Monday, August 10, 2009

Poor Cubans are good Cubans

It’s hard to know where to begin with this article by Michael Taube, a former speechwriter for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mr. Taube thinks that President Obama’s announcement that he will (someday) end all travel and remittances limits on Cuban Americans has unleashed “optimism that the President’s gestures will motivate Cuba to ultimately embrace capitalism and the free market.” Really?

He says: “For more than a half century, the U.S. was in control of its destiny with respect to Cuba.” (Yep, we’re right where we wanna be.) But with “one stunning maneuver” – Obama’s April 13 announcement – “the U.S. lost its advantage.”

It is remotely conceivable, as Mr. Taube argues, that Raul Castro will experience a “surge in popularity” once restrictions on family visits are ended. But Cubans will surely know who will cause that change, and it’s pretty predictable that Cuban officials, far from claiming credit for it, will scoff at it as a minor gesture that leaves the vast bulk of the embargo intact.

But this is what really got me: “And if the average Cuban sees an increase in the standard of living, the push toward democracy will collapse in short order.” Should we therefore all hope that Raul Castro’s government, and Canada’s, and the United States’, and everyone else’s, adopt policies that reduce the Cuban standard of living?

No comments: