Letter to the Editor: Obama is right about Cuba


President Obama should be commended for his decision to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba. I have disagreed with him on a strong majority of issues, but he is completely right on Cuba. We have had the trade embargo for approximately 54 years, and in that time it has not accomplished any of the objectives that it was supposed to. Due to this outdated policy, the federal government wastes approximately a couple of hundred million dollars a year to enforce the embargo. The restrictions themselves have helped to perpetuate the existence of the Castro regime, as they are able to use the embargo as an excuse for their own economic failures.

Cuba is only 90 miles south of Key West, Florida. It has, and will become more of an important place geopolitically. Lately, their government has been very economically close to Venezuela. In 2011, Cuba and Venezuela made a deal that led to the construction of underwater communications links for Cuba. Cuba gets a cheap oil supply from Venezuela, which is probably the most crucial piece of support. This relationship, because of Venezuela’s socialist nature, lends further credibility to the Castro regime’s official ideology. If the U.S. does not engage productively with Cuba, they will most likely align with countries that are hostile to U.S. interests. Raul Castro has already begun to initiate economic reforms in Cuba that are introducing some liberalization into the economy. Normalizing relations with the U.S. would accelerate the trend in this positive direction. It would also improve relations between the U.S. and key allies such as the E.U., Canada and Japan who already have trade and diplomatic relations with Cuba.

This policy is inherently good because in our extremely overregulated and overtaxed present, any new policy that increases freedom for Americans is good. It is far more costly to punish Americans for bringing in contraband rum and cigars than to lift the embargo.

I hope that this policy is finalized with bipartisan approval in Congress as this would be a rare opportunity for a great American foreign policy victory.

William Bigelow, Berryville