Published by news-press.com on October 28, 2003
Bush’s stance is just political pandering
The tattered trade and travel embargo against Cuba came a little more unraveled last week. President Bush should follow Congress’ lead and rip the thing up.
The Senate voted 59-36 to effectively end restrictions on Americans traveling to the island, using language identical to what was passed in the House last month. The legislation would block money for the enforcement of travel restrictions.
Opposition to the travel ban and the U.S. trade embargo is growing across the United States, as more people realize that the sanctions only help entrench Fidel Castro, rather than bring him down, and hurt U.S. businesses in the process.
For the first time, enough Republicans joined Democrats to prevent the measure from being stripped from the spending bill for the Transportation and Treasury departments.
President Bush warned again that he will veto the bill if the provision remains. He is pandering to the Cuban exile vote in Florida, whose strategic importance in presidential politics is the only reason this policy survives, a relic of the Cold War.
Castro is an unreformable dictator, but we have robust trade and friendly relations with several regimes as oppressive as his.
When they behave indecently, as Cuba did recently in jailing dissidents, we pitch a snit, delay visits, withhold some diplomatic plum or other, but we maintain the basic relationship. We keep talking and doing business, because that is usually as good a way as any to bring backward regimes into the democratic community.
If you’re not ready to declare war, you might as well make the most of the peace.