Statement On U.S. Policy Toward Cuba

The White House’s announcement -- devoid of details and after 17 months of an unnecessary review -- that it will begin to shift its Cuba policy back toward what it was under President Obama, is a timid but very welcome step. 

It is indisputable that the policy of pressuring Cuba’s authorities to abandon their one-party authoritarian rule has completely failed, despite six decades of punishing, unilateral sanctions.  Yet just as the Cubans remain wedded to a failed political and economic system which has caused record numbers of Cubans to flee the island, the Administration still clings to a discredited approach that it rightly rejects in its relations with other repressive governments, knowing that effective diplomacy requires inspired and principled engagement. 

Only by collaborating on issues of common interest does it become possible to make progress on issues of strong disagreement, like the unjust imprisonment of Cuban dissidents.  The Cuban government, which claims to want constructive relations with the United States, would be well advised to release those imprisoned after the July 11th protests.

I hope this announcement is the beginning of a wholesale renunciation of a discredited policy that is beneath our country and has exacerbated the hardships inflicted on the Cuban people.  The federal government needs to get out of the business of restricting how or where Americans can travel and spend their own money.  That is not what the world expects of our 233-year-old democracy.

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