It is quickly becoming an article of faith among those who favor ending the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba that their opponents are economic illiterates. The more we can penetrate our long-time Caribbean adversary with iPhones and other technological marvels, the sophisticates patiently explain, the more Fidel Castro’s communism will cease to appeal.
Ending the embargo is really “a Trojan horse for democratic capitalism,” they say.
But suppose what the opponents of economic reconciliation intuitively understand is that the problem with Cuba is not communism, an ideology whose popular appeal collapsed almost two decades ago with the Berlin wall, but gangland rule. Suppose that what they recognize in the Cuban leadership is a ruthless regime which has no trouble with the erosion of its professed ideology as long as the final result is greater power, more wealth, and the appearance of legitimacy.