Saturday, February 28, 2004

The Hijacking of Our Cuba Policy Continues

From the AP (via tacitus):

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush tightened U.S. travel restrictions against Cuba on Thursday, a move likely to strengthen his election-year standing in politically important Florida and heighten tensions with Fidel Castro's communist regime.

Castro's most ardent Cuban-American opponents represent a vital voting bloc in Florida, the state whose contested election results in 2000 gave the presidency to Bush. Since taking office, Bush has traveled 19 times to Florida, where his brother, Jeb, is governor.

The tightening of Cuban restrictions came on the same day that Bush rescinded a travel ban on Libya, a nation that was on the U.S. blacklist until it acknowledged responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. The United States moved toward better relations with Tripoli in December after Moammar Gadhafi renounced terrorism and development of weapons of mass destruction.

Our approach to Cuba is the foreign policy equivalent of argicultural subsidies. In both cases the policy in question is basically a failure and is acknowledged to be so by all honest observers, but since their is a powerful and single-minded group backing it the stupidity is almost certain to continue. Hopefully, demographics will be on the side of a sensible Cuba policy. Currently the Cuban Exiles have a lot of clout because they vote as a bloc and more importantly, they are basically a single-issue group in a crucial swing state, Florida. This may change in a few years as the population of non-Cuban Hispanics and other groups that lean heavily towards the Democrats will make Florida more solidly Democratic and less of a political battleground. Once the Exiles are emasculated politically we can begin to institute measures that will improve the lives of Cubans and actually do something to destabilize the Communists.


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