Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Obama and Cuba

For those of you who have read Back Channel, or at least my review of it, this story is like a blast from the past. There are rumors that the Obama administration might have a minor policy change with Cuba, something that could be "concrete," but we're not sure. What we do know is that even minor policy shifts require ridiculous secrecy, multiple countries (in this particular case it's Spain, while in the past it's been Mexico and others) and high-pitched screaming from Cuban Americans in Congress. This story could've been written at almost any time since the 1980s, when the Cuban American National Foundation became prominent.

There may be some policy changes and they will have a real impact (economically and otherwise) on Cubans, albeit not on a major scale. What's notable is how minor shifts are treated as something much bigger. We all need to remember that thanks to Helms-Burton, substantive erosion of the embargo laws must come from Congress. For all the talk about executive orders these days, President Obama can tinker, but not much more. Yet even tinkering is viewed as radical.


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