Obama to Visit Cuba
US President Barack Obama has confirmed he will visit Cuba in March as part of a broader trip to Latin America.
He will be only the second sitting US president in history to travel to the island, after Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
US Republicans have criticised the visit, saying it should not take place while the Castro family is in power.
Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both sons of Cuban migrants, said the visit was a mistake.
Asked whether he would go, Mr Rubio said: “Not if it’s not a free Cuba.” Mr Cruz said Mr Obama would be acting “as an apologist”.
Mr Obama’s visit could coincide with the signing of a peace deal in Havana between the Colombian government and rebels from the Farc group to end that country’s civil war, due to take place by 23 March.
Of the various reactions I have to Rubio’s statement are, a) I am not surprised (really, what else is he going to say?), and b) half a century of this type of thinking has not accomplished anything (and, arguably, has helped maintain the Castros in power).
The futility of US policy towards Cuba is obvious to anyone who gives it even a passingly objective assessment. Even if one wishes to argue that it made sense during the Cold War, there is no justification for its continuance over the last quarter century (as I kept having to remind myself in class yesterday, the Cold War ended a rather long time ago). Certainly nothing about US policy towards Cuba since the early 1990s can be said to have enhanced US security nor has it helped liberalize Cuba. So, apart from spite, what’s the point? It isn’t as if we only have diplomatic relations with liberal democracies.
And, really, when the historical assessments are made, opening up relations with Cuba will be considered a significant accomplishment on the Obama administration. Those who cling to the embargo (which Congress needs to lift) and/or abide in a fetishistic concern over the Castros are living deeply in the past (and are underscoring their allegiance to an utterly failed policy).
- None Found