T00 bad it's hidden (from most of us) behind a subscription wall. Mario Loyola's commentary in the weekend Wall Street Journal is encouraging reading:
With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting Venezuela today, it might be a good time to consider another "change in course" for U.S. policy. The isolation of Cuba, a legacy of the Cold War, is pushing that country closer to America's most dangerous enemies.
In a recent open letter to President Bush, several major Cuban dissident groups called for an end to U.S. restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba. Now joining their call is the Miami-based Cuban Consensus, a coalition of 20 pro-democracy groups including the "hard-line" Cuban-American National Foundation.
Loyola, a regular contributor to the National Review, points out what has been obvious for a long time: the U.S. sanctions on Cuba are counterproductive. How is it that the strategy of trade and engagement that helped bring about the end of the Soviet empire and transform China is held to be inapplicable to Cuba? The answer lies in domestic politics, and specifically the politics of Florida. Politicians competing for the support of the Cuban emigre community there keep trying to outdo each other in ratcheting up the anti-Cuban rhetoric. This has been a factor primarily in Republican politics there, so it is significant that both the emigre organizations and their GOP supporters are starting to face reality.
Loyola is right that it makes sense for the U.S. to engage Castro's regime, not to isolate it. He gets to that conclusion for some suspect reasons--chiefly, an inordinate fear of Venezuela's Hugh Chavez--but the fact that someone with his right wing cred is on board the sanity train is good news indeed.