I am not a fan of the policy of prohibiting people from traveling to Cuba. I understand the purpose of the ban, but I am generally for freedom. My default position is that we should be able to travel where we want to travel.But wait, there's more:
But if the ban should be lifted, it should be lifted for all — not just those who are friends with Obama.Hmm. I'm going to Cuba this summer and I'm not "friends with Obama." How am I managing that? Why I'm a Cuban-American, that's how. If it should be okay for me to go, why shouldn't it be okay for Beyonce and Jay-Z?
The cognitive dissonance of Cuban-American lawmakers regarding the embargo can not be made more stark than the press release of Ilean Ros Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart on the Beyonce/JayZ kerfuffle:
We write to express concern and to request information regarding the highly publicized trip by U.S. musicians Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (Beyoncé) and Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) to Cuba. We would like to respectfully request, within all applicable rules and guidelines, information regarding the type of license that Beyoncé and Jay-Z received, for what purpose, and who approved such travel.The problem with these pretty words is that the main inflow of money to Cuba comes from, you guessed it, Cuban-Americans. We seem to believe in the "do what we say not as we do" approach to policy.
[...] These restrictions are in place because the Cuban dictatorship is one of four U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism with one of the world’s most egregious human rights records. Cuba’s tourism industry is wholly state-controlled; therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people.
[...] We represent a community of many who have been deeply and personally harmed by the Castro regime’s atrocities, including former political prisoners and the families of murdered innocents. The restrictions on tourism travel are common-sense measures meant to prevent U.S. dollars from supporting a murderous regime that opposes U.S. security interests at every turn and which ruthlessly suppresses the most basic liberties of speech, assembly, and belief. We support the Cuban people by refusing to sustain their jailers. [Emphais supplied.]
The reality is the embargo is a failed policy that only serves to provide rationalization for the failures of the Cuban government. It should be ended.