Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finally! Change in US Cuban Relations!

I am very happy to see on CNN's website that President Obama has lifted travel restrictions on people with relatives in Cuba to Cuba!  This is not normalization.  And restrictions on the rest of us are still in place.  But it may be the first step.  To say that this is long over due would a monumental understatement.  

I think this has only been made possible by Obama's sizable victory in the election.  Had he taken the strategy taken by Gore and Kerry (i.e. a "big state" strategy) he would have been dependent on Florida.  But because he built such a broad coalition both geographically and ideologically, he can afford to risk defeat in Florida by taking this step.  

This is great!  I hope to hear more along these lines over the next few years!  


The Law Talking Guy said...

Actually, RBR, Obama affirmatively campaigned on loosening restrictions for family members because it had some appeal to Cubans in Florida. It was the one part of the embargo with mixed reactions from Cuban-Americans. Some hardliners - who would never have backed Dems anyway - were opposed to any loosening, but many middle-of-the-road people wanted more freedom to see their families. So this is not quite the thumb-nose-at-Florida you present this as.

I would like to see full normalization of relations. I am convinced that in a few years, this would revolutionize Cuba. Cuba would become the 'spring break' destination quickly, and Havana would become a haven for artists, a cheap refuge in a great climate. Like Prague was in 1990. Dollars would flood in to build new tourist resorts. The lack of crime and begging - unlike much of the caribbean- would be a draw. In short order, the Cuban government would become too accustomed to the flow of wealth to cut it off. Political liberalization would follow in the sense that, so as not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, the heavy hand of government would lighten. Protection of property rights and not imprisoning people arbitrarily will be important. Political liberalization of a true kind would take longer, of course, but perhaps faster than we imagine.

The only serious question is how the caribbean drug trade woudl affect Cuba.

Raised By Republicans said...

I'm glad to hear that the Cuban American population is divided on this. Generational replacement leading to sane policies perhaps? As the old Batista crowd dies off, the new generation is tired of fighting old battles?

Pombat said...

Mmmm, tourist resorts and spring break. Lucky Cuba...

That aside, yay, sounds like more sanity. Why would some Cuban-Americans not want any relaxing of the embargo though? Because they're political refugees who are still pissed at the government down there? Or is there something deeper going on?

Raised By Republicans said...


You answered your own question. The original generation of Cuban-Americans came here because of their associations with the Batista dictatorship. They despise Castro. And they've had a strangle hold on the USA's Cuba policy for decades - in large part because their pivotal position in a pivotal state (Florida).

There is also some backing for isolating Cuba from domestic sugar and corn syrup producers (although we seem to be the only government doing it so one is free to ask who exactly is being isolated).

The Law Talking Guy said...

Same problem with Iranian-Americans in LA. They still put up pictures of the Shah and such.

Raised By Republicans said...

A variety of ethnic groups in the US have managed to have disproportionate influence on our foreign policy. Chinese Nationalist lobbies were big in the 50s and had a lot to do with our policy in Taiwan. Polish Americans in Chicago had a big influence on US reactions to the USSR, the Polish communists and Solidarity etc. German American lobby groups played a significant role in delaying American entrance into World War II. And of course there is the famous influence that pro-Israel groups have on US policy in the Middle East.