During a Senate hearing two weeks ago, Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Arturo Valenzuela, defended the Obama Administration's policy of increased travel and remittances to Cuba (despite the economic benefit to the Castro regime) as follows:
"Let me just simply say this—that there may be some ancillary benefits to the Cuban government, but it is our view that to be able to have direct contact with the Cuban people, that Americans have direct contact with the Cuban people, will provide them with a kind of space that will allow them to become much more independent of the regime."
In other words, Valenzuela holds that the Cuban people will benefit from the Administration's policy through a "trickle-down" effect.
Yet ironically, President Obama has been a vocal opponent of "trickle-down" policies in the U.S.
So how could an Administration that believes "trickle-down" policies are counter-productive in the U.S.'s open, market economy, believe it'll help regular Cubans in Castro's closed, totalitarian economy?
Furthermore, how can Valenzuela describe travel and remittances, which have become one of the Castro regime's main sources of revenue, as "ancillary"?
This policy does not provide ancillary benefits to the Castro regime, it provides primary benefits.
Surely, critics will argue that it should be up to Cuban-Americans (and other authorized travelers) to decide whether to travel and send money to Cuba.
Furthermore, everyone sympathizes with Cuban-Americans that want to visit their family for genuine humanitarian purposes.
However, the 100,000 Cubans in Miami traveling to the island multiple times a year do not have the right to finance the repression of the Castro regime against 11,500,000 Cubans, including our own families and friends.
Thus, no matter how libertarian one might be (or purport to be), no one has the right to finance the repression of innocent people.
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