservatives who live in your head must be really interesting people/.

    4. did you ever notice that Stormy Dragon likes to herp-a-derp, making imaginary strawmen in his head?

      1. It always seemed like a cranky, contrarian woman to me?

    5. No need to be vague, Stormy. Just call them racists and be done with it.

  25. Yeah, we will now have another communist dictatorship getting rich by selling their sweatshop labor and pretending it is the free market.

    They can join China, Vietnam and Laos as the darling of the fake free marketeers.

    1. “They can join China, Vietnam and Laos as the darling of the fake free marketeers.”

      You mean China which has dragged 500 million people out of poverty in the last 40 years and Vietnam which quadrupled its GDP per capita between 1989 and 2000?

      http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/china/overview

      http://www.grips.ac.jp/forum/m…..5pcGDP.gif

      Yeah, it’s been a regular catastrophe. I’m sure the hundreds of millions of Chinese people who are no longer starving to death are super angry at the ‘fake free marketeers’ who made it so they can expect to live past 40.

      1. And has entrenched the same communist goverment which can execute anyone of them at any time for any reason.

        And is now threatening neighboring countries with its massively increased military

        1. Improvement is relative. Just because it isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t much better than it was. I really can’t see how you can look at the overall state of China today as anything but much better than it was 40 years ago and not consider that fact to be a very good thing.

          1. How about if the US had not transfered trillions to the Chinese government and it had crashed burned like it did in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

            Instead we now have a communist government which is rich and claims that it was that government which is bringing the wealth to the people

            1. How did we transfer trillions of dollars? last I look they transferred money to us in the forms of loans to fund our national debt.

              All we have ever done with China is trade with them.

            2. “How about if the US had not transfered trillions to the Chinese government and it had crashed burned like it did in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.”

              And out of the Soviet Union rose Putin’s Russia. Your dream scenario didn’t exactly result in a libertarian paradise either, big guy.

        2. At least none of the fake free market types are spreading the lie that the communist governments will disapear due to the market.

          The market in China is the communist government, their people run or control most of the so-called free market companies.

          1. That DJF is a very good point. The lie is not that things in China haven’t improved, they have. The lie is that economic improvement somehow automatically equals freedom. China proves that is just not true. It is still an oppressive nasty place. It is just a lot richer.

            1. It’s also a lot freer. Like wealth, freedom is relative. The oppression in China is inexcusable and its leaders are evil. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re freer now than they probably have been at any point going back 1000 years.

              When you compare modern China to the period of the Great Leap Forward, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that they’re vastly more free. I don’t see the Chinese government starving peasants to death by forcing them to smelt iron in their backyards anymore.

              1. They are freer than they were during the worst Mao terrors. They, however, are not anymore free today than they were in the 80s or in between the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. China got more free when Mao finally went to hell and they tried his bitch wife. It really hasn’t gotten any more free since then. It just has gotten richer.

                1. It really hasn’t gotten any more free since then. It just has gotten richer.

                  Which has brought more freedom of movement, freedom to purchase products that improve their lives, freedom to innovate and prosper… The people of China have much more freedom than they did in the 80s. Economic freedom that is. Which is separate (but intertwined) from political freedom.

            2. The lie is that economic improvement somehow automatically equals freedom.

              Only if you equate political freedom with economic freedom. The people of China have more economic freedom than ever, but they still lack political freedom.

              1. Yes Sarcasmic. You are right. but without the political freedom, the economic freedom is only as good as the government wants to let it be for you.

                But the bigger point is, economic freedom gives you wealth not necessarily political freedom. A lot of people forget that.

                1. Back home in the USA we have much more political freedom, but our economic freedom is being chipped away. Sometimes I wonder if I’d trade more economic freedom for less political freedom. What’s the point of being able to speak out about the government if you can’t find a job in an economy that’s been regulated to death?

                2. A quick google shows China’s unemployment rate at around 4%.

                  They can’t speak out about their government without fearing reprisal, but there are plenty of jobs.

                  1. There’s nothing like a big chunk of your people still living in a subsistence economy to keep your unemployment down.

        3. First of all, China is no longer a Communist government. It’s an authoritarian government, but it isn’t Communist.

          Secondly, let’s look at a history of China threatening its neighbors. Given that prior to China’s reforms they annexed Tibet, invaded North Korea in the 1950’s in order to fight Americans, etc., China doesn’t actually seem to be any more bellicose today than they’ve always been.

          It takes an awfully bizarre view of the world to claim that 500 million people rising out of poverty is bad because it hasn’t yet resulted in a perfect outcome. China would certainly be better were it freer, but I don’t understand whining about China given how many Chinese people are now living comfortably when their grandparents would have been starving.

          1. China has always been the local bad boy during the brief times they managed to get its act together. Most of Chinese history is the ignorant and divided Chinese taking it up the ass from their neighbors punctuated by periods of stability where the Chinese were the super power of Asia. Right now we are in a period of stability and the Chinese are the local bad boy and confirming to the Vietnamese, Filipinos, Koreans and Japanese and everyone else in East Asia why hating the Chinese has always been such a good idea.

            How long that lasts, who knows.

          2. While China is better off than before, lets not kid ourselves that there aren’t a crapton of individual Chinese who aren’t better off than before.

            Get off the coastal enclaves, and many are still weeding rice paddies by hand and using water buffalo.

          3. You must be joking. Tibet was acknowledged by everybody outside of Tibet to be part of China. (Our good buddies the Nationalist Chinesen claimed, not only Tibet, but Mongolia as well.) And the Chincoms “invaded” North Korea the way we “invaded” South Korea–except that the Chincoms left after the armistice was signed in 1953, while we’re still there.

        4. I think of it more like “state capitalism”. Internally there is a huge monopoly, like if Microsoft owned every large company in the United States and the MS CEO doubled as the US president. That is because externally, in dealings with other countries, this large monopoly works a lot like other huge corporations.

          And I thought liberals were against monopolies?

    2. What fucking person who believes in economic liberty has classified China or Vietnam as “free market”?

      China and Vietnam are examples of what capitalism–consisting of private ownership and mutually beneficial exchange–can provide to millions of people, even if they are otherwise still oppressed.

      Milton Friedman has not yet been disproved.

  26. Finally, something I agree with Obama about. Although I recall him talking about this 6 years ago, and not doing much until today.

    It’s odd that Florida politicians like Rubio are scared to death of the ex-Cuban vote in Florida, when Florida would benefit greatly from increased trade and tourism with Cuba.

  27. used to read about pissed off cubans who had to buy a coffee with ice-cream, then throw out the coffee, if they wanted ice-cream. cuz if you could just get ice-cream, the coffee guy loses out… and that can’t happen.

    I also remember cubans begging “if you want to help, yeah books and magazines are nice but seriously we’d like some internet time. cubans aren’t allowed to use their internet, it’s just for tourists at hotels. please, please, buy internet-time cards and sneak ’em to us if you really want to help.”

    whether one believes in the revolution or not, that’s just monstrous.

    watched a doc on khodorovsky recently where they made the point that when communism fell, the guys trying to start banks DIDN’T KNOW WHAT A CHECKBOOK WAS. fuuuuuuuuuu—

    https://vine.co/v/O1hw93lLAA3

  28. On a very long list of things that I’ll never forgive George W. Bush for, is the fact that HE did not normalize relations with Cuba. He had an “R” after his name and, therefore, I think he could have done it, politically. It would/will be a lot harder for someone to do it who has a “D” after their name.

  29. McDonald’s started in 1 fucking location. It is now has more locations than any fast food company in the world.

    Starbucks started in 1 fucking location and is now the most recognizable coffee chain world wide.

    FUCK FUCK FUCK progressives. Not a perfect measure but McDonald’s and Starbucks combined have revenues of $24.07 & 14.89 billion (combined $38.96) and Cuba has a GDP of 68.23 billion. That is fucking nuts.

  30. Yo, fuck Lindsay Graham.

  31. It would appear there’s more overlap authoritarian-worshipping neoconservatives and authoritarian-worshipping leftists than one would expect, huh?

    FIFY

    1. How exactly is not wanting to trade with a brutal dictatorship, authority worshiping? Aren’t the assholes dying to go down and see the great socialist paradise on vacation and give their money in support of the fucks who run it the authority worshipers here?

      1. I missed the part where we’re opening up trade only to the regime.

        Cuba policy is about one thing and one thing only: Florida’s electoral votes. Now that Cuban-Americans are starting to vote for Democrats over Republicans, a Democratic president can finally make our approach to Cuba sane. What’s your excuse for our dealing with China and Saudi Arabia?

        1. I missed the part where we’re opening up trade only to the regime.

          Because the Cuban economy is just bursting with private firms and entrepeneurs.

          You can’t trade with Cuba without trading with the regime, one way or the other. What isn’t outright owned by the Party is controlled (and skimmed) by the Party.

          Idiot.

          1. So you’re prepared to withhold trade with, say, China and Vietnam, Venezuela, Syria, Zimbabwe, and every other shithole governed by a repressive regime. If now, what (besides electoral politics in Florida) distinguishes Cuba?

  32. There is no reason to fund Cuba’s efforts to keep Venezuela’s Maduro in power at all. Everyone seems to ignore the fact that the entire rest of the western hemisphere is free to engage Cuba however they like. That it’s still a broken down caudillo disaster is THEIR fault not ours.

  33. BTW the only thing that will happen is a million Cubans will sail to Miami to get in line with the 11 million Mexicans queuing up for Obamnesty.

    1. He wants the World to be able to use America for a Toilet

  34. Cuba that important to take over news over foolishness! The troubles brought upon the United States of America and the clown wants to talk about Cuba!! Totally outrageous disgraceful attempt to finish pulling the wool over the eyes of the American people
    The ones that don’t understand that you will soon. Next week he will take on stop signs!! Should be a thrilling week.

    The hackers won today they made them even to coddle down That was very important.
    cancel the movie as chaos rules the day !! They have taught them to hate the world it will be no stopping now.

  35. The last thing the Castros want is an American deli clerk playing the slots in Havana. An American deli clerk can afford to do that; a Cuban attorney can’t.

  36. How is President Obama going to deal with the theft of American property by the Cuban Government in the 1960’s? Should that just be forgotten?

  37. Short of a regime change opening normal relations is the best thing we can do for cuba. The Chinese are much better off than they were prior to our trading. And what brought down the USSR? exposure to the west. Specifically, when the comissars and political favorites realized that even their priviledged standard of living was below what the average American could afford

  38. “Cuba already enjoys access to commerce, money and goods from other nations, and yet the Cuban people are still not free. They are not free because the regime?just as it does with every aspect of life?manipulates and controls to its own advantage all currency that flows into the island. More economic engagement with the U.S. means that the regime’s grip on power will be strengthened for decades to come?dashing the Cuban people’s hopes for freedom and democracy.” ? Marco Rubio

  39. The Cuban people are being ignored in this secret conversation, in this secret agreement that we learned today. The reality of my country is there is just one party with all the control and with the state security controlling the whole society. If this doesn’t change, there’s no real change in Cuba. Not even with access to Internet. Not even when Cuban people can travel more than two years ago. Not even that is a sign of the end of the totalitarianism in my country.” –Rosa Maria Paya, daughter of murdered Christian Liberation Movement leader, Oswaldo Paya.
    “[Obama’s announcement] is horrible and disregarding the opinion of [Cuban] civil society sends a bad message. The acceptance of neo-Castroism in Cuba will mean greater support for authoritarianism in the region and, as a consequence, human rights will be relegated to a secondary role.” — Antonio Rodiles, head of Estado de Sats.
    “Alan Gross was used as a tool by the Castro regime to coerce the United States. Obama was not considerate of Cuban citizens and of the civil society that is facing this tyrannical regime. In Miami, Obama promised that he would consult Cuba measures with civil society and the non-violent opposition. Obviously, this didn’t happen. That is a fact, a reality. He didn’t consider Cuba’s democrats. The betrayal of Cuba’s democrats has been consummated.” — Guillermo Fari?as, former Sakharov Prize recipient.

  40. “The Obama Administration has ceded before Castro’s dictatorship. Nothing has changed. The jails remain filled, the government represents only one family, repression continues, civil society is not recognized and we have no right to assemble or protest… The measures that the government of the United States has implemented today, to ease the embargo and establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, will in no way benefit the Cuban people. The steps taken will strengthen the Castro regime’s repression against human rights activists and increase its resources, so the security forces can keep harassing and repressing civil society.” –Angel Moya, former political prisoner of the Black Spring (2003).
    “It’s discomforting that the accounts of the Castro regime can grow, as the first step will be more effective repression and a rise in the level of corruption.” — Jose Daniel Ferrer, former political prisoner and co-head of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU)
    “This is a betrayal that leaves the democratic opposition defenseless. Obama has allied himself with the oppressors and murderers of our people.” — Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez,” former political prisoner and head of the National Resistance Front.
    “I feel as though I have been abandoned on the battlefield.” — Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, former Cuban political prisoner and U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.

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