David Cogswell | May 05, 2015 3:00 PM ET
Tightening the Clamps on Cuba Again
I’m trying very hard to avoid venturing into the treacherous waters of party politics here, but how can you avoid it in a case like this recent TravelPulse headline: “House Republicans Propose Bill to Prevent Tourist Travel to Cuba”?
Apparently 50 years is not enough for some people to maintain an economic embargo on an island nation 90 miles from the U.S.
Time marches on, but there are some who are determined to reverse time and go back something they fantasize as being “The Good Old Days,” which maybe weren’t always so good for everyone as they seem to think.
As a conservative humorist once said, “Whenever you start romanticizing the ‘good old days’ I have one word for you: dentistry.”
But Cuba — can this really be happening? Millions of Americans can’t wait to get to Cuba to see it. With Obama’s recent moves to normalize relations with the country, the demand for travel to Cuba has shot up even more.
Now these politicians want to turn the tide back. They want to put the clamps down hard on Cuba again. The rest of the world travels freely to Cuba, but not those in The Land of the Free. It seems pretty obvious that the Republicans moving to cut off Cuba again are opposing the great majority of Americans.
In case we suspect that the mad rush for travel to Cuba gives us a distorted view, a recent Associated Press poll confirmed that a solid majority of Americans favor lifting the embargo.
According to the results, 60 percent approved of Obama’s decision to abolish the embargo, and only 15 percent disapproved. The remaining 25 percent are presumably in the “don’t know” or “don’t care” or otherwise inert category.
Sixty percent is a solid majority. Fifteen percent is a small splinter group.
Actually it’s not unusual at all these days for politicians to ignore the wishes of the majority of American people and cater only to their big donors. It’s a well-established fact that a large sector of American society will support politicians whose actions are harmful to their own economic well being.
And as long as Americans remain apathetic, that will probably continue to be the case and things will continue to deteriorate on many levels for that same majority.
The U.S. now has open trade with practically every country it was ever at war with or opposed ideologically: Germany, Russia, China, Vietnam, etc. But Cuba? Somehow Cuba remains in a class by itself for these people and should remain under economic siege perhaps forever.
I find it hard to believe that Congress will cut off travel to Cuba. But that is what at least some are trying for, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, this move should probably boost travel demand for Cuba even more. One of the most persuasive sales pitches for traveling to Cuba is: go while you can. In this climate of political volatility, there is no way of knowing how long the opportunity will be there.
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