Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cuba in the Obama Era

Will republicans join democrats in a few years on the beaches of Cuba sipping piña coladas purchased with funds from their high yield green-washed portfolios? Only time will tell. At the risk of sounding pro-Cuba and therefore pro-communist I want to pose a reasonable question. Why in 2008 with the cold war nearly 20 years behind us does the United States maintain a trade embargo on this beautiful neighbor of ours? My grandmother used to tell us about her parent's jaunts to Havana and their glowing tales of fun and relaxation on this largest of the Caribbean islands. My great-grandfather was a Swedish immigrant and self-made man. A lumber mill owner and contractor who powered his mill with the waters of the Chadakoin river in Jamestown, New York. He was an entrepreneur who epitomized a real world version of the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of person the Bill O'Riely's and Sean Hannity's of the world love to fantasize about through their plumped jowls. Despite this apparent dyed in the wool republican persona my great-grandfather loved Cuba and two generations later tales of his adventures there still bounce around in my head. Cuba is an island we could literally build a bridge to and yet the United States maintains trade barriers because they are communists? What about China? We sure like spending money we borrow from them to buy goods they make. Why not spend China's money on the beaches of Cuba? I understand that there may be severe human rights violations inside the Cuban boarders and that the people of Cuba may not have the same brand of freedom that we think we have in the United States but as the early 20th century supreme court justice Louis Brandeis once said "Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” referring to the benefits of openness and transparency. If things are really that bad in Cuba shouldn't Americans want to see it for themselves and "love thy neighbor?" My question remains; is there any good reason for maintaining the embargo? If you think the answer is, No, how can we help speed along the reconciliation process?

Prospects seem good.

Some of the expectations Cubans have of our new leader.

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