Kudos to Jeff Flake on Cuba

I missed this story originally but saw it pop up on our local news again.

Mr. Flake, who has spent a decade in a lonely battle against his party to push for easing restrictions on Cuba, is the chief Republican defender of the new Obama policy. White House officials are counting on him to make their case to his party’s rank and file, even as Republican leaders and Cuban-American lawmakers, like Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, threaten to keep the president from appointing an ambassador or funding an embassy in Havana.

At a Capitol Hill hearing presided over by Mr. Rubio on Tuesday, the two men sat next to each other, somewhat awkwardly, as Mr. Rubio grilled administration officials on a policy he has called a “concession to tyranny.” But even before the hearing, Mr. Flake had moved ahead: Last week he filed a bill to end the decades-old ban on American travel to the Communist island nation.

Good.  The Cuba embargo has been a big, obvious, sustained failure.  While we have embargoed them they have moved no closer to freedom, while scores of countries with which we actively engage have become more free, in large part due to the effect of engagement by their citizenry with the West.

Flake really is an engaging guy.  I watched him at a taping of the NPR game show "Wait, wait, don't tell me" and he charmed an audience of NPR Democrats.


  1. disqus_00YDCZxqDV:

    Not to mention the hypocrisy. I'd rather live in Cuba than in many of the US's "partner" countries like Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan. If you're a leader of a country you'd better align yourself with the US, and as long as you play ball with CIA, you're good to go ahead torturing and killing your opponents, and you may even get a photocall with Hillary or Kerry!

  2. NL7:

    Cuba has been supported for years by remittances from Cuban Americans, who hate the regime but love the country. So they want an embargo to squeeze out the Castros, but many of them send money to relatives. I don't consider the impulses to be hypocritical, but it makes for a terrible policy that ruins individual Cuban lives while protecting the regime from disaster.

    Should the rule really be that Americans can give stuff to Cubans for free, but Cubans can't sell their labor or goods to Americans?

  3. Chris:

    like I read elsewhere, Cuba can trade with 199 other countries but not being able to trade with the US is what is keeping them destitute? The embargo is simply ineffective, which shouldn't be surprising as it is after all the government doing the embargoing.

  4. ErikTheRed:

    Flake has been ... flaky since he left the house. On Cuba he seems to be solid, but on so many other foreign policy issues he seems to be John McCain's sockpuppet.

  5. ECM:

    He charmed an audience of Dems because he is more akin to a Dem than a Rep, these days, so that's hardly saying much.

    (On topics like Cuba and immigration, of which our host is, sadly, simpatico with.)

  6. HenryBowman419:

    The problem with the Cuba deal is that the Cubans benefit substantially, but the U.S. got virtually nothing in return. It's as though the Administration has no idea how to negotiate—or, perhaps, simply chooses not to do so.

  7. herdgadfly:

    Cuba remains the center of terrorism in Central and South America supporting all dictators and all communist and fascist revolutionaries - while failing to elevate the living conditions on the island. We do not need to join this choice group and we do not need to finance more communism - which is exactly what will happen.

    US policy didn't fail, but the Cuban government has.

  8. vikingvista:

    The problem most people have thinking about these types of issues is the conflation of state with country. The Cuban state is an institution comprised at its highest levels of vicious looters and murderers. Most people living in the territory lorded over by those state thugs, even those thoroughly indoctrinated into the absurd Marxist ideology, are innocents. Innocent also, are the many Americans who would like to trade with and visit those people. For the US Federal government to threaten to rain violent retribution upon either those Cuban or American innocents is appalling. It is based upon a perverse notion that to harm a parasite, one should attack the unwilling and innocent host.

    And this distinction between country and state is no more important for prison nations like Cuba than for nations like the US where expatriates are "merely" persecuted.

    That doesn't mean there need be any positive relationship between the US Federal government and the Cuban government. In fact, the latter should be completely shunned. It merely means that the former should stop actively persecuting those who want to travel or trade there.

  9. skhpcola:

    While we have embargoed them they have moved no closer to freedom

    You are a goddamned liar, as you always are when you veer into politics. Prove it, Warren. Provide three links that even suggest Cubans are more free than they were before [any time after Che and Castro came to power]. You fucking leftists suck tyrant cock at every opportunity, yet you can't explain how there was no total embargo of Cuba by the USA...indeed, the country has bought the majority of its food from the United States for decades. But you keep on keeping on being a tool for your leftist bullshit cause. You and your filthy ilk will cause Cubans more misery than they've ever experienced, once you enrich the regime.

  10. skhpcola:

    Haul ass to Canada or Mexico, comrade. You can catch a flight from your choice to Cuba and live in the Libertarian notion of Utopia. You should probably do some research first, because you are woefully unprepared for the dismal reality that awaits you, leftist fucktard.

  11. HenryBowman419:

    skhpcola, did you actually read what Warren wrote? Or, is your comment missing a couple of important words? It makes no sense to me.

  12. skhpcola:

    Yeah, Henry, I think that I missed the "no" in Warren's statement and that slightly changes my rude reply. Because Warren thinks that borders, sovereignty, and culture are all a joke and useless, he probably thinks that the US is the root of all the ills of Cuba, like all American leftists. But really, I blame it on Friday night and responding to Warren's new hobby of trolling on his own blog while I'm on my phone reading Coyote Blog and drinking at the pub. My eyesight's not what it once was.

  13. Gdn:

    Not quite correct. The Cuban Government benefits substantially, but neither Cubans nor the U.S., nor Americans got anything substantial in return.

    The embargo with Cuba should have ended long ago...however it should have ended in a way that has a chance of improving things. No tastes of capitalism, nor free information, nor any other inroads were made. It was done in a way that was akin to giving Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a credit card.

  14. fotini901:

    Best embargo China then, huh.