Way back in 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis resulted in our imposing a blockade upon the island nation, which later evolved into us imposing an embargo upon them that continues to this day. The blockade was a good idea that probably kept us out of a shooting war with the Soviet Union, and the resulting embargo was a step down from the blockade. Okay, fine so far. But the continuation of that embargo has been a failed policy, to the degree that it probably greatly assisted in keeping Fidel Castro in power. How so? Because most of the times that the communist-led economy failed he was able (often correctly) to blame our embargo on those bad results. Furthermore, the embargo does not have a particularly negatively affect upon Cuba’s government, but it adversely affects the Cuban people, often severely. So why has our government continued with that failed policy up to this day? The answer is politics and, as here, politics are often destructive.

Many Cuban-Americans in Florida are wealthy, highly organized and influential – and they still favor the embargo. So if a presidential candidate even breathes the thought of eliminating or even reducing our embargo, that candidate will almost certainly lose the election in Florida, which is often a crucial state in a national election. So because of politics we have maintained this failed and destructive policy. Removing the embargo would allow many more Cubans the ability to see how the Free Market works so much better than their Communist-based approach. So if our embargo were lifted those people could advocate more effectively for change. The only reason Communism was able to be sustained for so long in Cuba was that the then Soviet Union subsidized the Cuban economy. But with the fall of the Soviet Union came the loss of that subsidy. Thus the Cuban system was forced to move toward the Free Market simply to keep its economy from collapsing. So why not now bring Cuba back into the world community and continue to build upon those changes by lifting the embargo? We trade with China and Venezuela, why not Cuba? Once again, politics. The destruction continues!

Question of the week: What do you say to comfort a friend who’s struggling with grammar? Answer: “There, their, they’re.”

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

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