I for one think President Obama has made a wise decision in restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba and becoming the first American president to visit that island nation in 88 years.
It seems absurd to me that the U.S. has continued the freeze on relations with that Communist island-nation all these years since the height of the Cold War.
I mean we had full relations with the old Soviet Union and we opened relations with what used to be called “Red China”, the other major communist nation of the time, way back in 1972, when President Nixon made his historic visit.
And oh my gosh! don’t let me forget, we even restored relations with Vietnam after losing the war and seeing it all go communist.
It is true that Cuba was actively trying to export its communist revolution all over Latin America and even into Africa. But communism has not been as successful as it had been hoped and that nation has had its hands full just staying alive (of course the U.S. made it tougher on Cuba with trade embargoes).
I don’t know what Fidel Castro had in mind in the beginning — whether he was a communist the whole time or just a socialist, but he was certainly pushed that direction when from the start the Eisenhower administration drew up a secret plan to get rid of him. And that plan was carried forward by President John F. Kennedy, resulting in the disastrous and unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion. Some think Castro was behind the assassination of JFK, as a retaliation for us trying to kill him (that tragedy is still a mystery and likely will be forever).
But at any rate, that is all history. Fidel is old and out of the job of actively running the country, with his brother Raul as the nation’s leader, and Raul is an old man.
Reportedly, Cuba still has hundreds or thousands of political prisoners and it is known that there is less than full freedom of expression in Cuba. It is still a police state, although Raul has granted some new freedoms and there is limited private capitalism allowed.
I have been led to believe that Cuba has a good medical system. Cuba offered medical assistance for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans during the George W. Bush administration — the offer was not accepted by the U.S. government (Cuba is a major provider of medical assistance to third-world nations). The irony is that our own government seemed helpless and somewhat dysfunctional during that disaster. Not long after that, I think it was, there was a terrible earthquake in China. I always remember the news videos showing the Chinese Army helping victims and on a large scale. I know our own military was deployed, to some extent, in the Katrina disaster, but not enough and not quickly enough it seems to me.
But to my way of thinking we would do best to cultivate good relations with almost all nations, especially one that is 90 miles off our own shores.
We’ll have a better chance of convincing them our ways are better through normal diplomatic relationships, friendship where possible, and trade.