The Shifting Politics of Cuba Policy

With the views of Cuban-Americans evolving, Washington no longer faces the same political backlash for strengthening ties to the island.
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You can bet, that if diplomatic relationships with Cuba are reopened, it is because someone wants to make money on them.

15 2016-08-04 17:43:29 - Carolyn Egeli

I have long thought that it was a true sign of cowardice by US politicians to allow a group of aging and bitter Cubans define our Latin American policy.

12 2016-08-04 02:38:00 - Terry Thurman

This argument isn't necessarily correct. America is actually a Republic, not a Democracy. This is why it is not that infrequent to see politicians doing things that does not necessarily reflect the current majority, but rather reflects power, perceived power, or historical but fading majority position.

Besides, even if the argument of the wishes of Cuban Americans were correct, even in a democracy, it would be the job of the Cuban American politicians to reflect the general populace in their constituency, not just narrow ethnic concerns. This would certainly apply to Menendez of New Jersey, and perhaps the other Senator, because they represent States, not particular congressional districts in Miami where Cubans may dominate.

3 2016-08-03 14:05:33 - Joker

To have our current congress do something like remove the embargo is not reality. You may as well propose making Cuba the 51st state.

0 2016-07-22 05:14:50 - KO

Pure baloney. Ever heard of China or Vietnam. Both communist dictatorships with whom we do plenty of business. The Cuban trade embargo only serves to prop up their govt.

3 2016-07-16 16:13:29 - rdleis

Most Americans seem unaware that the "Cuban" missile crisis was instigated by the U.S. putting missiles in Turkey, a first-strike threat that the USSR couldn't ignore. The Russians didn't want missiles in Cuba, they just wanted us to take the missiles out of Turkey. But JFK preferred to flirt with nuclear annihilation.

4 2016-07-14 07:04:04 - Richard Bynum

Where are the voters and politicians clamoring to lift the embargo? How much money do those voters and special interests contribute to politicians who will vote to change U.S. Cuba policy? How many pro engagement/lift sanctions politicians are being elected? How many of those are Cuban Americans? you see the problem? Sentiments mean little when it comes to changing a failed policy. Real politics require action in elections and voter registration. The Congress is strangled by pro-embargo hardliners who still have nothing to lose and everything to gain it appears using US Cuba policy as a wedge issue. There is still a lot of serious work that lies ahead for those who are serious and committed to changing U.S. Cuba policy. Let's not forget that President Obama raised more than $2 million for the Democratic party from the hardline constituency in Miami so far. Once with Gloria Estefan and the another through Jorge Mas. And this election cycle is over November 4th...

0 2016-07-09 23:38:44 - Usambcuba

Hard to disagree. Cuba no longer presents a threat to us, and the embargo does nothing to promote democracy on the island. Its only effects at this point are to hurt the Cuban people, to allow the regime to blame America for the failure of its economic system, and to discourage ties that could speed the freedom of the Cuban people.

56 2016-07-07 18:56:53 - Josh Hill

It's not surprising as over 50 years have passed since the most-affected generation of Cuban-Americans escaped Castro's Cuba and came here that consideration of the island has become more studied and less emotional.

But this emerging desire for closer relations could be precipitate.

On one hand the growing interest is of one piece with the conviction that we should be the first to extend a hand, much as many believe that for developing nations to get serious about curbing environmentally damaging emissions we should first make herculean efforts, essentially to shame them to action. But many disagree with this approach, noting that the worst offenders aren't likely to change policies on which their growth depends merely for shame.

Similarly, Cuba still supports very deeply entrenched institutions of tyranny and oppression. Cuban law limits freedom of expression, association, assembly, movement, and the press, and is to the Americas what Iran is to the Middle East in supporting terrorist groups and those with declared interests inimical to ours. What are they willing to do to change these aspects of their society so offensive to us in return for normalized relations?

In any event, assuming the best BEFORE you extend a hand isn't always good policy. We have a lot that they need. What do they have that we need that would make us willing to overlook having an outbound ship from Havana caught in Panama with a shipment of illegal weapons to North Korea?

4 2016-07-01 03:58:19 - Richard Luettgen

The only logic to a continuation of the embargo would be that it supports the idea that those who kept most of the Cuban people in poverty and ignorance, prior to Castro, will be able to return to resume where they left off.

The lifting of the embargo is long overdue. It causes suffering to the Cuban people, is an obstacle to the proper economic and democratic development of Cuba, and deprives most of us of the opportunity to interact with the many wonderful, gifted and innocent Cuban people.

The embargo also stands as a blatant inconsistency in the foreign policy and immigration standards of the United States.

7 2016-06-24 19:06:54 - HJBoitel

"I tell you I saw missile bases and SMILES upon those Cuban faces " Phil Ochs

Here is to the Cuban people .

2 2016-06-23 19:49:36 - Paul T

It is time. It has not worked in over fifty years, my age, and there is little promise that the embargo will change the regime. What looks more promising is lifting the embargo and flooding the country with good old fashion American goods, food, cars, radios, TV's you name it. The embargo has only resulted in a polarization of the island, as those who are in power can get just about anything they wish that is made in America.

16 2016-06-20 03:36:12 - javierg

Please ask Al Gore how "manageable" Cuban American anger can be - seeing as how Janet Reno's return of Elian Gonzalez to the island cost him the presidency and gave our country George Bush, no stem cell research, two wars and a precipitous fall in America's standing in the world.

Let's not address the immense PR campaign that the Castro regime has put out to influence our editorial pages, arts reporting and public opinion, and on the US government's policy in this regard. Lets address how, on scant or evidence that the Cuban vote would not be influenced strongly by such a move, the New York Times can state it, practically as fact. I personally don't see how the embargo has hurt the US in any way but can see how the Democratic party can lose the White House, and cost the country any hope of reasonable balance on the Supreme Court (the one which has struck down the voting rights act, reinterpreted the right to bear arms to tie any state's hands, and gave us unlimited spending by the Koch brothers.)

Play it safe and let the Cuban government deal with its own political consequences of not advancing free elections, while we avoid creating nation changing political consequences here. The 21st century is at stake here.

6 2016-06-16 14:10:38 - Danny B
a mere 52% of our population is on public assistance, fidel. hey, that's capitalism!
2 2016-06-02 09:18:25 - Gordon Ackerman

Yes, and perhaps we can even learn something from the Cubans. Like from their level of education as a society as a whole, or their philosophy of medical ethics, ensuring that those in need are treated first.

2 2016-06-02 04:17:01 - Monica Yriart

The embargo is a relic of failed policy. Cuba is a tiny island which has managed to educate some of the best doctors in the Western Hemisphere. And yet the opponents of a relaxation of relations with Cuba are caught in a time which has long passed. I share Ms Clinton's view that the embargo has been a failure.

84 2016-05-31 07:33:23 - Jordan Davies

These right-wing Cuban exile fanatics and their patrons in the Pentagon
and CIA almost got us into nuclear war with Russia back in the
early 1960s over Cuba.

7 2016-05-30 07:37:05 - fair and balanced fred

Before considering normalization, the Times should look into existing Cuban Concentration Camps. Castro’s dictatorship has systematically imprisoned dissidents, homosexuals, AIDS victims, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Afro-Cuban priests under the banner of Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción, or UMAP. Just Investigate; ask questions.
Herded into buses and trucks, the “unfit” are transported at gunpoint to
camps in the Sierra Maestre. Some never return; others are raped, beaten, or mutilated; most will be traumatized for life.
Normalize? Many will scoff and deny UMAP. But look up Hector Almenderos, or me, for that matter, and read about the horrible truth only 90 miles away.

4 2016-05-29 08:10:22 - William Heuisler

Aside from the fact that the embargo has been a failure, think of all the governments that we have trade and relationships with that are clearly not democratic and have a history of human rights violations. What is it about Cuba? Our corporations and the mob exploited them and we seem bent on holding them responsible for having a reaction. There has been lots of wrong done on both sides, but 50 years have gone by and things change. Time to move on, mend fences, open doors and work for a better tomorrow.

3 2016-05-25 08:11:20 - mlogan

We force Cubans to buy elsewhere,
Drives would be sellers to despair,
For us it is futile
And clearly inutile,
It's now gotten too much to bear.

10 2016-05-25 04:56:07 - Larry Eisenberg

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