Monday, January 14, 2013

Cuban migration

Anya Landau French has a very interesting post at The Havana Note about loosening of travel restrictions in Cuba. In particular, if the U.S. continues preferential treatment of Cuban migrants while Cuba allows more visiting, then suddenly the embargo is even less defensible:

Even hard-line Cuban American politicians now have mixed feelings about keeping the door open to Cubans. On the one hand, they need the policy to remain in place because it supports their narrative for continuing the embargo. On the other, they now realize that continuing to leave the door open will be the undoing of the embargo itself. Senator Marco Rubio spelled out this fear more than five years ago when he was still serving in the Florida legislature:

“What makes Cubans different from Haitians who come here or anyone else . . . if they go back and forth, that is to say, if they’re not exiles at all? In that case, why should Cubans be any different? The whole structure would have unraveled had something not been done.”

He is referring to travel restrictions. Part of the embargo's logic is that we can punish the Castros indirectly by hurting Cubans. Yet Cuban Americans' desire to help their own family members immediately makes that problematic. So we have a push to allow people to come to the U.S., with a contradictory push to isolate Cuba economically.

I keep waiting for a reasonable argument to keep the embargo in place, but there are just crickets.


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