Shockingly, Cuba Not Interested in Releasing Political Prisoners

By on 1.8.15 | 1:00PM

Now that we're friends with Cuba and the entire Western Hemisphere is one giant hippie hug of happiness, you would expect that our administration would be following up on its request to have 53 political prisoners released. After all, that's the deal we made: we'll start buying your cigars and staying in your hotels and enriching your proletariat, if you let us have all of those Americans you've been holding all these years in Cuban jails.

You, of course, would be making assumptions far beyond your pay grade. You see, the White House assumed that once a deal was announced, Cuba, being the civilized nation that it is, would simply honor the plan. After all, now that the US had made a decision so lauded by global forces, it certainly wasn't going back on it. Cuba, of course, doesn't see it that way. Although the State Department is still laboring under the notion that all 53 prisoners have already boarded planes bound for Miami, it seems Congress has heard a different story. And now everyone's confused.

Marco Rubio: Barack Obama is the Worst Negotiator Ever

By on 12.17.14 | 4:44PM

The deal brokered to put an end to the US embargo against Cuba and "normalize" diplomatic relations is, at best, controversial. No one can tell for sure who will profit from it, why it was done, why it was done now, and how long it will be before we can aggressively import cigars and classic automobiles. 

What remains more important than that, however, is how the deal was brokered, what we got in it, and whether any part of the deal is ultimately fair to the United States, which has spent half a century building up the embargo in order to crush the Communist regime (which responded, mostly, but crushing it's own people). In return for no longer pretending Cuba doesn't exist except when we need to issue Beyonce a travel visa, which is everything Cuba's been asking for, we get a political prisoner whose name Barack Obama probably didn't even know before November. It seems like a dream come true for the Castros (zombie and not-zombie alike) and bit of a rough deal for anyone who spent the last fifty years or so hiding out from them.

The Hell-Hole Spectator

The Nation’s Sympathy for Communism

By 7.23.14

The communist apologists over at the Nation, the self-described “flagship of the left,” have outdone themselves. The liberal rag, notorious for its long record of useful idiocy in the service of tin-pot dictators and tyrants, has once again fallen in love with Castro's Cuba. You would think it was the sixties all over again.

A self-congratulatory article about the Nation's educational staff trip to Cuba sets a dangerous precedent by commending the Cuban government for its political and economic advancements. But the Castro regime is just as guilty of crimes against humanity as it was four decades ago. Just because the island is showing feints at “progress” does not make the regime worthy of praise.

Last week, Cuba renewed its ties with Russia—Big Brother’s Big Brother. Putin forgave 90 percent of Cuba’s debt, amounting to $32 billion. There are also reports, and denials, that Russia has agreed to fund the Lourdes electronic eavesdropping base in Cuba.

A New Political Blockade for Cuba

By on 6.17.14 | 4:01PM

The half-life of rage against Fidel Castro is roughly fifty-three years, give or take a generation and then some.

An annual poll released this morning by Florida International University revealed that the majority of Cuban Americans now favor an increase in economic involvement in Cuba. For decades, policy analysts have blamed the importance of the Cuban-American vote in swing-state Florida as the reason politicians refused to touch the Cuban embargo. Now that the key voting bloc is leaning toward a more free-market approach to Cuba, opposition to the embargo is no longer a politically unviable position to take. Right? 

Wrong. A new political blockade has arisen. Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez, both Cuban-Americans, still cling to the notion that lifting the embargo will make achieving democracy in Cuba more difficult and cede more money and legitimacy to the Castro regime.

Cuba’s Embargo Imbroglio

By on 5.7.14 | 4:55PM

Gary Becker, a Nobel laureate, expert in applied economics, and professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago, died this past weekend. His last post on the Becker-Posner blog is titled, “The Embargo of Cuba: Time to Go” and speaks to his legacy as an eminent economist.

In the post, Becker argues that resuming free trade with Cuba will pressure the Cuban government to “end its failed experiment with communism.” The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates American losses from the embargo to be $1.2 billion annually. This accounts for opportunity costs from potential gains in tourism, real estate, agriculture, and other industries.

Evidence supports Becker’s claim that opening up Cuba would do a lot more to force its liberalization than keeping it closed. Tourist areas like Varadero that have been exposed to capitalism in a limited sense are markedly different from the rest of Cuba. As Becker points out, the change would be almost immediate.