On Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced that the United States and Cuba would restore diplomatic ties after more than 50 years of separation. It has been a long time coming and, for many Republicans, an annoyance in foreign policy.
The decades-long embargo against Cuba has been little more than political theater maintained mostly to retain some amount of leverage against the small, island country. The embargo, originally designed to pressure a cold war adversary to democracy and capitalism, has by a majority of accounts been a failure. So what has forced the United States to keep the failed practice alive for so long? Batista Republicans.
In the 1960’s, hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled the economic and political rise of the Castro family. Among them were members of former President Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar, a despotic totalitarian ruler. Since that time, they have influenced conservative politics regarding Cuba and provided support to right-wingers wanting to maintain archaic and failed policies against the island.
They’re dying out. So, now a group that, possibly, once influenced long-standing foreign policy, staunchly supported by many presidential administrations, no longer has much sway. According to The Economist, a “political machine” where Cuban-American Republicans once held three of four congressional districts in Miami, “explains why America has not established normal relations with Cuba, at it has done with China.”
“It’s a policy based on revenge,” said two-time Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives. “It sells well, but it has nothing to do with what’s going on in Cuba.”
However, South Florida Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio and former Rep. Lincoln Rafael Diaz-Balart still support the embargo against Cuba in that they see it as leverage. Remaining steadfast in outdated thinking, these Republicans are failing to realize the failure that is the U.S./Cuba embargo.
There is no need for revenge, and there is no need to restrict the flow of goods into the country that could save lives. With the Castros advancing in age, it’s safe to say that the regime is nearing its end anyway.