New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, a liberal Democrat and ardent foe of President Obama’s Cuba policy, cast President Obama’s trip to Cuba in is proper context. In Obama's Cuba visit means the Castros win, democracy loses, Menendez wrote in a NJ Star-Ledger guest column:
I will not ascribe to the "Blame America" club for vicious abuses of human rights, systemic exploitation of Cuban labor, unrelenting repression, and stifling censorship. There is one source of injustice in Cuba: The Castro regime. It is not United States policies and it is not the United States embargo.
That’s just a sample of Menendez’s powerful rebuke of his own party’s president. Good for him. But I felt I had something to add.
I left these Comments:
Thank you, Senator Menendez, for this article. It is a breath of fresh air after the demoralizing coverage of President Obama cavorting around Cuba with communist dictator Castro.
What I found particularly distressing was Obama’s reference to economic inequality and then citing that as a “shortcoming” of the United States. This, as he addresses a society that represents what equality actually looks like—equality of economic misery and political repression!
Due to the natural individual diversity of humanity, economic inequality is the natural and virtuous result of a society where individuals are free to rise as far as their abilities, ambition, and personal circumstances will carry them. That’s why the Founding Fathers, in their genius and compassion, established only the principle of equality of rights before the law—a principle that would eventually sweep away slavery, women’s disenfranchisement, state-enforced segregation, and marriage inequality. In America, people get rich by creating great businesses that create great mass-market consumer products and plentiful jobs that, through freedom of trade, steadily lift the general standard of living. In Cuba, only the political rulers and their cronys get rich—by looting and repressing the people. Economic equality can only be “accomplished” by brutally suppressing economic freedom and thus upward mobility—Communist Cuba under the Castro gangsters.
All that Obama’s Cuba trip did was to grant unearned prestige and undeserved legitimacy to Cuba’s thugs, and to demoralize pro-liberty forces both outside and inside of Cuba.
Farther down in the comments section, I came across this from another correspondent:
Very smart move by Obama to open a dialogue with Cuba...Cuba has a population of 11.27 million....That's 11.27 million consumers who have never been exposed to the American free trade market...Just another way that Obama is going to boost the U.S. economy!!! Bravo!!!
I offered this observation in reply:
It takes two producers to trade, and thus two free trade markets to succeed. Nixon’s visit to China didn’t result in general benefits to the Chinese people until Mao ZeDong died and the reform-minded Deng Xiaoping took over and immediately began decollectivizing and liberalizing the Chinese economy, allowing in enough economic freedom for entrepreneurs and individual achievement to flourish. Perhaps the same will happen for Cubans when the Castros die off. That’s a big if. In the meanwhile, more foreign exchange injected into Cuba will only enrich and further entrench the Cuban rulers’ power.
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