Monday, February 22, 2016

The Cuban Conundrum

 "I know the people in Cuba deserve so much better than what they have right now."

This is a tough one. It also a bold move. Some say a foolish move. In any event, for a Freshman Congressman, it quite a step. And because this issue has resided on the back burner for so long, Tom Emmer and the President are acting at the same time. To some, this looks like some kind of collusion. To others, just a coincidence. 

What is the issue? Cuba. Normalization of relations with Cuba. Ending the embargo that has been around since before I started to shave. To be fair, I will disclose that Congressman Emmer and I have talked about this issue - twice. He was very clear with me on why this is important to him. Why it should be important to our country. And most importantly, why this would be good for the impoverished Cuban people.

The Congressman also brought up a point which I agree to be true. Because this one is based in current facts. Many countries are already in country to establish trade agreements with Cuba. Many countries including China. And China with it's developing Blue Water Navy, is now looking for friendly countries to establish overseas ports in. They are already in Africa. I could easily see the Chinese taking a page out of the 1960's Soviet playbook and establish a base in Cuba also. 

Here is the other side of the coin. In May of 2014, the Head of the United States Chamber of Commerce visited Cuba to discuss how the normalization of trade would benefit all. It was a small delegation - along with Mr. Donahue was the head of Amway and the head of Minnesota's own Cargill. So the question is being raised by some - is Cargill behind this move? The Chamber? Or was that just a coincidence?

Here is my take. First off, I would be very disappointed and pissed if I knew that big business was behind this entire venture. I would like to think it was for a higher purpose. I know the people in Cuba deserve so much better than what they have right now. Their government sucks - it has for a while. President Obama, when he visits in a few months, should offer the carrot and the stick. Open elections should be on the top of his list. Not just a choice between two Commies. Real and honest open elections.

I have said this before. This island state which is only 90 miles offshore, should be some of our best friends. Just as the era of Batista has past, so should the era of the Castro brothers. I want normalization to be for the right reasons - not the wrong reason. Cuba deserves to join the other Latin American countries, enjoying the trade routes of the Caribbean.

To take the conundrum issue out of Cuba, the Chamber needs to stay the hell out and out of the way. I want this deal done, but only for the right reasons. The Cuban people deserve liberty just as much as we do. Let's help them get it. Let's share freedom near and far. We have been enemies long enough. Time to be friends.     

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