THE American political world offered two rather different responses to the White House’s announcement on December 17th that full diplomatic relations with Cuba are to resume within months. One take was noisily partisan, with talk about what this might mean for the 2016 presidential contest, and complaints that the policy offers further proof that President Barack Obama is an “appeaser-in-chief”, as one Cuban-American Republican congressman ventured. The other response, which was relatively more muted, considered the merits of the policy itself. Some now wonder whether the American embargo with Cuba can be said to have worked, given that the Castro brothers remain in charge in Havana more than half a century after the two sides closed their respective embassies.
Renewed diplomacy with Cuba follows 18 months of secret talks hosted by Canada and the Vatican. It will be accompanied by the largest easing of travel bans and trade embargoes in 50 years. It was made possible by Cuba’s release of Alan Gross, a subcontractor for the US Agency for International Development. Mr Gross has spent five years in prison in failing health,...Continue reading