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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It will be a sad day when the capitalists philistines like Trump hoist their garish casinos over La Havana & the plantation owners return to claim their land, kicking the Cuban people to the streets. I hope to get to Cuba before the dismal return of American "culture" which rots all in its frivolous grasp.
5 2015-07-04 16:35:26 - william

It's ludicrous that four politicians in Florida can hold Congress and the country hostage on lifting the embargo. Do they have long-lasting and deep contempt for Fidel? Yes, but their family chose to leave Cuba or they were forced to leave because they supported Batista and represented a counter-revolution that would have caused havoc for the revolution.

The US must lift the embargo not for "our interest" but because it is the humane thing to do, and it is none of US business how Cuban govern themselves.

3 2015-07-03 06:33:54 - Gordon Alderink

David took on Goliath and won. Good for you, Fidel. Poisoned cigars, the Bay of Pigs and countless assassination attempts failed to bring down our tiny, impoverished neighbor.

7 2015-07-02 20:03:19 - Gordon Ackerman

For those who raise the issue of Cuba supposedly not being a democracy, but rather an “authoritarian regime” as a pretext for not lifting the blockade, consider this other view by an American academic.

David Grantham, after six years as a Commissioned Officer and Special Agent with the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, accepted a full-time appointment from the Department of History, PhD Program, at Texas Christian University. He is now an Adjunct Instructor and PhD Candidate in Modern Latin American History with supporting fields in Modern Middle East History and Modern U.S. Diplomacy at Texas Christian University. He wrote a book review of my latest volume on the Cuban political process and democracy, a review that was published in the International Journal of Cuban Studies.

In my view, the U.S. has no right to dictate to Cuba the type of system that it should adopt. However, let us debate the issue of what the nature of the Cuban political process is in reality and its own path to democracy. An interesting basis for this discussion is the book review by the former Special Agent with the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations, David Grantham. Here is his review.

2 2015-06-22 02:23:05 - Arnold August

This might seem like an odd statement, but one of the main barriers to a shift in Cuba policy is the Electoral College. Florida has the third largest number of Electoral College votes (tied with New York at 29) and Florida is a swing state in presidential elections (remember the 2000 election?). That gives conservative Cuban-Americans in Florida a disproportionate influence on the outcome of presidential races, which in turn sets the direction of national policy towards Cuba.
We have diplomatic relations with communist Vietnam and communist China. It's time to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, end the embargo, and follow a policy of engagement instead of isolation.

25 2015-06-21 03:18:19 - Pres Winslow


I've known MANY expatriate Cubans, long now Americans, and my Spanish is fluent and idiomatic. I'd visit Cuba as well, not for the beaches, music and food, because you can get that in parts of Miami; but to witness before it eventually disappears, as it will, the monument of misery to one man that Cuba is.

Quite apart from the fact that Mr. Obama could have supported reforms, power-sharing and inclusion, but chose instead to abandon Iraq and brought on himself and the region the whirlwind of radical extremism, it doesn't have a lot to do with Cuba, your typical failed communism cum fascism.

Google the litany of Cuban political prisoners, and consider Mariel and its legacy of desperate attempts to escape that continue to this day: it's not me that condemns Cuba, it's Cuba's own people. The AP tells the story: "Some 46,662 Cubans left the island legally and permanently last year [2012], the largest migration in a single year since 1994, according to figures from Cuba's National Statistics Office. Since 2002, the number leaving has hovered around 30,000 annually, making the last 10 years the largest exodus since the start of the revolution. That's in addition to an estimated 7,000 to 19,000 who leave Cuba illegally each year — some by boat and many with the U.S. as their final destination."

Even the Cubans vote with their feet, not being given another opportunity. Cuba can answer my question: what do they have that we need enough to overlook what they've become?

1 2015-06-09 14:21:27 - Richard Luettgen

It is time for the US Government to adopt an American foreign policy toward Cuba, and not a South Florida-pandering foreign policy. The USA is losing out as European and Canadian investment money and tourists freely flow into Cuba.

10 2015-05-27 20:57:23 - Brian Tilbury

Stuck! Yet Republicans never point out this tar sands of their own making that literally hurts both economies, Cuba and the US, with no political gain than maintaining an out-dated status quo for people once dislocated who remain angry about a past even as they have gone on to new and prosperous lives.

Turn the page; end the blockade. An embargo is no longer smart or effective power politics. The best revenge is progress. Build a new future.

41 2015-05-25 19:38:12 - walterrhett

People like Senator Menendez rail against the present government in Cuba and conveniently forget the horrors of the government that preceded it. It pays to recall the fate of Cubans under General Batista and perhaps see some of the advances in health care and education made by the present government.

It also pays to recall American intervention in the affairs of our neighbor to the south, including invasion, sabotage, embargo and plans to assassinate its leaders. It is not surprising that Cuba sought help from the former Soviet Union. What did Cuba ever do to the United States? Nothing.

It is time to end the embargo and normalize relations with Cuba and let Senators Mendenz and Rubio live quietly in the past.

23 2015-05-22 11:44:52 - Marv Raps

A swing group in a swing state, the Florida Cuban community has had a huge distorting influence on national politics for far too long. Any thinking person realized that the embargo was ineffective and silly decades ago.

9 2015-05-06 12:57:23 - David

Nice to see the publishing of certain editorials in Spanish has survived the xenophobic backlash of those who failed high school español. Sorry to see the comments section did not. ¡Qué lástima!

2 2015-05-04 10:48:55 - totyson

The exiles and their families who support the embargo confuse me. Do they think that a capitalist democracy achieved by the embargo (improbably as that may seem) will allow them to reclaim their property lost in the revolution? Do these older exiles have little or no family ties to Cubans remaining in Cuba? Do they themselves want to be able to return to Cuba to be the upper middle class (and economic and political elite) that many of them (or their parents) were before the revolution? These seem to me to be the chief reasons why an indefinite embargo would be preferable to them to some method of engagement with the current Communist regime that might lead to greater reforms in the direction of capitalism and democracy, but that would make the reclaiming of property and power by the former elite more difficult. I think that the Castro regime is and always has been despicable and needs to give way to openness, multiparty democracy, respect for civil liberties, etc. But I fail to see how the supposed collapse of it that older exiles believe the embargo will someday cause is preferable to change that begins now with the lifting of the embargo and I therefore question those exiles' motives. Fears that Cuba might become like China (capitalist and not democratic) are understandable but not likely given Cuba's relative smallness militarily and economically and the huge dependence it would have on US trade should the embargo be lifted.

0 2015-04-19 17:28:46 - Pierre Font

The U.S. embargo against Cuba has come to be one of Washington's greatest failures. To lift the embargo, U.S. congressional approval is needed, but Congress is dominated by the Republicans. By advocating the lifting of the embargo, the New York Times may be insinuating that, if President Obama appeals the Republican-dominated Congress to end this increasingly unpopular embargo, the conservative sectors would be situated under political pressure to do something - against or in favor. Either way, Republican congressmen would be the Big Losers. Their vote in favor of lifting the embargo would help save their heads ahead of the upcoming elections. Their vote against lifting the embargo may constitute even a greater defeat, depending on the way the issue is handled by Democratic strategists. Most important for the political future of President Obama is for him to speak out and press for the end the embargo. Inaction on his part would mean impotence.

4 2015-04-14 21:37:18 - Edgardo Diaz Diaz

The Cuban Workers' Paradise was propped by the USSR until the nineties, and by Venezuela since then. The imminent exhaustion of Venezuela's FX reserves may result in an end to Cuba's free petroleum, which would be the end of the Castro Dynasty. The United States and the Cuban people want regime change in Cuba, and now is precisely not the time to come to the Castros' rescue. Unless of course one supports totalitarianism. Let us not forget that it was the NYT which told us that Castro was a friendly democrat.

2 2015-04-10 13:22:11 - mahoneyct

Remarkable that 1950's political legacy could have such lasting effect. Youthful fashionistas sport Che wear with revolutionary iconography irony and a vague perception of meaning. The actuarial tables are already creaking to usher in the successor leaders and related tee shirt and cigar sales await.

Unless Rubio has a Nixon China moment (scary as that may be) , at least 10 years until after Fidel/Raul are both novelty apparel items .

0 2015-04-08 17:44:41 - Kevin K

If we can normalize relations with Vietnam (58,000 dead young Americans) and start selling them arms, then why not Cuba?

14 2015-04-07 06:20:19 - 5yak5

I don't believe property owners whose holdings pre-date the Revolution should hold their breaths for the Castros' passings. Socialism may change in Cuba, and the economy may become more mixed, civil liberties may be amplified. But the core doctrines of the revolution, on which health, nutrition, and education are based, aren't going anywhere. Revolution as national identity is too deeply and widely entrenched, in my opinion. Similarly, in Venezuela, even if a Chavista presidential candidate lost to an Opposition candidate, half the country will be Chavistas for generations to come. These are not ephemeral, but cross-generational socio-historic phenomena.

6 2015-04-03 19:03:18 - Monica Yriart

What do you think it will do to us? Talk for 4 hours?

1 2015-03-24 05:57:02 - Monica Yriart

That's dumb. We right-wing Cuban exile fanatics weren't around in the U.S in significant numbers to influence anything back in the early 60's. Our pathetic Bay of Pigs project was ignored and botched by the Kennedy administration, so what are you talking about.

Maybe the fact that the USSR planted nuclear warheads 90 miles south of Key West may have had something to do with the excitement...

7 2015-03-22 14:56:21 - Luis Saltiel

The only logic to a continuation of the embargo would be that it keeps alive 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.

3 2015-03-20 15:10:47 - HJBoitel

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