‘Americas’ summit should hasten U.S.-Cuba moves

Following his announcement last week making changes to long-standing US restrictions on dealings between the US and Cuba, President Obama is likely to discuss such matters further — including the broader question of working to bring Cuba back into the mainstream of Western Hemisphere relations — during this week’s Summit of the Americas being held in Trinidad and Tobago. As opined in this blog last month, it is high time to begin unraveling the trade and diplomatic restrictions on dealings between the US and Cuba. To whatever extent such restrictions might have been appropriate when instituted nearly five decades ago, they simply are neither productive nor truly defensible today; especially considering the likelihood of a new generation of leaders set to assume control of the Cuban government in the near future.

The changes announced April 13th by the White House are modest in scope — making it easier for Cuban-Americans to travel to the island nation and to send money to their families there; allowing telecommunications companies to more readily establish cell, satellite TV and computer networks in Cuba; and undoing Bush-era restrictions on sending packages by Cuban Americans to Cuba. Still, the timing of the moves is important, and hopefully we will now see an acceleration of such process, including more substantive changes on the commerical trade and diplomatic fronts in the near future.

While he’s at it, President Obama should take the opportunity of attending this first Summit of the Americas in five years, to start the process of convincing our hemishere neighbors that the United States will at long last start paying sustained and sincere attention to this oft-overlooked region of the world.

31 comments Add your comment

Copyleft

April 17th, 2009
8:06 am

If we truly wanted to maintain an “anti-communist” stance, we wouldn’t be trading with China so extensively.

But, whoops! That would cost money. And we all know which gets higher priority, don’t we? This Cuba embargo is a hypocritical sham.

I agree with Mr. Barr that Obama should start paying closer and sincere attention to central and south America… but he should also be prepared for a ton of ignorant criticism from the far right when he does so, just as we saw when Obama started listening to Europe.

alan

April 17th, 2009
8:24 am

My goodness Bob. It’s only April and I find I totally agree with you twice already!

justine

April 17th, 2009
8:33 am

Bob, you are truly on point. Cuba offers opportunities for development and business trade for many small non-global companies within the US. Cuba has already expressed a desire to make purchases from SMALL independent farmers within the Southeastern portion of the US. There are several things we must all acknowledge is Castro was the longest continuous ruler in the North and South America. If you exclude monarchs he is one of longest serving rulers in the World. We must also acknowledge Cuba has been able to survive and to maintain relationships with most countries of the world. Another important factor is many of the doctors and nurses in developing countries and a large percentage of our doctors were actually trainned in Cuba. Lastly, we must acknowledge we developed a anti-hijacking policy in the 1960s and 1970s because of the numerous hijacking by persons wishing to return to Cuba. It is illogical we will do business with Saudis, China and others who have very bad human rights records, but refuse to deal with Cuba. Also, the old argument that Cuba is a communist country holds no weight since our number one trade country and the country WE made power is Communist China. Yes, it is still Communist China.

Vexorg

April 17th, 2009
8:41 am

As I am a staunch opponent of this social experiment called “Communism” (or Socialism, if you are too cowardly to admit you are really a Communist), I do see the potential to overthrow Castro’s dictatorship by the use of economic measures by flooding their markets with American produced goods and services.

As of this moment, other countries are heavily investing in Cuba; many of our “fair weather” allies are pouring billions of dollars in the construction of new resorts and casinos for the use of their own countrymen on vacation….BUT, the average Cuba citizen is DENIED access to those facilities by their government even if they could afford to patronize them!

Castro’s stubborn refusal to admit that Communism is a dismal failure and his continued powermongering over the Cuban people is the real cause of the poverty, not any United States policies on trade. His refusal to allow free market reforms (like China and Vietnam have instituted) keeps his citizens in bondage to him; this is a perfect example of when the government has total control over its population and the citizens are reliant upon its government “benefactor” for their basic human needs. Show any opposition or demand reforms, and you will quickly find yourself in prison for daring to challenge the wisdom of those in charge.

It is human needs and desires that dictate the marketplace and the economy of a country; the Cuban people are tired of doing without “for the greater good” and want access to quality products. If we feed this need, perhaps we could get some of our own industrial base “stimulated” again, and get more Americans back to work. We have a golden opportunity to supply the Cuban market with our goods and services; if we don’t do it……somebody else (China, Japan, South Korea, etc.) will find the capital and gladly do it themselves!

hrh

April 17th, 2009
8:51 am

It’s time we quit trying to be a bully around the world (it obviously does not work) and try to foster some diplomatic relationships. Let’s face it…Cuba has survived over 40 years under our restrictions. I think these modest steps with Cuba by the Obama administration is a step in the right direction. We have to repair our image around the world and this is a good start. I agree Mr Barr, Obama does need to attend the Summit of the Americas. Last time I checked, we do have America in our name and should have a voice at the table personally. My father always used a saying “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!”. Makes sense.

UGA91

April 17th, 2009
8:56 am

The Cuban American lobby skewed our foriegn relations with Cuba for far to long. Much of our foriegn policy was shaped by these exiles and is now outdated. No one seriously believes that Communism is going to take over the world. If the Castro brothers ease the restrictions on free speech, and release their purely political prisoners, I see no reason why we shouldn’t normalize relations with this country. Unfortunately, the Cuban lobby is still very influential in the Repub party and I can see a lot of resistance coming from that side of the aisle. Obama should ignore the critics and go for it (the Russians and Chinese are already trying to establish trading ties with Cuba).

Adittohead

April 17th, 2009
9:11 am

WILL CERTAINLY MAKE IT EASIER for the CARTELs TO TRANSPORT DRUGS FROM MEXICO…via CUBA…..to MIAMI…….into the lower 48….

Adittohead

April 17th, 2009
9:13 am

LIBERALs just do not think with their heads…They do not think at all. Everything is based on emotions & the goodness of all men,

Adittohead

April 17th, 2009
9:16 am

UGA91 begans his argument with…..IF THE CASTRO brothers…..IF is for children…..Mr. USA91.

Adittohead

April 17th, 2009
9:18 am

UGA91…is suggesting the US follow the lead of China & Russia….Why not also follow the lead of Hugo Chavez…

MIKE lump

April 17th, 2009
9:18 am

holy crap… i agree with bob barr ? whats up with that?

Adittohead

April 17th, 2009
9:34 am

IF WE continue on the SOCIALIST path we are now on…..the US will resemble CUBA in 4-years….SLUMS….millions on the gov’t dole..millions on welfare….old cars on concrete blocks…empty buildings everywhere…

RetLTC

April 17th, 2009
9:46 am

Cuba policy is a prime example of typical results when pandering, gutless politicians suck up to loud, howling interest groups with an axe to grind. The day that politicians grow a set and do what needs to be done without regard for who’s feelings get hurt is the day that this nation will go forward and deal with issues that have simple solutions but become overly complicated because of the obstructionists on the fringes of both parties. After all, it’s not like the wingnuts from the right and left would actually vote for the other party now is it? I fail to see what these gutless politicians are afraid of.

Sam

April 17th, 2009
9:49 am

Can we deport Adittohead and everyone else of his ilk?

Dave

April 17th, 2009
9:56 am

For many centuries China and Japan were basically closed countries that kept out foreigners. By engaging China, Russia, Vietnam, and others you change them for the better as you expose them to capitalism and freedoms they see in other countries. I truly think Castro would not have been in power all these years if we had engaged Cuba rather than make them nothing more than a political football used to woo voters in South FL The isolation of Cuba helped Castro stay in power in my estimation.

Jefferson

April 17th, 2009
10:00 am

Cigars & Casinos better than Ebor City on a Saturday night…

RetLTC

April 17th, 2009
10:02 am

You would be 100% spot on Dave. You actually get it.

bubbatech02

April 17th, 2009
11:20 am

cuban cigars, here we come…though they are still not as good as some dominicans, but still the cache is nice.

Gasparilla

April 17th, 2009
11:39 am

Sure expand NAFTA to Cuba and destroy what little is left of the Ybor City cigar business. I voted for you 5 times Bob, but I’m against you on this one.

postor1

April 17th, 2009
12:15 pm

Cuba’s Bailout!

Fidel Castro decided since 1959 to confiscate all American properties and businesses. He executed and jailed Americans and determined he didn’t want us there. During the October Missile Crisis of 1962, this American hater wrote a personal letter to then Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushev, begging him to “nuke” the United States. Castro supported all anti-American efforts in Latin America: Tupamaros, Montoneros, FMLN guerrillas; and now is the political adviser of Hugo Chavez and other anti- American crusaders. This paranoic dictator wants the U.S. taxpayers to finance and rescue his failed oppressive totalitarian regime.

It is estimated that the Castro brothers will pocket 5 billion dollars, if American tourists are allowed to go there for a good brainwash. Many will go to the island to enjoy cuban cigars, cuban rum and to engage in the horrors of child prostitution (jineteras) promoted by the authorities. Others in the extreme left, will go there to reaffirm their ideological convictions and to bring back home new orientations and fresh anti- American slogans from “el Comandante”. After 50 years of suffrering communism, Cubans see the United States as the “promised land” and the “American Way of Life “as the raw model for their future generations. The consequenses of this mistaken policy will destroy forever our present moral image and stature in the eyes of the oppressed people in Cuba. They certainly need freedom for their country…..but have no use for abusive tropical adventurers, communist fellow travelers or Castro siypathizers. I think it would be extremely wise if all this money, now destined for Castro, stay home to help aliviate our awful economic situation.

postor1

April 17th, 2009
12:18 pm

postor1

April 17th, 2009
12:31 pm

Guillermo Fariñas, 45, is one of the giants of the Cuban opposition. Not only has he chronicled the reality of Cuba today as a journalist. He also has put his life on the line to challenge the dictatorship and to expose its true repressive nature.

In 2006, Fariñas went on a lengthy hunger strike, after the dictatorship’s censors barred him from using the Internet to transmit his stories after the Miami Herald quoted him as criticizing the regime. Fariñas quickly expanded his protest to demand that all Cubans have unfettered access to the Internet.

Fariñas ended his protest before the dictatorship gave in to his demands, but he was successful in raising awareness about how the dictatorship’s repressive ways had extended attempts to control the Internet.

More than two years later, the gangsters of the Castro dictatorship are still trying to silence him.”

http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/guillermo-farinas.jpg

postor1

April 17th, 2009
12:50 pm

Castro Feeds on Cubans’ US Cash Support as Obama Eases Limits …

Yankee

April 17th, 2009
4:29 pm

Hey Sam, can postor1 go also?

EC Sedgwick

April 17th, 2009
7:26 pm

I anoys me when I agree woth Bob Barr.

Jack

April 18th, 2009
11:15 am

This kind of hogwash is the reason Barr was not reelected.

Jack

April 19th, 2009
11:03 am

The pictures of Obama holding hands with Chavez will probably warm Barr’s heart.

Artbcpa

April 19th, 2009
4:29 pm

Bob Barr has got it right once again. It is time to wake up and recognize that the hard-line approach of GWB and others has not worked with Cuba. Essentially the only people hurt by the embargo have been the Cuban people.

If it were not for the political pull of the Cuban lobby, we would have abandoned this isolationist policy long ago. We certainly had more of a reason to play hard ball with Vietnam, but here we are trading with and traveling to a country that cost us much more in lives and money. So let’s give Obama some credit for doing what should have been done long ago.

Does that mean that a softer approach will work with all of our enemies? Not really… and yes, the President does need to be careful of showing weakness to those who often understand only strength.

Scorpion1

April 19th, 2009
6:58 pm

Cuba? Why are we concerned with Cuba? Our current economic situation should be more important than any third rate island. Personally, I could care less. We need to worry about our country and keep our money here. Trade with them or not, just don’t send aid (taxpayers money) to support them.

Chris Broe

April 20th, 2009
8:28 am

Following his announcement last week making changes to long-standing US restrictions on dealings between the US and Cuba, President Obama is likely to discuss such matters further — including the broader question of working to bring Cuba back into the mainstream of Western Hemisphere relations — during this week’s Summit of the Americas being held in Trinidad……

Gerunds, sir. This open is a surprise attack on style. This is not the first time that Gerunds bombed the pearls harbored by infamous wannabe’s of literature. Shame, sir.

ISAIDSHAME!

nick white

April 24th, 2009
4:49 am

I think that we should open up trade with cuba. The cold war is over the far right believes that talking or trading with “dictarors” is bad. Well look at all the oil we import from Saudi Araiba 15 of the 19 911 highjackers were from Saudi Araiba but we still trade with them. With a terrible economy we be looking for new revenue streams wherever we can find them. Lets import Cuban Cigars and tax them this might pay that National Debt the is 10 trillion and counting.