Caleb Parker ’18 – Inside Politics Program
Senator Marco Rubio once said, “We are special because we’ve been united not by a common race or ethnicity. We’re bound together by common values. That family is the most important institution in society. That almighty God is the source of all we have.” Marco Rubio in my mind represents all the aspects that unites my beliefs as an American. He represents the side of America that this nation was built upon. He represents diversity from his identity, but unity with his heart. His humble roots and hard work gave him the American Dream, and that being said, I believe that the American Dream should be available and spread to all people by influence, as our founding fathers had in mind.
The Obama Administration has announced in December its plans of rebuilding diplomatic relations with the United States of America and the Republic of Cuba. I applaud this decision from the President’s administration, as well as the joint bipartisan efforts from Senator Robert Mendevez of New Jersey, the current chairman of the Senate Committee on foreign relations, alongside his team of Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), John McCain (R-AZ), and Marco Rubio (R-FL). Half of these men have origins in their families ancestry from Cuba, which is why this decision is so heartfelt and emotional. I would like to analyze the benefits of this decision, and how this decision can and will be an ultimate good for both the U.S. and Cuba alongside other factors.
Castro’s takeover of Cuba at the start of the Cold War was a gigantic blow to U.S. National Security and the promise of peace and stability for the democratic world. The United States adopted an isolationist policy from Cuba immediately, setting an embargo over the small island nation just 90 miles off the shores of Key West. An embargo is meant to cripple an enemy economy within a span of several years. This is not the case with Cuba, it has been nearly 60 years since the Cuban embargo began and Cuba’s economy has not fallen. Why after decades of the Castro regime would the economy fall now? In no way, shape, or form has any other factor changed. Cuba has learned to live in a world without the United States. They have sought goods and services via trade from other nations, only helping develop their economy. Therefore the argument about the consequences of the embargo is not rational and is completely invalid.
Let’s examine the impending national security threat that Cuba holds. Cuba is the largest nation in the Caribbean with around 9 million citizens and has the largest island mass. Cuba was never and will never be a substantial military, political, or economic threat to the United States. The Cuban Missile Crisis was not the doing of Cubans, but the doing of the Soviets. Therefore perhaps a lesson learned from that story is that the United States should try to ally itself with its neighbors, especially a neighbor within earshot of one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the U.S. The United States has an entire continent below its southern border. The United States doesn’t necessarily need to befriend every single nation throughout the Western Hemisphere, however in this time of crisis around the world, it is critical that the United States has diplomatic relations with a nation so close to American shores. Additionally, I challenge anyone of my opponents to find one specific nation or state in which the United States has not had conflict or animosity towards. The U.S. fought two wars with Britain, yet Britain is the U.S.’s greatest ally. The Japanese bombed the United States, yet American interest still prevails. Wars have been fought against Spain, France, Germany, Russia, Vietnam, Communist China, Columbia, and Grenada, just to say a few. However all of these nations still have diplomatic relations with the United States with a lot of economic interest in between on both sides. The United States has had a tough tension between the Castro regime, however the fall of the Soviet Union saw an end of the military capabilities of the people’s army of Cuba. This means that Cuba is no longer a giant military power able to bomb the United States. There are many more military and political threats in the world that the United States should be focused on before Cuba.
Take a moment to look at what this plan means and what the results can be. Immediately, two embassies will be staffed in Washington, D.C. and Havana, Cuba, with plans in the future for consulates in American cities with high Cuban populations including Miami, New York, and Newark as well as Cuban cities with American interest including Santiago de Cuba. The decades long embargo will ultimately end, allowing investors between both nations able to once again convene and trade. Additionally a major industry that is often underestimated is the tourism of the Caribbean. Cuban ports primarily based out of Havana can provide great interest to cruise companies to further the opportunity for investors, bankers, and tourism with industry throughout Cuba as well as the entire Caribbean. With a struggling economy in the Caribbean, Cuba’s primary industry of agriculture can develop industry in the region with the United States leading the way for more economic and political security.
Economic policy is definitely a primary concern to the American people and to our policy makers. However there are political advances that this decision will make as well. This decision is one step in the direction of freeing the people of Cuba and allowing sunlight to once again shine on this nation. The regime of both Fidel and Raul Castro for the past half century has led to the deaths of thousands of Cubans and the displacement of additional thousands, who now live throughout the United States. Both Fidel and Raul Castro are in their eighties and it is believed that natural death will come for both within the next decade. With the end of the Castro regime, only God knows who would take over, and no one knows how much bloodshed would come with a squabble for political power.
With that in mind it is important to know what 50 years of an embargo has done to Cuba. The economy was isolated, but so were its people. Not many Cubans can recall of the freedoms of democracy, but only the iron grip of the Castro regime. If the people of Cuba don’t know the taste of democracy, then how can they ever be able to fight for independence as a republic once again? Looking back at Cuba, this is the perfect and ideal opportunity for the promise of democracy to stand on the shores of the island. If the United States wants political and economic security in the Caribbean and Latin American region, then this is the perfect way to spread the influence. The United States is not any safer yesterday than it is today, therefore it is time for the United States to look towards new policy to promote national as well as global security. It is time for peace, time for economic opportunity, and time for political change in Cuba. Henry Ford, perhaps America’s greatest industrialist once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”