This is the Basic Idea Behind Opening Up Cuba to American Business... Though It Would Be Nice to See Internet Access from a Company That Doesn't Roll Over to Authoritarian Censorship

The idea of opening up Cuba is NOT to somehow reward or even ignore their bad behavior but to open them up to the world.  Google wants to be in the forefront of providing Internet access, but given their history of rolling over on censorship to the Chinese, it would be nice to see someone less evil in the vanguard.

I meant to post this a while back, but Jeff Flake totally gets it on Cuba, and I appreciate his leadership among the Republicans on this.  I absolutely loved this quote:

Flake has long said that Americans should be free to see for themselves the stunted fruit of socialist policy. He tells the story of meeting with Lech Walesa, the great activist who challenged Soviet domination of Poland. "I have no idea," Walesa complained, "why you guys have a museum of socialism 90 miles from your shore and you won't let anybody visit it."

After three generations, I think one can safely call a policy like our embargo "failed" and try something else.


  1. David in Michigan:

    "Opening up Cuba"...... what does that really mean anyway. I certainly would appreciate some enlightenment. One thing I know for certain is that Cuba has been "open" to most of the world for a long time. I don't see that changed much in Cuba. So what exactly is going to change with the U.S. "opening up Cuba"?

    If it were up to me, I would have waited a few more years until the Castro boys were dead.

  2. herdgadfly:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Martin Niemöller distinguished between Socialists and Trade Unionists but indeed they are one in the same, so I suppose that same blindness affects Lech Walesa,

    Castro used the U.S to rid himself of opposition by encouraging refugees to ride the ocean in small boats and to convince the Jimmy Carter administration to take in his prison population, his sick and his dissidents.

    As for trade, we have likely run out of parts for 1950 Fords and 1957 Chevys. Besides, there is little or no wealth is available among the Cuban population to make Google a dime.

  3. SamWah:

    To the best of my knowledge (i.e., I keep reading that) tourists are kept away from the Cuban people who would show/demonstrate just how poor they are.

  4. Brennan:

    Agreed, David. I agree with Warren most of the time, but not this time. Apparently, a US "embargo" has been keeping Cuba down in poverty even though it's free to trade with every other freaking country in the world. Please. It's about their fascist system, and the US was right to oppose it. Appeasing dictators never works.

  5. ErikTheRed:

    Google's rolling over on authoritarian censorship is apparently no longer the least of their political evils. Some of Hillary's emails indicate they were quite active (and may still be) in the attempted Syrian regime change.

  6. ErikTheRed:

    It's somewhat refreshing to see Sen. Flake behaving in a manner other than trying to be the evil son John McCain never had. He wasn't half bad in the house, but he seems to have sold his soul for the Senate seat.

  7. ErikTheRed:

    Curious as to what anyone thinks the embargo has actually accomplished, other than giving Castro a propaganda excuse for their craptastic socialist economy. Rubbing capitalistic wealth directly in their people's faces can't exactly help the Castro regime, except from a short-term cash flow standpoint. And they've pretty much proven that they can ride out the cash flow problem indefinitely, so that's really not much of a win (unless you're a fan of piling extra suffering on the Cubans).

    On the plus side, outsiders will be able to see stuff other than the carefully stage-managed tourist hospitals and markets, which may result in less of a berning sensation here in the states. Because they all think that Cuba has a secret cure for lung cancer. Really.

  8. MJ:

    Curious as to what anyone thinks the embargo has actually accomplished,
    other than giving Castro a propaganda excuse for their craptastic
    socialist economy.

    Exactly. Removing the embargo rids of them of one of the last remaining straw men that they can use to explain away the abject failure of socialism. Note how the same strategy has been followed in Venezuela under Chavez/Maduro. With this excuse gone, they'll have to resort back to blaming global financiers or the Jews or whomever the revolutionaries are trying to demagogue this week.

  9. Mercury:

    This gets thrown around a lot and is undoubtedly true to some extent but what exactly is known about Google's "rolling over on censorship to the Chinese"?

  10. Brennan:

    "Berning." lol Well played, sir. Well played indeed! ;-)

  11. frankania:

    I am from USA, and have been to Cuba 3 times. There was no controlling us; we went everywhere we wanted, and talked to everybody. Almost everyone wanted to LEAVE their wonderful commune! They do have some nice old cars, tho.

  12. Bruce Zeuli:

    I tend to believe that the folks who are fans of socialism will will find Cuba charming. Warm people, lively music with beautiful beaches, rugged scenery and a sense of camaraderie missing in the US. And all those lovely cars from old movies! And if you point out the problems in their society you will be labeled a selfish materialistic ugly American. While I believe it's good to normalize our relations with Cuba, I don't believe it will change anyone's attitude about Socialism vs Capitalism.

  13. ErikTheRed:

    The controversy is over whether or not they would allow government access to people's GMail accounts and other Google-held user data. Originally, Google refused. Then the Chinese hacked Google in a rather spectacular fashion. Google pulled out of China briefly, then rolled over.

    There really aren't many (if any) "good guys" in the tech arena here. They either accommodate (or directly participate in censorship and spying with) the Chinese government, or they get shut out. The only major player that *might* be semi-clean is Apple - they allegedly allowed the Chinese government to audit IOS, which can be done without compromising user security. They also let the US government audit IOS, and probably some other governments as well. If the crypto and coding is done correctly, then seeing the source code doesn't give the attacker any advantage. They put cloud servers in China for Chinese users, but from an infrastructure standpoint that's just a practical matter - moving a ridiculous number terabytes of data per day over international borders is going wind up somewhere between "insanely slow" and "downright broken."

  14. slocum:

    "I tend to believe that the folks who are fans of socialism will will find Cuba charming"

    Yep. And not least because tourists will nearly all keep to the pretty, Disney-fied tourist zones and never venture into the poor, horribly run-down areas where ordinary Cubans live.

  15. Mercury:

    Well, Obama wants to see what's on your phone for tax collection purposes right now:

    (ctrl-F on "Swiss")

    So much for all that ticking-bomb, one-time-only, if-it-saves-just-one-child bluster. However, I predict that if the government declares war on math, math will win.

  16. ErikTheRed:

    My favorite hashtag this election cycle: #itbernswhenipee

  17. mesocyclone:

    My leftist relatives visited Cuba and came back extolling how wonderful it was, how happy the people were, blah, blah, blah. They were willingly taken in by the Potemkin Villages.

  18. mesocyclone:

    It is illegal in China to sell devices that State Security cannot read. I think Apple rolled.

    They are such hypocrites anyway. Their arguments against the FBI's completely reasonable request are specious. They can easily hack that one iPhone, and do so in a way that opens up no back doors for other phones. I speak as someone in the business and a former hacker.

  19. Mercury:

    Back doors would just force encrypted communication onto third-party apps...or the messages would get generated and encrypted outside the phone and only sent via the phone.

    Effectively unbreakable encryption is fairly simple math and the government won't win a war on math.

    It seems like it's easier to connect the (terrorist) dots via the unencrypted audit trails we all generate anyway:

  20. ErikTheRed:

    The fact that they can *technically* create a one-phone unlock tool was never in dispute. The problem is the legal precedent that it sets - it's an extremely broad expansion of the "All Writs Act" that gives law enforcement and the judges that regularly rubber-stamp for them almost limitless power. It's not a "slippery slope" argument; it's jumping straight to the bottom of the pit.

  21. markm:

    Also, there is no such thing as a "one-phone unlock tool." The FBI is asking Apple to create a master key to that generation of iPhones. It won't be used just once, and in the long run it will be leaked to the world. The government can't even keep a _physical_ master key off the internet: