As in the case of Iran, rewarding state sponsor of terror, Cuba, with what it wants is not in the U.S. national interest.
For example, with regards to travel, Section 1706 of the Cuban Democracy Act placed strict limits on remittances for the purpose of financing the travel of Cubans to the United States.
These limits were put in place to allow for reasonable costs associated with such travel and to ensure that these remittances “are not used by the Government of Cuba as a means of gaining access to United States currency.”
This announcement gives regime officials a free pass; it may also works against U.S. law.
Placing aside the human rights question and issues directly related to things taking place on the island, the Cuban Communist Party has to account for a series of misdeeds against the U.S. before any easing of travel was to be even considered, much less implemented, including (and this is a partial list):
- The complete disclosure and dismantling of Cuba’s chemical and biological weapons research/program;
- Complete disclosure and bringing to justice the officials involved in the murder of three American citizens and one U.S. national by the Cuban regime in 1996 (the Brothers to the Rescue incident);
- Complete access by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of all of Cuba’s nuclear technology sites and facilities;
- Honoring extradition requests for convicted fugitives from U.S. law such as cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, various hijackers, and other felons;
- Ending support of terrorist groups such as the FARC in Colombia, ETA in Spain, and many others;
- Cease working against the U.S. in the global war on terror;
- Cease support for fellow state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, and its proxies that are operating throughout the world, including the Western Hemisphere to destabilize U.S. interests and regional stability;
- Begin a serious process to resolve billions of dollars worth of claims held by U.S. taxpayers for properties illegally confiscated by the Cuban Communist Party (and that the Cuban regime has purposely sold to foreign companies and interests to create tensions in a settlement process).
There is a clear and concise statutory process that lays out specific acts that must be undertaken by the Cuban Government before the U.S. will recognize it as a bona fide, law-abiding member of the Western Hemisphere. In order to exact these concessions, President Obama will need every tool at his disposal, including the power to regulate tourism and exile travel. With this announcement today, it seems as if he has weakened our hand.