Rangel (Dem) and Flake (GOP) Team Up to Make New Cuba Relations Proposal

Brian Zick

Congressmen Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) have together written an op-ed in Wapo entitled "Time for America to be Relevant in Cuba." For too long, our approach has been guided by electoral considerations. Ever-tightening sanctions have won votes in Florida for both Republicans and Democrats. But these sanctions have done nothing to promote change in Cuba, and they have kept American strengths -- diplomacy and contact with American society -- squarely on the sidelines. (…) The administration should begin by ending its insistence that it will respond only to Cuba's complete conversion to democracy and free markets. Cubans surely would welcome incremental reforms that improve living standards, not to mention economic and political freedom. The administration's all-or-nothing posture is divorced from the reality on which our approaches to North Korea, China, Vietnam and other communist countries are based. It is a formula for irrelevance. And Congress should increase American influence by building bridges rather than barriers to Cuba. (…) We should unite around a principle that Democrats and Republicans have long embraced, a principle that aided the West's success in the Cold War: American openness is a source of strength, not a concession to dictatorships. via Steve Clemons

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