by Dish Staff
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) December 18, 2014
Readers react to the big news:
Normalization of relations is a great and long overdue policy. I have a question about it that I haven’t seen addressed: will it create an opportunity to close Guantanamo?
Hopefully everyone’s noticed that the Republicans opposed to normalizing relations with Cuba:
A) Have no problem with us having diplomatic relations with China, another Communist country with an even worse human rights record.
B) Are currently defending the US’ own recent human rights abuses, i.e. torture.
We all know the real reason: political posturing. Castro stripped Cuban aristocrats of their wealth. They fled to Florida and have been propping up anti-Castro policy ever since. There are no principles here.
Lost in all the coverage is the one issue I think is the most important – will this change the absurd “Wet-foot/Dry-foot policy?
After we normalize relations with Cuba, what happens to refugees who make it to U.S. shores? Or those who overstay their (presumably soon to be issued) visas? Will they be allowed to stay and fast-tracked to attaining resident status? Or will Cuban refugees be deported like Haitians, Mexicans and others who come here illegally? I’m not saying they should. But it’s wrong to treat economic refugees from Cuba who aren’t facing imprisonment as dissidents differently than those from other nations. Anyone have an answer to this?
Another outlines “the points to make”:
1) The 50-plus years of sanctions and embargoes were failing to drive the Castros and their ilk from power. Diplomacy such as this – with an effort to defuse tensions to where the authoritarian regime will end political harassment – is due its chance to work.
2) The outrage against a friendly posture towards Cuba by the far right, and by the anti-Castro hardliners, are going to fall on deaf ears. Polling has shown a sizable majority of Americans, sizable majority of CUBANS (especially younger generations distanced from the passions of the Cold War era) back an end to sanctions and normalizing relations.
3) Obama’s move is honestly a very small, very minor moment in our nation’s international efforts … except somehow this move is one of the cornerstones of Obama’s administration. Because it is one of the moves his office has done to improve our nation’s international reputation that has been damaged by the heavy-handed neocon exploitations of the Bush/Cheney years. This move is going to go over well with our Caribbean and Central/South American allies, for starters. And it’s been a move we SHOULD HAVE done since the fall of the Soviet Union …
While Obama’s and the nation’s reputation remains stained by the failures to bring Cheney and his ilk to trial for their torture regime, he’s at least made good faith efforts in other areas – isolating Putin over his assault on Ukraine, getting Syria to clean out MWDs, treating with Iran as part of efforts to block ISIL and the Taliban, etc. – to show the United States takes its role as a superpower serious. This move is part of that trend.
4) Obama shouldn’t have received that Nobel Peace Prize so early in his presidency; they should have waited until moves like this to demonstrate how he’s using diplomacy the best way possible: ending hostilities, improving relations with ally and foe alike, and
This isn’t over yet, obviously. A lot has to get resolved over the issues of reparations (property ownership seized from the 1960s for example) and human rights (end to political arrests, open local elections). But this is a huge step. It breaks the stalemate of embargoes that weren’t working, and it forces the political ideologues to face new realities.
Another addresses Will’s post:
I’m one of the Twitterers who posted a comment about getting to Cuba before Starbucks (in an @reply to a friend). But my comment was not intended the way you suggest, and the way that a dozen other think pieces are also suggesting. I had not forgotten that Cuba was unbelievably poor, and that their mid-century architectural/technological condition was actually the sad result of arrested economic development. I have no interest in poverty tourism.
What I meant – and what I think most people meant – was that we hoped Cuba could grow fully into a nation with their own culture, as free from American normalization as possible. It would be a shame if American developers stormed in and turned the country into just another Floridianesque suburb. That seems all too possible.
Of course, if that kind of American assistance is what’s best for Cuba, then that’s fine. I want what’s best for them. But how do you say all this in a tweet. Really.
The backlash on these comments is exactly that Illiberal Left position that you’ve been writing about on the Dish, hacking away at harmless comments for not being explicitly clear that such and such person is not being maligned. It’s pouncing on people for personal gain and satisfaction.
I’m excited and hopeful for Cuba.