Our government needs to normalize relations with Cuba.
We have nothing to fear from Cuba. Think about it: The Cold War is over. There is no more Supreme Soviet; there’s no risk the Socialists are going to come in from overseas to corrupt us. Truth be told, they’re already here and running for president, and a lot of people think that’s a good thing.
And let’s face it: Our southern border, particularly along the coast of the Caribbean — which is the entirety of Puerto Rico, don’t forget — is porous to the point of indefensibility. Improving the avenues of legal movement between our countries while setting up appropriate deportation procedures for new non-legal arrivals can only make things easier; desperate people break the law because it is both flimsy and in the way, and this would be less so. This would permit us to re-allocate resources to fight smuggling.
It’s also important to take into account the mindset of the culture in Cuba when setting policy. Machismo and its wealthier brother Caballerosidad are pervasive in every stratum of Cuban society; neither accepts an insult or a slight. In order to have a positive relationship with our neighbors, we must first treat them as equals, with the respect due a proud people.
Instead, our history for the past century and more began with conquest disguised as liberation, half a century of exploitation, and since Castro, sixty years of conflict. Relaxations in our policies under the Obama Administration were a beginning, but not nearly enough. Profitable business deals were generated; tourism began to take off… and then Trump’s State Department began backpedaling, restricting both traffic and commerce — ostensibly to punish the Cuban government for its close relationship with Venezuela’s dictator Maduro.
This is not an effective method of separating Cuba from Venezuela. All else aside, Cuba needs commodities that Venezuela produces and vice-versa; unless we offer competition, there’s zero chance they’ll voluntarily stop working together.
If we encourage economic and social traffic between our two nations, we will create vast positive encouragement for cooperation. It will be in Cuba’s interest to help our policies just as it will be in our interest to help Cuba’s struggling economy. Human rights have been mentioned; the same holds true in that arena: As American and Cuban cultures mix, the best virtues from each will spread. If we truly believe in the value and power of American values and American freedoms, we must know they will triumph over repression. (And if we don’t believe in them, what right do we have to insist on them?)
That’s the bottom line, after all is said and done: If we cooperate, everyone is better off for it, Cuban and American alike. Our economies both improve; our cultures each become richer and more varied; our people all gain freedoms. We get Cuban cigars and a couple new baseball teams; Cubans get Coca-Cola, Boeing, and a shot at the World Series. Our interests will align and everyone will prosper — except those perpetual losers, the Seattle Mariners, and who cares about them? Even Seattle doesn’t.
And Maduro, inevitably, will lose another friend.