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.
I will do all in my power to block the use of funds to open an embassy in Cuba. Normalizing relations with Cuba is bad idea at a bad time.
— Lindsey Graham (@GrahamBlog) December 17, 2014
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….
It’s unacceptable and a slap in the face of a close ally that the United States will have an embassy in Havana before one in Jerusalem. — Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 1, 2015
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.