Monday, December 22, 2014
Barbara & I were delighted when the President announced a thaw in our nation's relations with Cuba. I can't say I was surprised when he received criticism for this détente, but it is unwarranted. We are not engaging in a military alliance, or even establishing a trade treaty, we are merely ready to exchange ambassadors, and asking Congress to end the punitive embargo on commerce with an independent nation. We want to "normalize" our relationship. Critics who complain because Cuba is not making any "concessions" to the US miss the point. We are merely ending a unilateral "cold war" against our neighbor initiated because of our leaders dislike of the lack of US-style "'freedoms" in a "communist" state. There are aspects of Cuban society which we may envy--free health care and education, in particular, just as there are aspects we deplore, such as restrictions on political expression and free travel. I have no desire to smoke any of Cuba's fine cigars, and adequate substitutes are available for its superb rum, but I would welcome the end of trade barriers. I would like to see the US return Guantanamo to its rightful owners, but that won't happen until we either end our policy of holding prisoners without trial there, or find another country we can persuade to accept them.