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February 11, 2009

Cuba: Is it time?

Cuba Since President Obama took office, I've been hearing more and more about dropping the embargo against Cuba and allowing Americans to go back in. Personally, I would like to see it happen because I know from firsthand experience that there are many Christians in Cuba who would welcome our coming and helping them. I met four of them at a Bible school in Nicaragua several years ago, and they longed for the day when such an exchange would be possible. 

Do you think it's time to normalize relations with Cuba? Why or why not?

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Jason Taylor

Yes. Because we normalized relations with Russia and China and Germany and Japan and etc and etc long ago. Carrying on relations with states that are or once were odious, that we managed to get the better of and withholding relations from states that managed to thumb their noses at us sounds more then a little like our chief dislike is simply spite. Uncouth brattiness is tolerated to small nations(like small people)in the knowledge that they have no other outlet for pride. Big nations can be ruthless but it is undignified to be bratty. Carrying this on simply makes us look like Palestinians.
Being a Great Power requires a certain amount of gravitas and withholding relations simply because a state managed to outwit us is contrary to that. If we withheld relations to every odious power that would be one thing though it would be impractical and would hardly reduce their odiousness. But having relations with Russia(whom we got the better of) and not Cuba(which got the better of us) is absurd.


Yes, it's stupid to expect for a communist state to become capitalist by refusing to trade with them. It's like being a huge jerk to someone and expecting that behavior to make them into your friend...

How much has China changed since we began trading with them, vs before?

Steve (SBK)

But... where will Canadians go for vacation?


No. I have to disagree with both Jason and Matt.

Before I begin with my reasons, let me explain with my perspective on this issue. I am a first generation American born of Cuban parents. My mother left Cuba before the embargo took effect. I still have family in the island that I have never seen. This is a personal issue for me.

Our dealings with Russia and China are completely different compared to Cuba. We dealt with Russia, because they were a superpower like us. Although we disagreed with them, we had to deal with them in order to avoid nuclear war.

Concerning China, the main reason we dealt with them was in order to put pressure on the Soviets. Keep in mind, that Russia and China, although Communist, did not have warm relations during the 60's and 70's. Nixon took the opportunity to exploit that division.

Concerning Cuba, the United States has taken the position that the embargo could be lifted if Cuba takes steps to become democratic. Cuba needs to take steps, albeit baby steps towards democracy.

The Cuban government is aware of this, yet they refuse. They prefer to play the victim. If the embargo is lifted, they would win, because they did not change and the Cuban people will still suffer. Unfortunately, those in our State Department will not care.

Remember, Glasnot and Peristroika were initiated by the Soviets, not the U.S.

One last point, the embargo does have an exception for religious workers (i.e. short term missionary work). In other words, U.S. churches can go to Cuba and assist our brother and sisters in Christ.


No, because it will give the communist dictatorship 'oxygen'. It will prolong and sustain its evil grip on the people of the island whom it has enslaved.

We ought not to have normalized relations with Communist-oppressed China, and kept Free China as the lawfully elected recognized government.


Arthur, are you saying that we should operate on principle except when it is impractical? It is, of course, essential in the long run to operate on principles, as long as they are "right". (The principle we are talking about is "democracy" - the system whereby 51% can impose their will on the 49%. One could spend a lot of time discussing the "rightness" of that.) In any case, if the goal is to promote some set of principles, then putting those principles in the view of other people in other nations is a practical step. It is not our obligation or right to force our principles on foreign governments, but we always have the opportunity to demonstrate our principles. That is best done if we are connected through trade, cultural exchange, etc. If the people decide they want what we demonstrate, then they can "go for it" by whatever means are necessary - just as our founders did.



I have to disagree with you. The U.S. is not imposing its view on Cuba. Cuba had a republican form of government in the 1920's. The problem that Cuba had was that the politicians were corrupt and the military was seen as the nation's savior. That is how Batista came to power. Castro came to power in a similar way-revolution.

Concerning your statement, "If the people decide they want what we demonstrate, then they can "go for it" by whatever means are necessary - just as our founders did." does not apply in Cuba's case. Those that are going for it are held against their will and are in prisons. The people cannot arm themselves like the our founders did. Also, the Cuban people have had their souls drained out of them because of the 50 yrs. of a communist dictatorship. Look at Russia after the fall of communism.

Jason Taylor

Having diplomatic relations with a state is not a recognition of it's nobility. It is a recognition of it's competance at maintaining it's power. If we are unable to maintain relations openly, we shall be forced to rely on intermediaries as if we were in a state of war. There will always be some things which we must needs talk about.


The main reason we don't have diplomatic relations with Cuba is the power of the Cuban American community. Many are vindictive even after all these years. The harsh restrictions preventing Cuban Americans from freely visiting their families and sending money is un-Christlike. The restrictions imposed by the Bush administration against US mission organizations severely limit mission trips and mission work and are just plain wrong. We have a double standard for Cuba. I am a conservative Republican and have legally visited Cuba in the past two years. I hope the Obama administration reverses these policies that have not worked. It will not change Cuba or its leaders but it will be the right thing to do.

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