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.
Read the full story »

Scarcely ever mentioned in news from Cuba is the fact that this impoverished nation not only sends more physicians abroad to help even poorer countries than the combined assistance given by the G8, the eight nations that together enjoy a little over 50% of the total world economy. Cuba's own health statistics are on a par with the US. This while medical cost in the US soar above that of any other country. Health care for profit! What a model.

7 2016-05-22 09:09:05 - Karen

You are being disingenuous Gordon. Part of that 52% is for Social Security, Medicare, VA, and Railroad Retirement.

3 2016-05-18 03:43:50 - First Last

Normalizing relations with Cuba is a no brainer.
The sad part is that too many of our politicians are also no brainers on this issue.

40 2016-05-16 15:10:29 - Jerry

Israel a repressive state? So that is why they are so successful in terms of making the desserts bloom, economics, education, research, relaxed personal liberties, disaster/relief efforts around the world and on and on ... huh?

0 2016-05-01 18:13:53 - charles jandecka

the further away Cuban-Americans get from the Batista generation, the less reliably Republican they are. The children see the world like other Hispanics. Soon, there will be no reason to perpetuate the ruse.

3 2016-04-19 20:11:21 - Occupy Government

Its interesting about the timing of this sudden push to lift the embargo and the rest in regards to Cuba. Has anything happened, like free elections or the death of the Castros? No.

How about in another country such as Venezuela? The country that is the chief lifeline to Cuba in terms of billions of dollars of cash and oil each year. Oh yes! That country, which has more oil then Saudi Arabia is having to import oil because the refineries are breaking down. A country that has to ration toilet paper.

If Venezuela goes under then Cuba will have to go back to the ultra hard times of the 90's when the Russians cut off the subsidies. That's the reason for this sudden push.

6 2016-04-16 19:48:21 - dogpatch

We simply must stop this foolishness and get back on track with diplomacy and trade with Cuba. This "standoff" has one on far too long and doing no one any good. least of all Cuban Americans. We have everything to lose and nothing to gain by maintaining the status quo.

1 2016-04-10 12:58:50 - Joan R.

This isn't the 1960's during the era of JFK. The only way to influence a country that is the last bastion of communism of our coast is through contact and freedom. Normalizing trade and travel is akin to ending the estrangement between distant relatives. Lets bring Cuba into the 21st century as a partner than as a adversary. Europeans countries don't have any hangs up on trading with Cuba why should we. Will we let a vocal minority dictate our foreign policy towards Cuba?

3 2016-04-04 10:21:28 - damon walton

Is the administration planning on a post election surprise and is the New York Time - their main organ - softening up public opinion beforehand?

1 2016-03-31 09:03:14 - Eric

For those who do no know history, you can see how we got to this state of affairs in the first place.

"By 1926 U.S companies owned 60% of the Cuban sugar industry and imported 95% of the total Cuban crop,[12] and Washington was generally supportive of successive Cuban Governments. However, internal confrontations between the government of Gerardo Machado and political opposition led to his military overthrow by Cuban rebels in 1933. U.S. Ambassador Sumner Welles requested U.S. military intervention. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, despite his promotion of the Good Neighbor policy toward Latin America, ordered 29 warships to Cuba and Key West, alerting United States Marines, and bombers for use if necessary. Machado's replacement, Ramón Grau assumed the Presidency and immediately nullified the Platt amendment. In protest, the United States denied recognition to Grau's government, Ambassador Welles describing the new regime as "communistic" and "irresponsible".[4][13]"....
"The Batista era witnessed the almost complete domination of Cuba's economy by the United States, as the number of American corporations continued to swell, though corruption was rife and Havana also became a popular sanctuary for American organized crime figures, notably hosting the infamous Havana Conference in 1946. U.S. Ambassador to Cuba Arthur Gardner later described the relationship between the U.S. and Batista during his second term as President:"

34 2016-03-25 17:37:34 - David Underwood

As I see it, Republicans would rather make enemies in the world rather than friends, which, sadly, could have something to do with their disproportionate support for the military-industrial complex and big defense contractors at the expense of society, education, health care, and people.

I voted for Obama because I traveled a lot, talked to people in other countries, and heard what a miserable nefarious and Dark reputation the Cheney-Bush Administration had world wide. In Obama, I saw a contrast in his attitude, as someone from a younger generation who was temperamentally oriented to making friends in the world rather than enemies.

Somehow, "they" got a hold of Obama, our President, and made him afraid to risk anything.

Look at it this way: No matter what President Obama does, the Republicans and bigots will disparage him, carp, and criticize.

So, I would hope as he contemplates his presidential legacy, he gets in touch with the promises that got him elected President twice, and that, among other acts, he determines to do the right thing, exercise genuine leadership, recognizes Cuba, and gets back to making friends around the world.

This would also mean stop the drone attacks as well. The risk of killing innocent civilians makes many more times the enemies and plays right into the Islamist extremists' hands.

5 2016-03-12 06:43:56 - PB

Its time to lift the restrictions and get on with life. More will be accomplished with free trade than anything else.

7 2016-03-11 06:16:32 - Paul Costello

The US fears the ideological wellspring of the Cuban Revolution at its doorstep.

1 2016-03-06 07:12:15 - Monica Yriart

The US needs to be consistent in its dealing with despotic regimes. It makes little sense to me that the US would have open trade with China and not Cuba.

Personally, I would like to see the US put greater restrictions on trade with China since the Chinese government denies basic freedoms and rights to the people under its control.

With respect to Cuba, the embargo makes sense because Cuba has not embraced capitalism and private property ownership. Any expansion of trade would only benefit the regime. Keep in mind that Cuba can trade freely with virtually every other country in the world. (The embargo is not a blockade)

1 2016-02-23 08:06:02 - AZDave

David took on Goliath and won. Congratulations, Fidel - up here we like underdogs. The "embargo" was supposed to starve you into submission. Surprise, surprise. Tell us how you do it - no crime, no drugs, no guns, no violence, no corruption. Good free education and good free medical care. OK, no work either but yours is a poor country and you aren't responsible for that. Put your name on the ballot here at election and you'll win - promise.

4 2016-02-23 07:32:04 - Gordon Ackerman

Cuba imports 80% of its food and the U.S. is it's main food supplier. That's right, peas from conservative Eastern Washington, agricultural products from Arkansas, rice and beans from republican North Dakota.

It is probably surprising to most Americans who think about it but the embargo is not popular with farmers in rural America; congressional districts and states inhabited by mostly republicans.

It's always been a foreign policy dominated by domestic considerations making it one of the oddest foreign policies in our history.

President Obama has a chance to do what eleven presidents have failed to do even though some, democrats and republicans have tried: end the stalemate, start diplomatic relations like we have done with Vietnam, Cambodia and China. Look for means to loosen the embargo.

35 2016-02-03 05:41:38 - JT FLORIDA

You will never get your property back, just as Vietnamese, Chinese, Palastinian, Russian émigrés never got their property back. Now, let the rest of us move forward and end this rediculous embargo.

3 2016-02-01 12:01:08 - VW

I always thought the embargo was pointless and politically foolish. The best way to influence a country's people and politics is to have strong economic ties. I think that one reason for the embargo was presidential embarrassment and that another was the influence of the mob money men who were thrown out (as well they should have been).

27 2016-01-30 22:05:15 - vklip

He said 1960's didn't he? Not necessarily pre-missile crisis.

0 2016-01-24 13:13:57 - Monica Yriart

If you hate communism and Castroism, the best way to undermine it is to flood the island with blue jeans, CDs and spare parts for 1959 Chevys. The embargo never brought about the end of Castro -- every other country has normal relations with Cuba -- so let's get rid of this anachronism.

56 2016-01-22 15:33:55 - Classical2

Post to The Shifting Politics of Cuba Policy (login required)

33Demise of the Southern Democrat Is Now Nearly Complete799Inequality Is a Drag957A Scourge Is Spreading. M.T.A.’s Cure? Dude, Close Your Legs.489The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street1194Living Wages, Rarity for U.S. Fast-Food Workers, Served Up in Denmark989The Battle for New York Schools: Eva Moskowitz vs. Mayor Bill de Blasio104The Profits-Investment Disconnect580U.S. to Commit Up to 3,000 Troops to Fight Ebola in Africa245Living on Purpose409Staten Island Man Died From Chokehold During Arrest, Autopsy Finds355Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition775After Losing Scottish Independence Vote, Alex Salmond Will Resign323How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties1Cambodians Gather to Pray, Offer Gifts for 'Killing Fields' Dead1338The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food108My Selfie, Myself1457Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll374A Political Crystal Ball219An Affair to Remember, Differently52Live Updates: Aftermath of Grand Jury's Decision in Michael Brown Shooting in Ferguson1511Shooting Accounts Differ as Holder Schedules Visit to Ferguson101Teenagers Stand Up to Backpage4380A Plea for Caution From Russia818How Obama Lost America334Death by Data281In Florida Student Assaults, an Added Burden on Accusers1625A Punch Is Seen, and a Player Is Out164 The Shifting Politics of Cuba Policy 2207Under Pressure, Cuomo Says Ebola Quarantines Can Be Spent at Home652Germany Fights Population Drop494Trayvon Martin Case Shadowed by Series of Police Missteps167It Takes a Mentor622House Votes to Sue Obama for Overstepping Powers597Don’t Muzzle the Clown443The Humanist Vocation192Weak Oversight, Deadly Cars163More on Sleeping Pills and Older Adults1092The Big Lie Behind Voter ID Laws 128‘Princelings’ in China Use Family Ties to Gain Riches495Doctors Denounce Cancer Drug Prices of $100,000 a Year445Let’s Reject the ‘Inevitable’530Will Portland Always Be a Retirement Community for the Young?733On Election’s Eve, G.O.P. Is Confident, but Voters Are Sour118The Building Blocks of a Good Pre-K 1031One Day in an Elevator With Obama, Then Out of a Job630Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse290Cuomo’s Gun Law Plays Well Downstate but Alienates Upstate 999Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?449Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature1022Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt