A poll by the Atlantic Council found that 56% of Americans favor a more direct engagement, or even normalized relations with our neighbors off the coast of Florida. What’s more:
The poll offered even greater evidence that a political tide has turned with its finding that two critical domestic political constituencies favor renewed ties to Cuba by even larger majorities than the nation at large. Survey respondents from the US Hispanic community supported broader Cuban relations by 62 to 30 percent. And voting-age residents of Florida, a decisive swing state in recent presidential elections, back a policy change by 63 to 30 percent.
It’s such a bizarre accident of history and ethnicity that we treat Cuba the way we do. It’s supposed to be because Communism, but who seriously believes that? We trade freely with China, Vietnam—hell, pretty much every other “communist” country. The U.S. has instituted and defended dictatorships far more inhumane and despotic than the Castros. It’s a shame we never truly embraced the island when we had the chance, and instead turned it into a playpen for the corrupt, which of course spurred a revolution.
So, maybe this poll is good news that can at least begin a process of not even necessary embracing our southern neighbors. Of course, probably not with this congress, but maybe this administration. I just want to be able to freely fly to Havana and try a fresh Cuban with my mojito.
As an aside, apparently when President Kennedy instituted the embargo, they tried to exempt cigars:
We tried to exempt cigars,” John Kennedy told me in early 1961 when I brought him the order that imposed an embargo on trade with Cuba, ”but the cigar manufacturers in Tampa objected. I guess we’re out of luck.”