Obama Should Focus on Internet, Not Tourists in Cuba

Sunday, February 1, 2015
Excerpt by author and columnist, Andres Oppenheimer, in The Miami Herald:

Biggest test in U.S.-Cuba talks: the Internet

Neither a U.S. embassy in Havana, nor a million additional U.S. tourists sunbathing in Varadero beach, nor U.S. exports of paint and building materials for the island’s small private sector, will help open up Cuba’s political system.

Millions of foreign tourists — including nearly two million Canadians and Europeans last year — have long been visiting the island, and European countries and Canada have been exporting goods to Cuba for decades, without any major impact in helping connect Cubans to the outside world, or helping the island emerge from its chronic poverty.

In coming rounds of the U.S.-Cuba normalization talks, Washington should focus on the Internet. And if Cuba balks, as many expect, the United States and Latin America should denounce Cuba for what it is: a military dictatorship that has run out of excuses for refusing to allow its people to access the Internet.