Thursday, January 21, 2016

Our Cuba Dilemma

"It is geographically part of North America. Culturally, it is part of Latin America. It is a land which has much to offer in trade and tourism." 

The other day there was an article in the newspaper about our Congressman. That he was somewhat at odds with his Party in how he felt about normalizing relations with Cuba. I read the article with a bit of bemusement. As a former Cold Warrior, I fully understand the history of Cuba since the Communist Revolution. But we are long past the time just to move on. Throw what has happened in the bone yard of history.

Earlier this week, I was at an event with our Congressman. I told him face to face that I stand with him on the issue of normalizing relations with Cuba. I told him here we are, dancing with an evil regime like Iran, in bed with Communist China on just about every aspect of trade, and yet some of us are still worried about Cuba? This country has been suffering under the rule of the Castro Brothers for decades. They are ripe for democracy. They are ripe for trade. For a change. And they are ripe for our friendship.

Last November on our way down to Aruba, we had to alter our course due to a developing storm. We had to skirt the coast of Cuba. I was amazed on how big that country is. It seemed like it took forever to get from one end to the other. And considering this huge island is only 90 miles away from the United States, we should be acting like BFFs. 

Many who have had a chance to travel to the Caribbean, South America or Central America have learned something about the people who live there. They are colorful, they are nice, they are happy, and for the most part, they like us. I would expect the same to be true of the people in Cuba. We have patched up old wounds with Viet Nam and are now visiting and trading with them. And we had a hot war with them - not a cold war like we had with Cuba. And just like Cuba, Viet Nam is a communist state.

I have joked that someday I would like to legally sit in my back yard and smoke a Cuban cigar. Okay, not a joke - I would like to do that. But more than that, I would like to see this relationship fixed. I think through our embargo, we have punished these poor people enough. The leaders (who we should have been punishing) are doing fine. The people are not. As I have said, I think these folks are ripe for democracy. Just like Nicaragua was before they threw out the Sandinista government.

So bravo to Congressman Emmer for being clear headed and bold on this decision. Normalizing relations is the right thing to do. It is right for Cuba, and it is right for us. Let's do this sooner rather than later. 

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