More of the same

In a major address at the State Department, President Bush announced that U.S. policy toward Cuba will remain the same, only more so. Thus another opportunity for fresh thinking by the 10th American president to deal with Fidel Castro slides by.

The United States has had sanctions and an embargo on Cuba in place since 1961. Occasionally those restrictions are tweaked. But despite their proven ineffectiveness, they remain in place, more out of political inertia than any hope they might actually work.

Since the abortive Bay of Pigs operation and the Cuban missile crisis of the Kennedy administration, U.S. policy has basically been to outwait Fidel Castro in hopes that someone would overthrow him or the actuarial tables would take their course.

In beginning his speech, Bush said with unwitting irony, “Today, another president comes with hope to discuss a new era for the United States and Cuba.”

Castro is now 81 and his revolution is on course to celebrate its 50th anniversary about the time Bush leaves office in January 2009.

Many analysts believe that a more promising approach to Cuba would be to ease trade and travel restrictions on the grounds that the dictatorship and oppressive police state could not long survive sunshine, fresh air and its people’s glimpse of a better life. It would be worth a try since nothing else has worked, and it would deprive Castro of his scapegoat for his regime’s shortcomings.

Bush does not buy the scapegoat argument. He believes, and not without good reason, that the endemic failings of communism are at fault. Nor does he want to do anything that might enrich the party elite. And so we come full circle.

The president proposed a few more tweaks to the sanctions: licensing nongovernmental and faith-based groups to provide computers and Internet access to similar groups in Cuba; offering scholarships to the children of families that have suffered from the oppression of the regime; and a multibillion-dollar Freedom Fund for Cuba to rebuild the economy and fund the transition to democracy, whenever that time comes.

Meanwhile, Castro is ailing and has not been seen in public for over a year; however, power seems to have passed seamlessly to his 76-year-old brother, Raul.

One thing about the policy of out-waiting Castro: One day it’s bound to work. And one day it will work with Raul, too.


  1. Steve Horn

    Odd that the compassionate conservative hasn’t invaded Cuba to try and repress them into being a democratic nation – the sanctions cannot be justified on the basis of Cuba being a communist nation, were the the case we’d not be doing business with China or Vietnam.

    Bush’s view of Cuba is very dark humor from my point of view, he goes on and on about the repression of the people, of the limited press, of state secrets – until I heard the word “Castro” I thought he was talking about his administration right here in the old USofA!




    It looks like a third US invasion is being planned; we just can’t seem to keep our greedy hands off other nations…and in case you’re wondering what the second invasions was about, it was called Operation Amworld [search Google] and it was scheduled to begin on Dec. 1, 1963…but the establishment at the time, primarily LBJ and J. Edgar Hoover, were worried that it would end disastrously, as the Bay of Pigs almost did, in a nuclear war with Russia, so they decided to stop it the only way they could , by killing President Kennedy in Dallas. This was the 3rd attempt on his life that November, the first in Chicago, and the second in Tampa…they succeeded just in the nick of time, just 9 days before JFK was to launch the invasion. Now here we go again…

  3. Steve Horn

    Perhaps they’ll send in Blackwater – so the government can deny any involvement with the invasion forces …

  4. bryan mcclellan

    Looks like more legacy building by the buffoon who can neither spell Cuba,nor find it on a map.

  5. adamrussell

    We embargo Cuba for almost 50 years yet have the gall to blame Cuba’s poor economic conditions on Castro. Some defender of freedom we are. If we cant even tell the truth, how can we defend freedom?

  6. Steve Horn

    Adam – remember – Bush is the decider – he decides what’s true and what’s false. Of course, this decision is based on convenience and cannot be supported with evidence or data.

    I seem to recall learning somewhere along the line that diplomacy requires engagement – apparently our attitude towards Cuba is best reflected by Bush’s statement as he was leading us to war with Iraq – “if all else fails we’ll try diplomacy” ….