Update Cuba Policy For The 21st Century
Congress should work to update our legislative framework towards Cuba so that we finally have a coherent policy responsive to 21st century challenges and opportunities.
This policy should seek to open the flow of contacts and resources between American civil society and the Cuban people, while at the same time use the full range of diplomatic tools at our disposal to incentivize the Cuban government to reform and respect the rights of its citizens.
After 54 years, it's clear that attempting to promote human rights and democracy in Cuba through a policy of isolation and resource denial has been a wasteful and counterproductive exercise.
Trade and travel restrictions toward Cuba aren’t restrictions on the Castro brothers, they're restrictions on the American people, and on our ability to serve as the best ambassadors of our ideals. Opening up to Cuba will advance our national interests and democratic values by empowering the Cuban people’s capacity to work toward a more open and prosperous country. It will also make it increasingly costly for Cuban officials to maintain its internal embargo, since they will have a stronger independent private sector and civil society to deal with.
While change won't happen overnight in Cuba, the bold new course announced by President Obama on December 17th began the important process of taking away the Cuban government's preferred excuse for its repressive practices.
This new course shifts away from the top-down bureaucratic failures of past decades toward a bottom-up approach focused on empowering everyday Americans and Cubans to serve as agents of change. But as long as our current laws toward Cuba stay in place, the effectiveness of this new approach will be limited.
Members of Congress should do their part to ensure that our laws with regard to Cuba policy truly serve to advance the interests of the United States and empower the Cuban people to become the authors of their own destinies at the earliest possible opportunity.
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