FPI Resources on U.S.-Cuban Relations

December 17, 2014

President Obama announced today the reversal of a more than fifty-year old policy toward Cuba, stating that he will restore diplomatic relations with Havana, review Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and increase travel and commerce to and from Cuba.

This change in policy concerns a regime that the U.S. State Department called “an authoritarian state” in its last Human Rights Report. According to the report, the Castro regime continues to curtail “the right of citizens to change the government,” and continues to use “threats, extrajudicial physical violence, intimidation, mobs, harassment, and detentions to prevent free expression and peaceful assembly.”  In addition, Havana continues to practice “harsh prison conditions, arbitrary arrest, selective prosecution, and denial of fair trial.”

The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) believes the following resources will be helpful for lawmakers, reporters, and the general public as they respond to the President’s announcement.

Obama and Cuba: The Triumph of Ideology over U.S. National Interests – Elliott Abrams – National Review Online – December 17, 2014

“The White House does claim, now, that all this will benefit the people of Cuba. How? Well, other Latin governments opposed our Cuba policy but will now join us in pressing Cuba for human-rights improvements. This is obviously sheer nonsense. Does even Rhodes believe Rousseff in Brazil or Bachelet in Chile (much less the Bolivian or Venezuelan or Ecuadorian leftist strongmen) will now suddenly turn tough on Fidel and Raul? The White House also says economic progress in Cuba will lead to political progress. Really? Has it in other Communist countries such as China or Vietnam?”

The Cuba Rapprochement That Never Will Be – Jose Cardenas – Foreign Policy – December 17, 2014

“Restoring diplomatic relations with the last military dictatorship in the Americas has been something administration ideologues and careerists within the State Department have been aching for now for six years. But the barking dog has now caught the car and it must figure out what to do with it. In other words, the burden has now shifted over to the critics’ side to prove their approach can succeed where others have failed. When dealing with the Castro regime, that is not a position to be envied.”

The Cuban People will Pay the Price for Obama’s Careless Concessions – Roger Noriega – American Enterprise Institute – December 17, 2014

“President Obama’s bold concessions to the Castro dictatorship were entirely predictable. He must be pressed strongly by Congress and the American people to follow up with vigorous diplomacy so that the Cuban people do not pay the price for his careless decision to appease an implacable foe in Havana.”

Rubio: Administration Lied About Cuba Policy Change – Michael Warren – The Weekly Standard – December 17, 2014

“Republican senator Marco Rubio said a top State Department official was ‘dishonest’ about the Obama administration's plans to change its policy on Cuba. Tony Blinken, the newly confirmed deputy secretary of State, told the Florida senator at his confirmation hearing in November that the administration would not unilaterally change its Cuba policy without ‘full consultation’ with Congress. That consultation, Rubio says, never happened to his knowledge. ‘He was dishonest, Rubio told THE WEEKLY STANDARD Wednesday. ‘He was clearly evasive.’”

Cuba Should not be Rewarded for Denying Freedom to its People – Editorial – Washington Post – October 20, 2014

“The U.S. embargo has been substantially relaxed in recent years to allow hundreds of millions of dollars of food and medicine exports, in addition to consumer goods supplied to Cubans by relatives in this country. The question is whether a further relaxation is merited. The regime’s persecution of dissidents is unceasing…While Cuba has toyed with economic liberalization and lifted travel restrictions for some, we see no sign that the Castro brothers are loosening their grip. Fully lifting the embargo now would reward and ratify their intransigence. A concession such as ending the trade embargo should not be exchanged for nothing. It should be made when Cuba grants genuine freedom to its people.”

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
Read More