Well, well, well, what do we have here?!
Seemingly right on schedule, the Dear Leader, President Obama, announced yesterday that he was going to change course on Red Cuba and restore full diplomatic relations claiming that the 50+ years of an economic embargo had in fact "failed" and that Cuban "isolation" has not worked.
Well, I will take on the economic embargo first.
Of course it does not work when Red Cuba has relations with most of the nations of the world including the other two North American nations of Canada and Mexico. Does anyone think that Red Cuba does not have trade with these two nations? In fact and indeed the United States does have very limited economic ties with the regime of the Castro Bros. (Fidel and Raul).
But the economic rationale does not help because everything, I mean everything, runs through the clutches of the Castro Bros.
As noted here in this blog post by Mauricio Claver-Carone on the Huffington Post, It is a very complex way to do business with Cuba. But one thing is clear. It is ALL done thought the Castro Bros. and or other state entities. Mr. Claver-Carone notes that all trade to be done through the state and or it's entities is enshrined in article 18 of the Cuban constitution of 1976. Here is the article:
ARTICLE 18The State directs and controls foreign commerce.
The law establishes the State institutions and authorities empowered to:
create foreign commerce enterprises;
standardize and regulate export and import operations; and
determine the natural or juridical persons with the legal capacity to engage in said
export and import operations, and to negotiate commercial agreements.
Even Red China, with a mix of crony capitalism is less doctrinaire than the Castro's Red Cuba.
What Mr. Claver-Carone does explain is about the so-called "private sector" or "self-employed" sector that is neither private nor self-employed.
Basically, those that can become "self-employed" do not have the same rights that one would have in an open market. Again, in Mr. Claver-Carone's words:
Cuba's military and intelligence services control and run the conglomerates of Cuba. The "self-employment" sector represents a very small part of the island's economy and it is important, in the debate over sanctions, to understand its nature and limits. During economic crises, the Castro regime typically authorizes a host of services that Cubans can be licensed to provide, keeping at least a portion of what they may be paid. The world's news media refers to these jobs as "private enterprise," which implies "private ownership." Yet Cuba's "self-employed" licensees have no ownership rights whatsoever - be it to their artistic or "intellectual" outputs, commodity they produce, or personal service they offer. Licensees have no legal entity (hence business) to transfer, sell or leverage. They don't even own the equipment essential to their self-employment. More to the point, licensees have no right to engage in foreign trade, seek or receive foreign investments. Effectually licensees continue to work for the state -- and when the state decides such jobs are no longer needed, licensees are shut down without recourse.
Essentially, the people that are supposed to be "self-employed" work for the state, again that being the Castro Bros. With such strict guidelines, there is no such thing as a truly self-employed worker in Red Cuba. There is no such thing as any private enterprise as we understand it in the West.
Which leads to the obvious of why now is not the right time to re institute relations with Cuba.
Because it is the ultimate economic lifeline to the Castro Bros. They will be the ones to determine if McDonalds or Starbucks will be available to the slew of American tourists that diplomatic relations are supposed to lead to. They will get the massive kickbacks. And they will still be in power.
As far as isolation, no, Red Cuba has not been all that isolated in the diplomatic world. Most of the nations in the world have some kind of diplomatic relations with Cuba. In all 105 nations and or pseudo nations have embassies in Havana. Only the United States has an interest section through the embassy of Switzerland. Out of the 105 nations that have relations with Red Cuba many are what can be characterized as market or free market nations. The European Union has relations. Individual nations include France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom. Australia and New Zealand have relations. Missing from the list is Israel. But "Palestine" has an "embassy" in Cuba.
So, how many of these nations have trade relations with the communist regime?
Or the better way to phrase the question is how can Cuba maintain it's communist government when it has become a discredited ideology?
Well, Red Cuba still has extensive trade with Russia, no longer a communist nation. Russia is still Cuba's largest trading partner.
But if you look at this, seven and a half nations (Sorry, Red China is not a free nation but at least has crony capitalism), are capitalist, market-driven economies. Oh, and for extra measure, do you know the major food exporter to Red Cuba is . . .wait for it . . .the United States!
Now I know that a lot of people will retort that we have diplomatic relations with very unsavory nations and why not with Cuba? Some will claim that the reason Republicans won't change on the issue is because it "exploits" the Cuban exile community. No, there is no exploitation. The fact is that the Cuban community is divided on whether full diplomatic relations are a good idea or not.
If Cuba was in fact showing signs that the Communist party was relinquishing power and a democracy was going to take it's place, the United States can and should help in that development. But there is not one bit of any indication that the Castro Bros. will end their totalitarian grip on Cuba.
And yet, the Dear Leader, President Obama, feels inclined that now is the time to reinstate diplomatic relations and prop up the communist system, and by extension, the Castro Bros.
It's mystifying to say the least.
But we know that relations with Cuba are going to change.
The real question is what nation is next for the Obama Trifecta. Will it be Iran or North Korea?