Isn't it time to make a few unilateral gestures to Cuba?

With Castro’s demise, we would be better off if we were making a show of being willing to change. Minor things like the recent child custody problems. Instead of a new Elian debacle, we aught to just say the next couple of cases would be dealt with as though Cuba were a country with normalized relations. Sure a few Floridians would be shook up, but they are always shook up.
I doesn’t take much to indicate that we are willing to have a dialog with a new government, and pre-conditions to talking are always counterproductive in creating that feeling.

Didn’t the Elian debacle show that we treated Cuba as just another country? A kid was kidnapped from his father, held by members of his extended family, and law enforcement removed the kid from the extended family and returned him to his father, even though his father lived in Cuba.

And why not wait until Castro is really most sincerely dead?

At a guess when Castro finally DOES kick the bucket we probably will have some level of re-approachment. Unfortunately afaik he’s only just MOSTLY dead atm. He can still be brought back using a chocolate dipped confection from your local magic man…

I seriously don’t see why its all fired important for the US to have a relationship with Cuba…and I doubt the Cuban’s are all fired up about having closer relations with us either.


On the other hand, why have your 3rd nearest country hate you?
What’s a few civil gestures cost us? Allow a few Cuban baseball teams to have exhibition games in the US. Sponsor a float on May Day. Allow trade of a limited number of cigars…

On the other other hand…why would a unilateral gesture by the US to Cuba stop them feeling however they feel about us? Is such a gesture a magic wand or silver bullet or whatever? Will the Cuban’s sit around going ‘You know…the US is now friendly towards us. I think we should stop hating them and really be friends. Maybe give them a pony or flower…’?
Personally I’m all for a re-approachment with Cuba. I like a fine Cuban cigar as much as the next guy, and would be thrilled to be able to buy them in the US. I just don’t see why its such a priority for some folks. Once Castro kicks the bucket there will be plenty of time to make gestures both ways and re-establish some kind of relationship…even if it never will be a very close one again (IMHO).


You’re under the impression that Cuba wants normal trade and diplomatic relations with the US.

It doesn’t cost us much to embargo Cuba, and it won’t gain us much to end the embargo of Cuba. Sure, the embargo is a relic of the cold war which should have ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. But the trouble was that Castro was still alive then.

My opinion on this is that the Cuban embargo makes the United States look like a bunch of pussies. We do business and deal with every tinpot dictator across the globe but Cuba and Castro gets our panties in a bunch? If we had confidence in our system of government we would know that the more exposure to us that Cuba has the more likely it is that they would move towards our system. On the other hand, if you really think that cheap rum, good cigars, and nice beaches are enough to turn Americans communist, then by all means, maintain the embargo.

At the risk of making this into a “politicians, esp. Shrub, are evil, vile, spineless scum” thread - I don’t think that there’s any chance of an attempt at a rapproachment (do I have that right) with Cuba with the Presidential election cycle starting to get underway.

You betcha! :slight_smile:

Or . . . I think . . .

“Unilateral” does mean “using one finger,” doesn’t it?

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, don’t you think? How can a mother “kidnap” her own child? Now that the feds busted into that Miami house in a gestapo raid, Elian Gonzalez will be brainwased to love Fidel and Raul Castro. His mother died trying to give him a chance to live in freedom here, and we sent him back. That day was the most ashamed I have ever been to be an American.

I don’t know why everyone is excited about Fidel’s declining health, though. He’s been out of power for all intents and purposes, and what has changed? Raul will continue the communist policies, and when Raul dies, there will be another communist ready to take over.

Before the whole debacle with Bin Laden, and then the screw up with thinking that Saddam had WMDs, I thought our intelligence agencies were on the ball. I would have sworn that we had a plan in place to cause an overthrow of the communist regime once Castro died.

Now, and I’m not necessarily blaming Bush, I don’t think our intelligence community can get a manager at Wal-Mart fired…

His mother was dead, his father was alive. Under American law, nobody in the world had a better claim to custody than his father had.

A good case could be made that, as a pawn of a vicious dictator like Fidel Castro, his father was unfit, and did not have the best interests of his child in mind…

Not in any American court of law, it couldn’t. Not a legally cognizable or justiciable theory.

I think normalization would gain us quite a bit. At some point, Cuba is going to have to transition to some type of market system. That transition can either be smooth and orderly, or it can be complete chaos. The last thing any country needs is chaos in a country a mere 90 miles away. It would be in our security interests to attempt normalization. We could tie specific steps on our part to specific steps on Cuba’s part. It may very well be that the Cuban’s reject such overtures, in which case all we can do is wait for Cuba to transition and hope it’s not a messy one.

A parent who does not have sole custody of a child can certainly kidnap that child. Do you have a cite showing that Elian’s mother had sole custody of him prior to her journey? That the father had no visitation rights under Cuban law?

Well…I’m sure there is some gain to the US by normalization of relations once Castro (and probably his brother) kick the bucket. Before that? No, I’m not seeing it.

Besides, Cuba basically isn’t on the radar or most American’s except in a slightly bored negative sort of way. Its going to take some real tangible reasons for most politicians to bother with it…as its not likely to garner them many votes by going to the effort of a re-approachment with Cuba.

I agree. However, why do you think this is the case? Just curious.

It will be messy whether we help or not. I seriously doubt the Cuban’s would welcome the US putting our oar in…its not one of the things the US does well, this kind of help. And there is a bit of a history between our nations…and not a really good history.

In the current circumstances I disagree with this. If things change then I certainly agree.


But they do want free trade and travel with us. They want it a lot. Why use the stick when you have a carrot?

I agree there’s little political benefit. I was making a national security argument.

I don’t think command systems are sustainable either politically or economically.

There’s a vast difference between sort-of-messy (China, Poland, Czechoslovakia) and really messy (USSR).

There’s a lot of different ways to help. For example, if we allowed private corporations to invest in Cuba, then if the Cuban’s want to attract foreign investment, they’ll have to set up safegaurds for the investments, the way China is attempting to. We could make such a step contingent on the implementation of certain policies in Cuba. If the Cuban’s don’t want to do it, they don’t have to, and they lose out on our foreign investment.

Similarly, we could say, allow sugar imports in exchange for implementing certain labor or human rights protections. There’s lots of ways to go about this. It could be a negotiated process in which both sides end up coming out looking good.

From a national security standpoint, I don’t see much difference between Cuba now and, say, China in 1996.

One problem: we supported the tinpot dictator that Castro and his cronies overthrew.

I should clarify. I was in a hurry to post, and this is a little too simplistic. A better comparison would be our normalization with Vietnam. If one thinks that normalization can push governments into a more democratic, market-oriented stance, than normalization is an appropriate step to take.