It would emulate the policies we pursued toward
It would foster communication, freeing universities, charities, churches, and citizens – left, right, and center – to exchange information, ideas, and arguments with Cubans in and out of government who constitute the post-Castro
It would bury the Administration’s pretense that sanctions, aid to dis- sidents, and broad- casts are going to change Cuba’s political order, and it would put us more realistically in a play for long-term influence.
It would increase American knowledge of a place we all care so much about. It would take a big chunk out of the Cuban government’s argument that the
If your supreme goal is to deliver aid to Cuban dissidents, it would achieve that far better than the current government system, which operates with the efficiency of Amtrak, the speed of the U.S. Congress, the frugality of our Department of Agriculture, the accounting standards of Enron, and the discretion of Britney Spears.
It would increase the income of lots of average Cubans in the tourism industry and in private businesses, both legal and black market, improving their living standards and their independence. It would enable lots more Cubans to enter private business.
It would increase the government’s income, but considering that Cuba’s economy is growing now at a 9.5 percent clip, it would make no decisive difference at the margin.
It would end the bizarre system of travel licensing that requires, for example, that if you want to donate Bibles or baseballs to a Cuban church, you need a license from one federal agency to travel and another license from another agency to “export” your donation. It would end the restrictions on family visits – can anyone think of another case where
It would heed the advice of Pope John Paul II – “Open the doors to
It would create a situation where all the restrictions on travel are imposed by the communist government, and none by the government that leads the free world, which would kind of make intuitive sense. It would have zero opportunity cost for
One could even argue that it would strengthen that advocacy. To wit: It would allow State Department spokesman Tom Casey to say what he said on Tuesday, invoking a basic freedom that the Cuban government denies, and be taken seriously:
"Well, look, the leading cause of instability and misery in Cuba is the Cuban Government and whether it’s Fidel Castro or Raul Castro, the problems in Cuba will only continue so long as there is a dictatorship in power that doesn’t give people the right to freely choose their government, to decide how they want to live, and to freely travel."