Castro Woefully Fails Governor Hutchinson's Litmus

Sunday, September 27, 2015
Nobody should fool themselves.

If rice were not in the equation, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson would have no interest hobnobbing with Cuba's brutal dictatorship, in the hopes of selling some of the grain to Castro's import monopoly.

But Arkansas is the nation's top rice producing state, so they're desperate for where to sell it.

This is not an excuse for Governor Hutchinson -- to the contrary, rice sales (nor the sale of any other commodity) should guide U.S. foreign policy determinations. Plus, there are plenty of democracies in the Western Hemisphere, in order to be whitewashing Castro's regime for a profit.

Actually, if Governor Hutchinson wants to really sell a lot of rice -- leaps and bounds over what Castro's monopoly offers -- he should visit the Cuban-American community in Miami.

But now that he has chosen this erred path, Governor Hutchinson should be held to his own litmus for dealing with Castro's regime.

Earlier this week, Governor Hutchinson stated:

If Cuba responds to the lessening of economic sanctions by enhancing their freedoms and limiting or reducing political oppression and violation of rights in that country, then we should take it a step further and look at continued lessening of the embargo.”

Fair enough.

Here are the facts:

Since the Obama Administration's new Cuba policy took effect (including the easing of sanctions) on December 17th, repression has skyrocketed with well-over 3,000 political arrests; the number of Cubans fleeing the island has doubled; and (while we're on the topic) U.S. agricultural sales to Castro's monopoly have plummeted by 55%.

Thus, if Governor Hutchinson is honest to his word -- this will be a short trip.

Image below: Arkansas rice delegation grovels over Fidel Castro during one of their first trips in 1987.