Leading from the Left

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Los Jubans

I am looking forward to Obama keeping his promise to ease US relations with Cuba.  US policy towards Cuba needs to change.  It needed to change decades ago but has been held hostage by a loud, angry minority with clout--conservative Cuban's in Miami who've been major donors to Republican candidates.   It's time to change. 

The current US embargo only hurts our own interests.  Even though business rules have been loosened in recent years, our farmers and business people remain largely shut out of an important, if small, market at our doorstep.  

I've been to Cuba, about 10 years ago, and it's a beautiful country.  Great food, interesting Spanish colonial architecture (which unfortunately is crumbling under the heavy foot of neglect), lovely countryside, and a fantastic climate.  

It's like living next door to someone for years and whose last name you don't know.  There is so much knowledge, experience and rich history in Cuba; and we're losing out by shutting ourselves off from it.  

The N&O has an interesting story today about a Raleigh couple, who left Cuba in the early 60's, and their recent return visit to Havana.  Before Castro, there were an estimated 15,000 Jews living in Cuba; today, the number is likely around 1500.