Time is ripe to reopen trade with Cuba
It's time to put the cold war behind us.
Those of us old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis know the feeling, communist weapons only 90 miles from our shore, aimed at our homeland.
But Fidel Castro is fading into history, and his brother, Raul, apparently is taking over the country after the dictator had emergency stomach surgery.
Cuba's people are starving under communism, of course, earning an average wage of $14 a month and nursing vehicles built during the Eisenhower administration. The way they will risk their lives to try to reach Florida makes it clear how bad conditions on their home island are.
But is continuing the economic embargo the best way to help Cuba's citizens?
Clearly, it's not.
It's also inconsistent in this day of billions of dollars of trade with China, whose human rights violations are every bit as egregious, and conducted on a grand scale. Even communist Vietnam, where the cold war turned bitterly hot, is becoming a major U.S. trade partner.
Nebraska is a leader in trade with Cuba, selling $60 million in agricultural products, such as wheat, pork, beef, corn, soybeans and dry beans, over the last two years.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg in a reopened relationship with the United States. Cuba could easily become a leading vacation destination again, and countless other economic possibilities exist.
The transition of power away from Fidel Castro should provide a good excuse for reopening major trade with Cuba. Allowing American culture to flow freely into that backward nation is the surest way to defeat those who struggle to keep it in bondage.