Obama: Working Towards U.S.-Cuba Diplomatic Normalcy

President Obama announced today that the United States and Cuba would work toward diplomatic normalcy. The announcement came as we learned Alan Gross, an American imprisoned in Cuba, would be released in a prisoner swap. “I truly hope we can get beyond these mutually belligerent policies and I was very happy to hear what the president had to say today,” said Gross during a press conference.

After 54 years of “belligerent policies” by both countries, and 50 years of embargo by the U.S., it’s about time we acknowledge the simple reality that U.S. policy towards Cuba has accomplished little for American interests, and has managed to punish the people of Cuba far more than the brutal heads of state (Castro brothers) have managed over half a century.

At some point we need to stop, reassess, and determine if a strategy is working. In many ways U.S. policy has caused time to stand still in Cuba. And we can acknowledge this and still condemn the current regime’s anti-democratic rule of law.

To the detractors, I say the burden is on you to come up with a better plan. Because if you are against resumed diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, you must offer an alternative solution. Because if you do not have an alternative solution, then you are implicitly offering your support to continue more years of embargo. By lifting the embargo, I ask you what has materially changed for the worse for the United States? Because for citizens of Cuba, we know economic reality has just changed for the better. This announcement can only benefit Cuban citizens and does nothing to threaten U.S. interests or security. So it would seem the only reason to continue the embargo would be demagoguery and empty rhetoric. And on that front, we already know that by making this announcement, President Obama has opened himself up to endless, easy, and predictable demagoguery. But that’s all his opponents have left.

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