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Posts published in “Day: December 18, 2014”

Ending an embarassment

peterson MARTIN

The announcement that the United States and Cuba are attempting to normalize relations is over half a century overdue. For over half a century, we have attempted to change the course of the Cuban government through denying them diplomatic recognition, enforcing a trade embargo and numerous other activities. The thought has been that these actions would steer Cuba away from its communist form of government and get rid of the Castros.

So after 54 years, how has that strategy worked? The U.S. has gone through ten presidents in that time. In Cuba, the Castros are still in power and their government is still communist. At the same time, U.S. businesses have been denied the opportunity to profit from doing business in a county less than 100 miles from our shores and our citizens have been denied the freedom to freely travel there.

Obama’s decision will draw far louder cries of criticism that the previous decisions of Nixon with China and Clinton with Vietnam, which is troubling. In the case of both China and Vietnam, we had fought wars with them that cost tens of thousands of American lives. With Cuba, we lost four U.S. citizens in the U.S. launched Bay of Pigs invasion.

The Marco Rubios of Congress will rant that the Cuban government is guilty of having confiscated private property. Absolutely correct. But China, Vietnam, Russia, Mexico and other governments we recognize have done the same. They will also say that the Cuban government is a repressive government with respect to many of its people. Once again, correct. But we do business with numerous others governments guilty of the same charge, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China, Russia, Vietnam and many others.

Shortly after President Obama held his news conference announcing his decision to open diplomatic relations with Cuba, Florida Senator Marco Rubio appeared before the TV cameras. He gave all appearances of being in shock over the situation. And with good reason. He and a number of other politicians have built careers based on their opposition to the Cuban government. In most instances, they have represented states or congressional districts with a high percentage of Cuban-American citizens.

But times have changed. While the older generations of Cuban Americans – those who had lived in Cuba and immigrated to the United States – may still support things like the trade embargo, public sentiment has changed among the younger generations.

The U.S. maintains a fairly large interests operation in Havana. It will require little to simply change its name from an interests section to an embassy. Initially, confirmation of an ambassador will likely run into a roadblock, but with time that will also change.

Obama can take most of his actions to normalize relations via executive action. But the trade embargo is set in law and will require congressional action to be lifted.

Don’t expect that to happen any time soon. However, when a major effort comes to remove the embargo, it will likely come from the business sector, seeking to open new markets for their products. The petroleum industry will also likely make a push in an effort to gain offshore exploration rights from the Cuban government. Another U.S. economic sector that will make that push will be the resort and tourism industry. Cuba has huge potential for tourism and right now European companies are doing most of that development in Cuba. Unfortunately, the longer the U.S. drags its feet on lifting the trade embargo, the more likely it is that all of the prime beach front property will be developed by interests from other countries. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Micron's fortunes looking up (Boise Statesman)
Student paper plagiarizes in commont on Ybarra (Boise Statesman)
Looking at challenge to health care subsidies (IF Post Register)
Cooperative health insurance provider appears (IF Post Register)
Otter wants Supreme Court to see Idaho marriage case (IF Post Register)
Asotin aquatic center may be back on track (Lewiston Tribune)
Latah whooping cough case confirmed (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
Latah officials look to next legislative session (Moscow News)
Canyon officials release plans for jail (Nampa Press Tribune)
Caldwell ethanol plant considered by county (Nampa Press Tribune)
Pocatello cows may get national help (Pocatello Journal)
Pocatello schools asking for $9.25m levy (Pocatello Journal)
ASISU president quits as grades fall (Pocatello Journal)
Chobani finds way to use less water (TF Times News)

Historical park fees would rise to $10 (Astorian)
Pacific Power may sue Klamath on terms of use (KF Herald & News)
Jobs coming back in Portland (Medford Tribune)
Old state hospital building to be demolished (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Coal port case on hold till end of 2015 (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Oregon gets new pot program head (Portland Oregonian)
Portland might go for new parking meter deal (Portland Oregonian)
Farmers could see benefits from Cuba trade (Salem Statesman Journal)
State seeks to have local school incentivize (Salem Statesman Journal)

Port Orchard has conflicts over email policy (Bremerton Sun)
Poulsbo transfer station added to Transit plan (Bremerton Sun)
Snohomish County won't shut down, budget okayed (Everett Herald)
KapStone workers, execs still conflict over health (Longview News)
Islee looks toward carbon cap and trade (Seattle Times, Spokane Spokesman, Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Port Angeles Chambers keeps tourism role (Port Angeles News)
Weather mild, snow thin, not much skiing (Spokane Spokesman)
Port of Vancouver may develop Red Lion hotel (Vancouver Columbian)
Judge Johnson, female pioneer, will retire (Vancouver Columbian)
Concerns raised about Yakima fish recovery (Yakima Herald Republic)
Yakima won't contribute fundes toward trolley (Yakima Herald Republic)