COMMENTARY | If the U.S. government restricted travel and trade with every country that committed human rights violations, our economy would suffer even more than it already is. So it’s time to end this double standard regarding Cuba.
The Guardian reported Sunday that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has called for tighter travel restrictions to Cuba in light of Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s visit. He took issue with Jay-Z not visiting oppressed artists during the trip, and emphasized the tourism trips are “providing hard currency and funding so that a tyrannical regime can maintain its grip on the island of Cuba.”
These dinosaur restrictions against Cuba have outlived their purpose, and are only in place to appease the likes of Rubio and the anti-Castro supporters in Florida. The U.S. not only trades with, but doesn’t impose travel restrictions on even more oppressive Communist countries.
The Weekly Standard reported Sunday that Secretary of State John Kerry has called for potential Chinese investment in U.S. infrastructure projects. He told journalists in Beijing, “One of the things I’ve discussed with the State Councilor tonight was the possibility of China investing in infrastructure” due to our “huge infrastructure needs.”
Nonetheless, China continues to be a very oppressive nation. For instance, “The authorities continued to harass, intimidate, persecute and criminalize pro-democracy and human rights activists,” per Amnesty International’s 2012 report on China. But Kerry wants this nation to invest in our water, energy, and road projects. There is less risk allowing Americans to trade and travel freely in Cuba than allowing China to get involved in rebuilding the U.S.
Furthermore, if Cuba is so bad in the eyes of the U.S., why does cooperation between the two countries actually take place? The Pocono (Pa.) Record reported Monday that despite no extradition agreement between the U.S. and Cuba, Cuba’s government helped find and then turned over alleged kidnappers Joshua and Sharyn Hakken to U.S. officials. Additionally, the coast guards of both nations work together to deal with suspicious boats.
If Americans are allowed to freely travel in Cuba and American businesses could freely trade in that nation, it will give Cubans more of a taste of capitalism and help improve the standard of living for its people as was done after President Richard Nixon helped open up China via his 1972 visit.
It’s time for the U.S. government to treat Cuba like it does China.