Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Illogical Hostility toward Cuba

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Illogical Hostility toward Cuba

Article excerpt

Why doesn't the United States get off Cuba's back? The question is meant literally, not rhetorically. In what way is it in the interest of the United States to cut Cuba off from the rest of the world, to wreck its economy and starve its people?

When there was a Cold War, the reasons were understandable enough - even to those who disagreed with them. Cuba was an outpost of international communism, and right in our back yard. Communist leaders, whether in the Soviet Union or in China, were eager to use Fidel Castro as an annoyance to the United States and as the means of spreading communism throughout the hemisphere. There were even times when the communist-expansion-by-proxy scheme seemed to be working, and it didn't make sense for us to sit idly by and let it happen.

The alternative? Isolate Cuba from its neighbors, crush pro-communist revolutions wherever they occurred in the region, encourage the Cuban people to overthrow their despotic leader, and serve notice to the communist world that it would be permitted no exploitable foothold 90 miles from our shores. That, as far as I can figure it, is how our opposition to Castro's Cuba became such an obsession.

But that was then. This is now, and I cannot find any logical reason for continuing our Cold War attitude toward Cuba - or Castro. Certainly there is no threat that anyone else in Latin America will be tempted to follow Cuba's disastrous economic path. Cuba, no longer anyone's well-financed puppet, is hardly a military or political threat to destabilize its neighbors. And if anything is clear, it's that the Cubans (in Cuba) have no intention of overthrowing the aging Castro.

But even if they did, so what? Absent the Cold War, why do we care that Castro continues to try to manage a communist state? Doesn't China, with whom we are panting to do more business? We're buddy-buddy with the Russians now - lending them money, supporting their leaders and, again, doing business with them.

Isn't there business to be done with Cuba? To this recently reformed cigar smoker, the answer is obvious. And not just Habanas, either. There's sugar and rum and tourism on their side and (prospectively) cars and machinery and other sales and service opportunities on ours. …

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