We should have never dropped relations with Cuba

It’s always good to get along with your neighbors. So it’s a good thing that more than 50 years after breaking off relations with the island nation of Cuba the U.S. is now in the process of restoring diplomatic relations with our neighbor who is only 90 miles off of Key West, Florida.

In my humble opinion we should have never broke off relations. So what if Cuba went communist? So did the Soviet Union, and we fought a war on its side (WWII) and then maintained relations with it even through the depths of the Cold War. Nixon went to China and made nice with Mao.

You don’t have to agree with a nation’s politics to have diplomatic relations.

We generally try to have diplomatic relations with whatever or whoever is the legitimate government, not necessarily the most likable government.

And even if a government were to be considered illegitimate at first, time has a way of making it legitimate.

We gain nothing and lose a lot by failing to recognize the real government of a nation. We lose trade and we lose the ability or hope of ever working things out with a nation. And trade embargoes don’t help the populace of nation and wind up embittering people we claim to want to help or who we claim we have nothing against.

And having a presence in a country allows us to keep a better eye on that country.

Yes, we need to restore relations with Cuba.

President Obama on Saturday talked to Cuban president Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, attended by other Latin American nations, becoming the first American president to do such a thing in more than half a century. This I think is a major accomplishment for Obama in foreign policy — he needs one.

I think I was in fifth grade when Fidel Castro (still alive but old and ill I guess) took over from the right-wing dictator Batista.

Batista represented the old order which was subservient to American business interests and not as concerned with the everyday people of Cuba. Castro claimed to represent the people. Of course in reality a right-wing dictatorship was replaced with a left-wing dictatorship. No democracy there. All these years later the only two presidents they have had have been the Castro brothers. And they were not elected in reality.

But under Raul’s leadership there have been some improvements in human rights and or personal freedom, it is reported, and a move to more of a market economy.

Cuba has suffered all these years under the failed communist system and the U.S. embargo.

I seem to recall reading about Castro’s takeover in my old Weekly Reader at school, and it was billed as a good thing. I seem to recall my teacher being excited about it all, in a positive way. I think it was not sure yet whether Castro would align himself with the Soviet Union, as he soon did. The Eisenhower administration was against him from the start. It was the Cold War.

And maybe my teacher had not signed her loyalty oath. Just kidding kind of, but that was the era when many school districts required teachers to sign such oaths.

Recently in surfing the web I saw a video of Ed Sullivan (of all people) doing a soft-ball, seemingly friendly interview with Castro as he was taking over. I seem to recall watching Edward R. Murrow interview Castro when I was a kid too.

There was hope he would do good things for the Cuban people. I don’t know if he ever did or not.

For a time, Castro, with the help of the infamous Che Guevara, tried to foment communist revolutions throughout Latin America and even into Africa.

But all of that is history.

It’s time to move on. It’s time for new beginnings.

P.s.

While I think we need to keep Iran from getting the bomb, I think we should restore relations with that nation and lift all sanctions. I imagine a prosperous Iran might not want to even bother with a nuclear arsenal (I don’t mean I know that, though).

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