It’s probably a grave sin in an election year, but when I saw the news tonight that the president found his way to Havana, my only thought was good on him. At the height of the Cold War it made perfect sense to hold an embargo on an otherwise small, relatively insignificant country that represented a Soviet toehold in our hemisphere. In the second decade of the 21st century and thirty plus years after the demise of the USSR, it’s long past time that we treat Cuba like any other sunny tropical island. They get a much needed infusion of tourist and investment dollars and we get a new an interesting place to visit without that added excitement of committing a felony in the process.
Those who were chased out of Cuba by the revolution have a grievance, no question. There should be provisions for making whole those who lost their homes and livelihoods under the Castro regime. Cuba’s human rights record isn’t stellar, but it’s no worse than that of any number of countries we already do business with. I suspect we’ll be far better positioned to influence Cuba’s policies when the trade dollars start flowing than we ever were when we did our best to pretend there was no Cuba outside the fence of Guantanamo Bay.
I’d hoped to get there before the inevitable crush of tourists turn the place into the next Riviera Maya, but the timeline looks like it’s moving way faster than I anticipated… which isn’t surprising in the 8th year of a presidency when the commander-in-chief decides that it’s time to go our legacy shopping. Regardless of whether it’s setting up a legacy or simply an action that’s in the national interest, POTUS got this one right.
So take that anyone who thinks I never have anything nice to say about President Obama.