GOP needs to close gap with Cuba

December 14, 2013 

APTOPIX South Africa Mandela Memorial Obama Castro

In this image from TV, U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at the FNB Stadium in Soweto, South Africa, in the rain for a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013. The handshake between the leaders of the two Cold War enemies came during a ceremony that's focused on Mandela's legacy of reconciliation. Hundreds of foreign dignitaries and world heads of states gather Tuesday with thousands of South African people to celebrate the life, and mark the death, of Nelson Mandela who has became a global symbol of reconciliation. (AP Photo/SABC Pool)


GOP needs

to close gap

with Cuba

It didn't take President Obama's right-wing detractors long to make disparaging comments about his shaking the hand of Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's recent memorial service. Though they're always ready to immediately denounce him for even the pettiest reasons, the Republicans should've thought this one through first, as photos and videos of GOP dignitaries glad-handing noted despots soon followed on TV.

The most embarrassing may have been of John McCain, one of the first to decry the Obama/Castro gesture, shaking hands with and bowing to terrorist supporter Khaddafi. Awkward!

Rather than accusing Obama of complicity, maybe the Republicans should've looked at the two leaders' casual embrace as an opportunity to reverse their do-nothing obstructionist record and take positive steps for the benefit of the country.

How? By initiating measures to end the senseless, ineffective and costly (to the island's inhabitants) Cuban embargo. Instead of pandering for the votes of Cubans in Florida (as do the Democrats), the GOP could be leading the way to easing the needless suffering of Cubans on the home island, while bringing much-needed trade revenues to the U.S. Do the communist leaders in Cuba suffer as a result of the embargo? I doubt it. Do the Cuban citizens suffer because of it? Most certainly!

But sanctioning business with a communist country is un-American, right? Well, many U.S. soldiers were killed by Chinese troops in the Korean War, but we are now close economic partners with that communist nation. We lost a war to Vietnam in which more than 58,000 Americans died, but have open business and diplomatic relations with that totalitarian state. Come on, Republicans; ignore the voting bloc of South Florida (after all, you've got a lot of experience doing that) and champion the cause to end the immoral, worthless Cuban embargo, to expand trade opportunities with people who desperately need our goods, and in the process elevate your party to lofty accomplishments.

Unless, that is, you like the "do-nothing, obstructionist" label you've earned.

Robert Kushner


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