Our position: At least Barack Obama is willing to admit the embargo isn't working. Anyone else?
August 23, 2007
The easy out in dealing with Cuba is to throw up an ideological wall and isolate yourself from practical politics.
That's pretty much been the standard approach from the United States for almost 50 years. Sadly, hardships continue for Cubans while the U.S. and Cuba spar like a dysfunctional odd couple.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama offers a different approach, and a sensible one:
Reach out to Cuba to "advance peaceful political and economic reform on the island." The plan calls for concessions on both sides.
It not only would empower the people of Cuba, but also allow the U.S. to have better leverage once Fidel Castro yields power. And that, based on growing speculation about his failing health, may have already happened.
It's similar to the situation in Eastern Europe. Blue jeans and rock and roll helped bring down the Berlin Wall -- it wasn't just political agendas.
For Cubans, easing travel restrictions and allowing exiles to send more money to needy relatives weakens Castro's power base. It makes Cubans less dependent on a regime that has put clamps on personal freedom, and builds the U.S. up as a noble ally of the people. It does nada for Castro.
Mr. Obama offers a dramatic philosophical shift -- away from the hard-line Bush administration, most Republican contenders, and even Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.
He is taking on an issue that everyone is running away from.
We've seen how well the status quo has worked for five decades.