Photo credit The Telegraph
As it turns out, the moment that all cigar afficionados and daiquiri devotees have been waiting for for over five decades will be a bit. Â With the “normalization” of relations with Cuba, it turns out that tourists and visitors can bring the aromatic tobacco wonders and real sugar cane rum home with them, but the goods will not be imported just yet.
U.S. visitors will now be able to return to the U.S. with Cuban cigars, coveted for their quality. Cuban rum is also allowed â€” Americans will be allowed to return with up to $100 worth of alcohol or tobacco. Those imports are only allowed for personal use, though, not resale.
So, more or less, Cuba has been opened simply as a tourist destination without internet booking for hotels.
When they visit, Americans will be able to use their credit or debit cards on the island, a convenience previously banned. Agencies inside the United States will be permitted to organize trips. And American telecom equipment will now be allowed into Cuba, making communication with Americans easier.
But the day when Americans can log online to book a vacation in Cuba hasn’t yet arrived. U.S. officials say the ban on tourism in Cuba is still in place; the overall ban on travel to Cuba can’t disappear without congressional changes to the law.
Wait, several friends over the years have gone to Cuba without any real problem. Â The Cuban customs people looked at American passports and would say, “It is illegal for you to be in our country. Â Have a good time.” Â Obama is laying the guilt for this at Congress’ door. Â Sneaky.
Yes, it is true that Barack Obama used his magic pen to open Cuba to legal American tourism. Â Sort of. Â But the official travel ban and the economic embargo themselves are still in place. Â That means no imports or exports of rum or cigars, and Cuba will most likely still try to slant drill the oil out from under the Florida coast. Â It is up to Congress to lift the embargos in order for American economic might to really help Cuba. Â (And maybe give the people a chance to really make changes there.) Â The law here in the Unites States needs to be changed to allow official tourism. Â Otherwise, it’s just the people’s cash financing the Castro regime. Â Of course, we all assume that is what Obama wants.
When it comes to diplomacy and the “weakness” demonstrated by the regime Occupying the Oval Office, it’s more like a very slow surrender to the rest of the world with birds flipped at anyone who dares to object. Â Call it foreign policy by prisoner exchange. Â (Thanks, Brian Hughes of the Washington Examiner.) Â We get humanitarian hostages, uh, prisoners back and the world gets its most dangerous terrorists back on the streets. Â That’s not weakness. Â That’s giving up. Â Laying down and playing dead. Â Like a dog who’s in trouble with its master. Â And it’s being done in spite of American law. Â (Again.)
To be honest, eventually, we Americans did always want normal relations with Cuba. Â They make the best cigars and have fantabulous rum (among other reasons). Â But the regime that took over after the revolution fifty years ago was communist. Â Still is. Â And communism is not about the inherent freedom of humanity, but its enslavement. Â That we should not do business with lest we signal a legitimacy from a human rights perspective that does not exist.
That is why the embargoes were put into place. Â And that is why anger in many quarters met Obama’s announcement. Â It is all well and good to extend olive branches, but when it comes down to it, do we stand for freedom and human rights, or doing business with communist regimes without getting anything other than tourists bringing goods into the country? Â The answer to that question should shame the Obama people. Â Too bad it won’t.
Author note: Senator Marco Rubio, a descendant of Cuban immigrants and fellow Catholic somewhat called out Pope Francis on the touted involvement of the Vatican in the entire scenario. Â Rubio said he would â€œask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy.â€ Â Thank you, Senator. Â His Holiness would do well with a history refresher.Â