Research: Commentary

Good Reasons to Open Our Doors to Cuba

Washington Post, January 5, 2015 | Letter

By Elizabeth Newhouse

The Jan. 2 editorial “The repression continues,” which said that Cuba’s repression of dissidents should be an embarrassment to President Obama, misunderstood Cuba and the point of the U.S. government’s policy. Above all, Cuba values its national sovereignty, having been largely deprived of it for 150 years before the Castro revolution, and it isn’t about to change policies or its system of government at the behest of the United States, however bad its economy. The White House understood that conditioning the new measures on guarantees of free speech was not going to work.

If the United States wants influence and better human rights in Cuba, it needs to be there. China and Vietnam are not analogous to this island 90 miles from Florida with the natural affinities Cubans and Americans have. Mr. Obama’s farsighted initiatives to open up a dialogue with the Cuban government, increase Internet and other communications, allow many more Americans to travel there and help improve the lives of the Cuban people are much more likely to be effective in preparing for the post-Castro era than any policy we’ve tried until now.

CIP in the Press