As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, April 03, 2009

My Dream Of Seeing Hyman Roth-Era Havana Closer To Reality

There was some talk earlier in the week that Congress has the votes to lift the travel ban to Cuba for all Americans. There is compelling research that lifting the ban would generate as much as $1.6 billion dollars in economic activity, much of it in the United States, with boosts for airlines and cruise ships and travel agents. Plus it's a useless policy that hasn't worked for the 50 years of the Castro regime, and we might as well try something new like using tourists as ambassadors for the US.

Well, at least with respect to families, President Obama isn't waiting for the Congress.

President Barack Obama plans to lift a longstanding U.S. ban on family travel and remittances to Cuba, a senior administration official said Friday, in what could be an opening gesture toward more openness with the Castro regime.

The move will fulfill a campaign promise and follows more modest action in Congress this year to loosen travel rules.

The president has authority to loosen these rules on his own, and the move is likely meant as a signal of a new attitude toward both Cuba and other Latin American countries that have pressed the U.S. to alter its policy.

The Congress should still make good on lifting the ban completely. But this is an undeniably good signal, and may lead toward ending the embargo and restarting diplomatic relations with our Southern neighbor. Maybe we could actually have some leverage over their human rights record as a partner, leverage we have not had as an enemy.

If the President wants an early victory in foreign policy, he needs to look no further than Cuba

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