Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Obama proposes easing Cuba embargo

A long overdue change in direction for Cuba policy:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is leaping into the long-running Cuba debate by calling for the U.S. to ease restrictions for Cuban-Americans who want to visit the island or send money home.

Obama's campaign said Monday that, if elected, the Illinois senator would lift restrictions imposed by the Bush administration and allow Cuban-Americans to visit their relatives more frequently, as well as ease limits on the amount of money they can send to their families.

HT: viralvoice on DailyKos, who comments:

This will be lots of fun to follow in the coming days. The "conventional wisdom" machine will go ballistic (again). The right-wingers will bare their teeth. The DINO liberals will loose a few of theirs. Biden will likely go against Obama but watch Dodd and Richardson, they know better, oh, yeah, this could be interesting.

Senator Clinton will have to decide: Is she in or is she out?

Or will she just obfuscate (again)?

And why hasn't any US presidential candidate said this out loud?

They've been afraid.

Fear.

The politics of fear.

Let's see who is fearless in the coming days.

And let's see who really walks the walk of the politics of hope.

Because, really: Isn't 49 years of a failed policy enough?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ron said...

Hey Zac,

Interesting that you noted the Obama on Cuba topic. I read about it in the news and thought "there's a mistake."

Not that I think that the current policy toward Cuba is "working." It has nothing to do with that so much as political perception. Castro is one of the few old guard enemies (as opposed to the new ones we're creating in Iraq) that the US has left -- there's no doubt he hates us, and we've never cared for him, either.

This will be spinned as Obama offering an olive branch to Castro, and will give the GOP ammunition in a general election to reinforce the tired trope that the Dem candidate is weak on defense / foreign policy. It may not be enough for the Dems to point to the clusterfuck in Iraq. To effectively compete against the GOP on foreign affairs, you have to be flawless, because you are also working against the stereotype.

I think a better response to the Cuban question would be "We sympathize with the Cuban people and look forward to helping them as much as we can -- after Castro is gone." Something to that effect. Reach out to the people, feel their pain, but don't appease an unfriendly dictator that many Americans still look upon in an unfavorable manner.

I wrote much more than I intended, I think. I will sign off the way Dennis Miller used to do his rants -- "Of course that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."

- Ron

12:30 AM, August 22, 2007  
Blogger Heraldblog said...

The US embargo against Cuba comes down to one thing: Florida. You can't win the Sunshine State in the general election without overwhelming support from Cuban American voters. Obama might be gambling that the GOP is so far out of the Florida race it doesn't matter this time around. Or perhaps there's been a shift in attitude among Cuban Americans. Another explanation is that Obama's proposals aren't that radical. He's not proposing normalization, just that Cuban Americans can visit their relatives and support their families back in Cuba. If I was Castro, I'd probably oppose Obama on both counts. The last think I would want is militant, angry Cuban Americans going off message in my communist theme park.

Obama's best argument might be to remind right wingers why the USSR lost eastern Europe 18 years ago - engagement with the west. When Cuba falls, it will be due to trade and cultural exchange, not the 101st Airborne.

9:58 PM, August 22, 2007  

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