For the first time in 88 years a U.S. president has stepped foot on Cuban soil. This has a lot of American politicians upset, and not just Republicans.
Critics are opposed to normalizing relations with the Communist island nation. They point out its atrocious human rights record, the dictatorship, the lack of freedom. They’re right that Cuba needs to correct itself and provide more openness and freedom to her people. But they’re wrong that the embargo needs to continue.
Right now the embargo does continue. Obama has used executive orders to open the American embassy and diplomacy with Havana. It will take Congress to end the embargo. But if there’s one thing that’s proven is that the embargo does not work. It’s kinda like that war on drugs.
We have normalized relations with countries we don’t agree with. Hell, we’re shipping jobs to Vietnam. We left over 50,000 dead Americans in that country yet today you probably have something in your home made by juvenile Communist Asian fingers. So why not talk to Cuba? It’s because Cuba is 90 miles off the Florida coast and Florida is really important in presidential elections. That’s the only real reason politicians oppose talking to Cuba. They don’t want to lose Florida in a presidential race. But even Florida is changing.
Don’t expect Cuba to become South Beach over night if the embargo is lifted. The government still demands 51% ownership of any business. I can’t see any American businessman liking that arrangement when they can’t even rely on the plumbing, so don’t go to Havana and expect to purchase a Big Mac anytime soon.
Most citizens in Cuba won’t see any change for a long time. The majority of the population is rural, but most development that comes to Cuba lands in Havana. The citizens are also very wary of the United States. While they do want more freedom they don’t want Starbucks, The Gap, and Kardashians though they might go for more WiFi and really good hardware and auto parts stores. Cubans appear to want our freedom to speak out but not our crass commercialism. They view Americans as too materialistic. I do too. We’re all about the stuff. The want for stuff helped bring down the Berlin Wall but it’s not going to build a bridge from Miami to Havana.
In the year 2000 I was invited to visit Cuba with a delegation of American cartoonists. My employer at the time refused to foot the bill. Instead they sent our editor and an assistant to Moscow. Jerks. I’m still bitter about that.
I mentioned before that I try to avoid drawing people watching TV. How about people staring at a TV that’s not broadcasting? I almost had the family watching a flat screen until I realized that flat screens probably aren’t too prevalent in Cuba. I did a little research and there are flat screens in Cuba. But just like their automobiles, it seems most people do have very old television sets, so I went that way.
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