Saturday, April 12, 2008

Communism is coming to an End in Cuba

Cubans to get title to state-owned homes

April 12. 2008 Associated Press

HAVANA -- Thousands of Cubans will be able to get title to government-owned homes under regulations published Friday –A step that might lay the groundwork for broader housing reform.

My Commentary: This should be a cause for celebration; not dancing in the streets celebration but at least a high-five. Communism is ending in Cuba. The process may be slow but it is starting. Cubans are still not allowed to sell their homes to anyone but the government, but they get title, they do not lose their homes when they change jobs, and they can pass their home down to their children. Who can doubt that more change is not on the way? This will lead to wealth creation, home loans, home improvements and a Home Depot.

This change in policy allowing Cubans to own their own home came a day after another important announcement that ended the maximum wage limit in Cuba. Earlier this month, the new Cuban president opened the way for ordinary Cubans to own cell phones.

America could speed up the process of change in Cuba if we would only end our senseless embargo. The embargo at one time made sense, but that day has long ago passed. Because the embargo may have been logical when Cuba was a client state of the Soviet Union, does not mean that we should stick with that policy forever. There certainly has been no justification for our policy ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Our policy has meant that Cuba could blame all of their failings on the US embargo and the US had no opportunity to have influence in Cuba. We trade with China and Vietnam, why not Cuba? What is the logic of our current policy?

If American dollars could flow freely to Cuba, we would see concession on the part of Cuba to accommodate investors. With opportunities to make money, we would see an evolving entrepreneurial class. With more dollars to spend, Cubans would not be dependent on the government for everything, other spheres of influence would emerge and the socialist totalitarianism mold would be broken. Even if Cuba remained an authoritarian one-party state for some time, they would become Communist in name only. A little freedom leads to a demand for more freedom. Cuba is changing despite the policy of the United States. We should help accelerate the change that is taking place in Cuba by ending the embargo now.

Someone needs to tell President Bush the Cold War is over. If President Bush were a bright fellow and a statesman, he would use today’s announcement about the change in the homeownership policy in Cuba as an occasion to say that we were encouraged by the reforms occurring in Cuba and as of Monday, we were lifting the embargo and would be looking for ways to facilitate trade and friendship between our two nations.

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