It’s been clear for a while that there really isn’t a political or strategic reason to maintain the trade embargo on Cuba. Even Cuban-Americans living in Florida are no longer pro-embargo, and they don’t vote on the issue anymore in any case. When you consider that the Republicans have won Florida exactly once since 1992 (* yes I know, hanging chad, butterfly ballot, Jews for Buchanan, Bush v. Gore) it’s hard to argue that pandering to the pro-embargo Cuban-American vote in the Sunshine State has worked out well for the GOP anyway.
So, I’m not surprised that the New York Times editorial board is advising the president to end the embargo during the last two years of the his presidency. Of course, he can’t quite accomplish that unilaterally without the consent of Congress, but he could remove Cuba from the list of state-sponsors of terrorism and he could reestablish diplomatic ties with them.
It would be nice if he could extract some concessions for these moves. In a sane world, some powerful Cuban-American politicians like Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez of New Jersey and GOP presidential aspirant Senator Marco Rubio of Florida would work with the administration and take some credit for whatever we get out of the deal.
That’s probably too much to ask, however. I’ll settle for the Obama administration restoring diplomatic relations. If Congress is too stupid to get anything in return, that’s just another reflection of the broken institution that it is.