Monday, December 22, 2014

Foreign Affairs: Cuba Division

The last in our trilogy is the possibility that the United States will be the last nation of the face of the earth to normalize relations with Cuba. Perhaps, some day, we will have someone like Alec Guinness looking after our interests on the island.
The Cuba Libre Affair
Ah, Cuba Libre. Besides being a good use of rum was the 19th century slogan for the liberation of Cuba from Spanish colonialism. It was resurrected in the 1950's by rebels fighting to free Cuba from the brutally corrupt dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. It was used, briefly, when the CIA and Mafia collaborated on a military invasion of the island known to history as the Bay of Pigs.  Since then it has been the faint hope of Cuban exiles in Florida who expect the rest of us to believe that they want to give up their lucrative businesses in Miami and return to their grandfather's tobacco plantation in Pinar del Rio.

Opponents of normalizing relations claim that, first, Cuba has to pay US companies for all the property they lost when Cuba nationalized foreign interests, plus a half century of interest. Which means the Cuban government will have to find the heirs of mobster Meyer Lansky and compensate them for the hotel, casino, and brothels they took.
Crime, vice, and fascist dictatorship - Cuba's glory days.
Opponents claim that if the United States continues its embargo for just a few more decades then the Cuban government will change. A half century of isolation just isn't long enough. Except Cuba isn't isolated. You can fly into Cuba from Canada, Europe, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, and pretty much anywhere in the world except the US. You want to smoke Cuban cigars? Just cross into Canada or Mexico where you can buy them legally. You can probably carry them back into the US too.

The embargo is a vestige of the Cold War. It may have made sense for the twenty or thirty years following the Cuban Missile Crisis but now it is just silly. If we can have normal relations with Vietnam after a war that killed over a million Vietnamese and 60,000 Americans we can have relations with Cuba for disposing a friendly murderous dictator and replacing him with an unfriendly murderous dictator.

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