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Friday, December 26, 2014

Cuba Common Sense

A lot of people see normalization with Cuba as making sense.  Establishing formal diplomatic relations would improve communications and would give us more visibility into island affairs.  It will be interesting to see how long this process will take.  The Cubans severely restrict US government visas and they don't permit diplomats to travel outside Havana very far. 

The Cubans will have a much harder time shrouding their human rights practices if we have more of a presence on the island.

Another added benefit might be the ending of the weird and unfair "wet foot, dry foot" emigration policy that has been in place for 20 plus years.  (If a Cuban immigrant makes it to US territory, we accept him.  If we find him coming to the US, we send him back.  We do this for no one else.)  This policy was a compromise after the second big boat lift in 1994.  The sad Elian Gonzalez case of 2000 was the consequence of this jerry-rigged policy.

George Will, in this column, puts his finger on the problems for both sides in discussing Cuba: cuba-derangement-syndrome-strikes-again  Yes, we have to be open to change, and yes, we have to realize that establishing freer trade won't open up the political system anytime soon.  (If ever.  Look at Vietnam and China.)  But we need to get something out of Havana for this.  Right now, it seems like our initiative is unilateral: we are asking Raul Castro to do a thing.

Many commentators don't understand that our Cuba policy's goal has been stability, not regime change.  We don't want thousands of boat people, punto final!  We are throwing the dice now.
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