US-Cuba Diplomatic Ties Re-established

It won’t even make the biggest headline today, but historically this is big.

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that it was past time for the U.S. to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba as he announced that the two countries were reopening their embassies after more than 50 years.

“When the United States shuttered our embassy in 1961, I don’t think anyone thought it would be more than half a century before it reopened,” he said in remarks from the White House Rose Garden.

Earlier Wednesday in Havana, a U.S. diplomat delivered a note from Obama to Cuban President Raul Castro restoring diplomatic ties.

Cuba and the United States haven’t had formal diplomatic relationships since before I was born.

The Republicans will be upset about this, and might even do things to block money to re-open our embassy there, or deny Obama’s selection for a Cuban ambassador.  They will point to jailed Cuban dissidents and other Cuban human rights violations and other argle-bargle.

But here’s the thing: 50+ years of isolating Cuba from the United States has done nothing — I mean, nothing — to make things better for the dissidents or others subject to human rights violations.  Actually, it has entrenched Castro’s regime.  Clearly, that policy failed to improve anything for anybody. This isn’t a reward for Cuba.  This is a way to change things within Cuba in the absence of a 50-year-old inert policy.  What’s so difficult about understanding that?

UPDATE:  Ted Cruz weighs in….

Well, tha’s stupid and off-point.  Like most countries, we have an embassy in Tel Aviv.  Yes, Congress passed a law in 1995 to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but evey president (including Bush) has wisely overridden that do to security reasons.

In Case You Missed It

In my opinion, there should me more fanfare about the US relations in Cuba.  I mean, this happened today:

In December 2014, the President instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and provide a report to him within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism. On April 8, 2015, the Secretary of State completed that review and recommended to the President that Cuba no longer be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

Accordingly, on April 14, the President submitted to Congress the statutorily required report indicating the Administration’s intent to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, including the certification that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months; and that Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. The 45-day Congressional pre-notification period has expired, and the Secretary of State has made the final decision to rescind Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, effective today, May 29, 2015.

The rescission of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission. While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation

Cuba has been on the terrorist list since March 1, 1982 (the list itself started on December 29, 1979).

The decision is a major step toward normalizing diplomatic relations with Havana. Among other activities, this means that Cuba can do banking in the United States.

Soon, I will take a vacation there.