Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cuba Policy and Human Rights

I'm quoted in this article about Cuba policy. Specifically with regard to human rights, the question is whether normalization of relations matters. Hardliners believe that the regime is being rewarded without making any concessions. As is noted in the article, I understand that argument but I think it misses the point. We know the embargo and other restrictions had no impact on human rights in Cuba. If anything they helped entrench the regime. Normalizing is not likely to make the human rights situation worse, and at least gives the U.S. a little more leverage to push the Cuban government.

At a minimum, if a policy has clearly failed to achieve its objective for 50+ years, it's worth trying something else. The further point of the article is that if Trump rolls back what Obama has done, we're back to a poor human rights record and no leverage. It's not clear to me how that benefits anyone, except maybe the Cuban government.


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