The New York Times reports on the Obama Administration’s hope to renew biannual talks with Cuba to discuss “safe, legal and orderly migration; to review recent trends in illegal Cuban migration to the United States; and to improve operational relations with Cuba on migration issues.” This is all good, but I think the Obama Administration could and should eventually take this a bit further. The embargo on Cuban goods has accomplished little else but immiserate the Cuban population in the 50 years the policy has been in place. What’s more, normalizing trade with Cuba would allow the US to shift ethanol adoption away from corn and towards sugar, which is both more efficient as a fuel and less crucial a crop for international food supplies. Sure, Cuba would profit, but seriously, why do we even care about this?
Cuba is the only communist country in the entire Western Hemisphere, communism does not pose an existential threat to the United States, and as for human rights, lack of democratic freedoms doesn’t seem to stop us from dealing with the Saudis, Chinese, or sundy regimes who are generally congenial to US interests. Of course, I realize this is a relatively low priority, and with Democratic Senators like Bob Menendez threatening to withold funding for entire Organization of American States, it doesn’t make sense to fast track the issue, but a boy can dream, I suppose.