Very possibly. From Fausta:
The Fifth Summit of the Americas is coming up next week, on April 17-19 in Trinidad-Tobago. The Summit’s theme is “Securing Our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability.” It will be interesting to watch what the Obama administration has planned for the Summit regarding Cuba.
As readers may recall, last February the Lugar Report concluded that “progress could be attained by replacing conditionality with sequenced engagement, beginning with narrow areas of consensus that develop trust,” and recommended changing US policy towards Cuba. Following the report, in March the omnibus spending bill changed travel restrictions on American citizens with family in Cuba to once a year, and last week the Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama plans to lift U.S. restrictions on Cuba, allowing Cuban-Americans to visit families there as often as they like and to send them unlimited funds.
If you read up on the WSJ article, the Lugar Report, and the Cuban-American National Foundation’s white paper on the topic, one thing becomes clear: our Cuba policy is a mess, and it’s one that every President since Eisenhower has contributed to, usually because of domestic concerns. Fidel Castro had this amazing ability to seriously discommode American Presidents at every possible opportunity, and now it’s apparently Obama’s turn.
The problem here is that the President is going to have to somehow remove loosen restrictions on Cuban-American contacts without at the same time ending the embargo… which, in my personal opinion, can’t be done. And ending the embargo is going to be problematical, for two reasons; first, the generally rotten human rights record that Cuba has when it comes to political dissidents will make the normalization process awkward. Second, no American President wants to go down in the history books as the one who finally gave in and admitted that Fidel won. This is a larger issue than it looks, especially since the Castro regime has been taking advantage of this reluctance for decades.
Should we end the embargo? Well, we’ve traded with worst regimes, and I don’t think that the current system is doing what we want it to. Do I think that doing so will cause a stink? Very much so. Is it fair that most of it will slop onto the current administration? Not especially. Do I personally care?
After the embarrassing way that the CBC delegation reacted in their recent visit, not in the slightest.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.