Editorial

Cuba has become irrelevant

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Remember when Cuba was regarded as important in terms of American foreign policy? Remember when we were so alarmed at the threat posed by a communist regime 90 miles from our shores that we had a trade embargo against Cuba? Remember when we showed more concern about human rights violations in Cuba than such violations in dozens of countries with equal or worse human rights records?

Remember when we regarded Cuba as relevant?

Oh, wait! We still do!

February 16 was the 55th anniversary of the inauguration of Fidel Castro, then 33, as President of Cuba. He had overthrown dictator Fulgencio Batista and became an ally of the Soviet Union. In response to Castro nationalizing the Cuban assets of U.S. companies, the U.S. imposed an embargo against Cuba in 1960. The embargo was expanded in 1962 and lasts to this day.

Kennedy attempted a poorly organized effort to overthrow Castro government in 1961, referred to as the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The plan relied on an assumed uprising of the Cuban people in support of the invaders. The uprising never materialized and the invasion failed miserably.

In 1962, President John Kennedy restored some of his bruised reputation by facing down Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev when Khrushchev tried to place ballistic missiles in Cuba. Khrushchev and Castro backed off, but Castro continued to represent Soviet interests in the Western Hemisphere, supporting Marxist uprisings in Latin America.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Castro continued to espouse Marxist philosophy, but even before the Soviet collapse, Communism in general and Castro in particular had started fading as a threat to U.S. interests.

In 2006, Raul Castro took over the presidency as a result of his older brother's poor health . Two years later, Raul too over the position permanently, with plans to retire in 2018.

Cuban Communism will likely die when the Castro brothers die but so what if it doesn't?

Cuba is not a threat to us and is no more oppressive than some of the dictatorships that we are allied with. The continued embargo serves no useful purpose.