Hope and Change in Obama’s Cuba: Trade and freedom declines on the island

Investors Business Daily on President Obama’s wildly effective Cuba policy of Hope and Change, which has managed to accomplish the seemingly impossible: Less U.S. trade with Cuba’s apartheid regime and even less freedom for Cubans on the island.

Go Figure: Cuban Freedom And Trade Decline Since Obama’s Opening To Cuba

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Everything about President Obama’s December announcement to restore relations with Cuba has been premised on the idea that more exposure means more liberalization on the island.

In his Dec. 17 speech to the nation, the president said: “We are taking steps to increase travel, commerce and the flow of information to and from Cuba. This is fundamentally about freedom and openness and also expresses my belief in the power of people-to-people engagement. … I believe this contact will ultimately do more to empower the Cuban people.”

The result has been the opposite, with more repression of dissidents, and the Castro regime cranking up the goon squads overtime to beat and jail dissidents. Some 6,000 arrests have been announced since the opening, hardly a sign of a more open Cuba leading to a freer Cuba.

It’s the exact same thing with trade. For a while, the U.S. was Cuba’s top supplier of food and medical goods, even with the trade embargo on and conditions for contact far more restricted. The Castro regime was free to purchase food and medicine, but it couldn’t do it on U.S.-guaranteed credit. Cash on the barrelhead was all Castro was entitled to, given his vast record of defaulting on debts, and it didn’t stop him from buying.

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