Cuba: Obama’s “Relaxation Measures” Tippy-Toe in Right Direction, Sort Of. . .


I haven’t had time yet to digest the Obama administration’s “relaxation” of restrictions in US-Cuba relations. I’m on a boat — and sailing in the vicinity of Cuba tomorrow, though in Curacao today.
But I will say that the Obama team needs to prepare for an onslaught of frustration and anger regarding anything that designates certain “ethnic categories” of Americans.
Relaxing Cuban-American travel is discriminatory against other Americans. We have had too much law and too many norms that didn’t permit some classes of Americans access to. . .hmm. . .let’s say the White House and many other positions and opportunities.
Communist governments often tell their citizens where and when they can go somewhere.
An American government only soils its own reputation by trying to restrict the travel of US citizens — in a way not dissimilar than what the Soviets did, or the Chinese government used to do, or even the Cuban government today.
Obama needs to show the “courage of his convictions” and stand up for American democratic values with regard to US citizens. Restricting travel for any US citizens as payoff to a cabal that run a political machine in Miami is a gross violation of the social contract American citizens have with their government.
Even the George W. Bush administration for the first three years of its tenure allowed non-tourist people-to-people travel and exchange. Engagement works and would benefit American interests in the region. From what I can tell, Obama does not even go back to the status quo under the last Bush administration. That’s a shame, and it’s wrong.
Opening opportunities for “Cuban-Americans” as opposed to other “Americans” is something one can hardly imagine a man like Barack Obama doing.
It’s wrong. He should fix this immediately. Or expect a wave of dissent about the racism and discrimination that Obama is apparently upholding in these “relaxation” moves.
— Steve Clemons


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