Time to start openings with Cuba

It’s been a full half a century — five decades, 50 years — since a relatively small band of Cuban insurgents forced Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista to abdicate and flee his Caribbean homeland, clearing the way for Fidel Castro to assume powers every bit as extensive as those wielded by the man he replaced. Love him or loathe him, you gotta give Fidel Castro credit for perseverance and political longevity. The “Maximum Leader” remained in power as head of the island nation from the time his band of revolutionaries toppled Batista on New Year’s Eve 1959, until illness nearly felled him in 2006 (he is now 82). His slightly younger brother Raul (77 years old) now heads Cuba’s government.

Washington severed relations with Havana in 1961. Since 1962 the U.S. has maintained a strict embargo on trade with Cuba, and our government prohibits most travel between the two countries. While the embargo has caused hardships for Cuba’s citizens, it has clearly failed in its political goal of toppling the Castro regime.

It is time for a change; this would be about as close to a no-brainer as you can get in international affairs. Taking some tangible steps to begin opening economic and political relations between Washington and Havana would be a clear winner for President Obama on the world stage; and opposition here at home, while still strong, especially among south Florida’s many Cuban immigrant families, is not nearly as vehement as in years past. The president would likely enjoy majority support in the Congress for at least some tangible moves to open a true dialog. Moreover, many American businesses, especially oil companies, are chomping at the bit to be able to invest and work in Cuba. As for me, I’d love to be able to buy Cuban cigars legally here in the U.S.

Obama should use the occasion of his first scheduled trip to the area — the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago next month — to go boldly where no U.S. president has gone in nearly 50 years, and formally take steps to start talking to and trading with Cuba.

62 comments Add your comment

Suffering Cats

March 17th, 2009
6:29 am

David S,

Are you serious? Because I wasn’t.

Atlanta Native 1969

March 17th, 2009
6:33 am

As a Democrat, I rarely agree with Bob on anything political, but Bob is right on the money on this. It is about time. Cuba is no more a threat. I mean, we trade with China (everything is about made there now anyway) and they are more of a Communist threat, so I don’t see what the problem is. If they allowed US travel to Cuba, I’d be on the first plane. Beautiful beaches, weather, and of course, the most beautiful women on the planet! End the embargo!

Dave

March 17th, 2009
7:14 am

I think we tell all the fat cats either you ok trading with Cuba or agree to a mandatory minimum of ten years in jail if you are caught with one of those Cuban cigars you have been smoking for all these years. These guys are hypocrites. Castro and his brother will not be around that much longer. We have been trading with Russia and China for years. We trade with President Chavez of Venezuela. We called Saddam Hitler and continued to buy oil from them as we invaded Iraq. It is time to end this farce we all know Cubans have been sending home money illegally for years and fat cats have smoked Cuban cigars for years as well.

Just Nasty & Mean

March 17th, 2009
8:15 am

…How about a couple more?

We could transform the Army’s hellfire missiles to contain and transport US dollars, and we could launch them over Cuba and SHOWER American dollars on the Cuban lower class in a MASSIVE redistribution of wealth DIRECTLY from the US Taxpayer to the dirt farmers. Each bill will have imprinted on it: “Courtesy of Barack Obama” so due credit is given.

Those Cubans coming to America would be given preferences in hiring, benefits, wages and promotions. I mean–after all—think how long they have been “held down” under their Socialistic/Communist system for decades (but you won’t be able to say that). Call it “Reparations”.

And all those 50/60s cars still running down there, we will FORCE Ford/GM/Chrysler to retrofit EACH of them to US emission control and mileage standards and seat belts, with a 100,000 mile warranty. Of course, we’ll provide tax breaks for building plants for parts in Cuba vs: the USA. The duty on US cars would prohibit any importing of them. After all, we don’t want to kill Cuba’s native industries?

When it comes to education, Obama could send an army of Washington, DC teachers to Cuba headed up by William Ayers, with BILLION$ in taxpayer dollars. We could give them a 1st hand view of government indoctrination–DC & Chicago-style— that makes Castro’s look like pre-school! (PS: NO VOUCHERS ALLOWED!).

Obama could anoint Monica Lewinsky as “Cigar Queen”, since she opened up a whole new use and application for cigars, greatly expanding the market. .

I think opening up trade with Cuba is a GREAT idea, Bob!

Frank

March 17th, 2009
8:25 am

I certainly wouldn’t want the USA to normalize relations with Cuba. The USA are known to be exploiters and Cuba would be required to accept conditions which would only benefit Americans.The last time Cuba and the USA were engaged in economic and political interaction,drugs and prostitution was very prevalent on the Island.I am Cuban and I personally would not want a one-sided relationship with the USA.Simply put,stay the hell out of my country!

Mr. KnowItAll

March 17th, 2009
9:11 am

FRANK!

GO BACK TO “YOUR COUNTRY”! You certainly don’t belong here!

Are you stating that it is America’s fault that your country is full of whores and drug dealers?

After calling the USA “exploiters”, you’re going to have to explain why we returned EVERY INCH of territory we won in WW1 and WW2 won with the blood of patriots, except the land needed to bury our dead.

TAKE THAT BACK you disrespectful ingrate! …and get the hell out of this country and back to Cuba–if it is so great….

Richard Swinger

March 17th, 2009
9:53 am

“Nasty and Mean” may you drown in the froth that flows from your mouth.

You are very apparently a truly miserable person. Just end it all man.

Richard Swinger

March 17th, 2009
10:11 am

I think it is high time that we normalize relations with Cuba. I never really liked Bob Barr, be he is absolutely correct on this one. When you consider his point about what we have actually gained over the past 50 years from this embargo..wow what an eye opener!!

And considering all the jabber and propaganda about Cuba’s suitability as a base for Russian bombers, they are once again laying the groundwork for a U.S. challenge. Why? Because they view us as a broke, brokEN, divided country and nothing like staging another showdown to show the world whether we are still a true superpower or a bunch of loudmouth chip on the shoulder chumps – which unforunately the last “regime” projected oh so well. Normalizing relations with Cuba I feel totally nullifies the Russian influence. You watch and see.. I bet silently Cuba and Cubans have been praying for such a thing for years now..

Proverbs 22:1

March 17th, 2009
10:33 am

Goooooooooooooood morning/ Ho-ray for Bob. The Cubans furnish M.D.’s around the world during troubled times and every body goes to school and pays attention.

Logical Dude

March 17th, 2009
4:53 pm

How about the US Nationalize the petroleum industry. We’ve nationalized so many BAD companies, we might as well grab some that are making huge profits.

::tongue in cheeck::

Catsis

March 18th, 2009
5:57 pm

Mr. Barr, finally the United States may be able to regain the respect of other countries throughout the world by re-examining archaic US foreign policies. Hopefully the shifting tide on U.S-Cuba policy is only the beginning of fundamental political change in Washington.

Logan Young

August 1st, 2009
7:06 am

Well said, USA is importing all the junk electronic Instruments from China who is also a communist country. If China then why not Cuba? It will help our economy to grow. And we don’t have to think about getting a Cuban Cigar in USA. Different Varieties of Cuban Cigars are a treat to taste.
URL:http://www.gocubans.com/