Free Cuba -- end the embargohttp://www.pnj.com/article/20081114/OPINION/811140319
Already there's talk that a Barack Obama administration will relax U.S. restrictions on travel to Cuba and allow cash remittances by Cuban-Americans with family there.
And while he's at it he should do something about the counterproductive trade embargo.
For starters, it would be good for Pensacola. The Port of Pensacola once did a thriving trade with Cuba, and still ships frozen food there under a food-related exemption to the embargo.
A Cuba with more money to spend means more business for the port.
More importantly, we say open up Cuba to the full force of American tourism and business, and see how long Raoul Castro can maintain the kind of tyrannical grip his brother maintained.
Fidel always had the United States to blame for economic conditions in Cuba, pointing to the embargo and the ban against family members sending money to needy relatives.
In the end, who was hurt the most? The poverty-stricken people of Cuba.
Castro and his coterie of apparatchiks don't suffer. They have plenty to eat, nice homes and can travel to much of the world.
Certainly, Cuba's government is dictatorial. But if we can trade with, and U.S. citizens can travel to, Russia, China, Egypt and other such bastions of freedom, we can handle access to Cuba.
So let's be honest. This is about Florida's electoral votes, which presidential candidates fear might hang in the balance of the anti-Castro vote in South Florida.
But the specter of a supposedly free country barring its supposedly free citizens from traveling to a nation 90 miles from its border because of domestic politics is shameful.
Does anyone think that if Cuba had as much oil as, say, our trading partner Venezuela — a country whose rabidly anti-American leader would love to emulate Castro — that these restrictions would be in place?
We didn't think so.
End the travel restrictions, cancel the embargo — and begin the process of freeing Cuba.