Monday, May 19, 2014

Letter to Obama on Cuba

A high profile group has sent President Obama an open letter (text here) calling for liberalization of Cuba policy. It focuses on removing travel restrictions, financial restrictions, and high level dialogue in areas of mutual interest, all of which can be achieved by executive order. In short, it advocates common sense. It does not call for ending the embargo, but baby steps are fine for now.

But timing matters and this window of opportunity may not remain open indefinitely. At the same time, the U.S. is finding itself increasingly isolated internationally in its Cuba policy. In the current political climate little can be done legislatively, but the Obama Administration has an unprecedented opportunity to usher in significant progress using its executive authority at a time when public opinion on Cuba policy has shifted toward greater engagement with the Cuban people while continuing to pressure the Cuban government on human rights.

The signatories range from business, the (retired) military, the Democratic Party, business, and think tanks, but John Negroponte also signed it, and he is not what you'd call liberal.

This is about chipping away. The general public has supported opening up for years, though few see it as a pressing issue. Meanwhile, even Republican governors have traveled to Cuba to engage in cash-based trade. So the public opinion piece is there and so is the economic piece. What remains is the ideological piece, which is centered in Florida and absolutely set on blocking any and all of these reforms.

Slowly adding people like Negroponte to the mix can have an ideological impact because he enjoys tremendous respect within the conservative ranks, basically for the same reasons he enjoys the exact opposite within liberal ranks (including, for example, his support for the Contras and looking the other way at serious abuses in Honduras). If any conservatives are on the fence, he is someone they can publicly refer to.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP