Sunday, April 19, 2009

Obama Loosens Travel Restrictions to Cuba

With each passing day since Barack Obama took the White House I feel like America is becoming more and more the champion of democracy and humanity that we have for the past eight years only pretended to be. In his latest roll-back of oppressive laws passed by the Bush Administration, President Obama has lifted the law that says Cuban-Americans can only visit their relatives in Cuba once every three years. Now, these people can visit their families in Cuba as much as they want. Another victory for love, family values and freedom.

In response to Florida representatives, Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, who say that easing travel restrictions is a “serious mistake” that will embolden the Cuban dictatorship “to further isolate, imprison and brutalize pro-democracy activists” I point out that we've been putting up restrictions on Cuban travel and trade since 1962 and yet according to Amnesty International, there are still hundreds of political prisoners in Cuba, so it would seem that keeping Americans apart from their families in Cuba isn't going to defeat the tyranny there. Maybe it's about time we stop trying to fight tyranny with tyranny.

Besides, these two congressmen don't even offer any logical explanation as to how easing travel restrictions would actually embolden the Cuban dictatorship. Are these two conservative politicians just emotionally pissed off people who want the U.S. to keep a cold shoulder to Cuba out of political spite? Seriously, who needs that kind of policy?

So in the absence of any logic coming from the Florida peanut gallery, I will offer my own approximation... the only logical connection I can think of... that increased travel between the US and Cuba may increase the flow of American ideas and culture which may inspire some Cuban people to push harder for some of what we have that they don't have, and if the Cuban government becomes emboldened, it would be in reaction to such increased demand which we should expect in any push toward democracy anyway.

Tough luck Lincoln and Diaz-Balart, the days where your view that families should suffer under oppression for the sake of playing tit-for-tat politics could rely on the alliance of an equally petty and tyrannical president are over.