Former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar has a history of advocating really dumb ideas. But he may have topped his own stupidity by urging the Obama Administration to open talks with Cuba and ease restrictions on that island prison:
With momentum building in Congress for a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, Sen. Richard G. Lugar called on President Obama to appoint a special envoy to initiate direct talks with the island's communist government and to end U.S. opposition to Cuba's membership in the Organization of American States.
The nearly 50-year-old economic embargo against Cuba, Lugar (R-Ind.) said in a March 30 letter to Obama, puts the United States at odds with the views of the rest of Latin America, the European Union and the United Nations, and "undermines our broader security and political interests in the Western Hemisphere."
The April 17-19 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago would present a "unique opportunity for you to build a more hospitable climate to advance U.S. interests in the region through a change in our posture regarding Cuba policy," Lugar wrote.
Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is in the forefront of a broad movement advocating a new policy that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, a number of state governments and human rights groups. A bipartisan majority of Congress has repeatedly voted to ease restrictions on travel and other contact with Cuba, although the measures died after threatened presidential vetoes during the Bush administration.
The embargo is not just a political sop to a few Cuban Americans in Miami - although if you listen to the Lugars of the world, that's the only reason we are maintaining it. The Castros need the hard currency they would get from trade with the west in order to maintain their infrastructure of terror against their own people. They pay their apparatchiks in dollars so that they can shop in the precious few stores that sell western goods. Ordinary Cubans can only dream of possessing such goods since the Cuban peso which is as worthless a currency as there is on the planet, won't buy anything except the usual collection of worthless goods you can buy in any Communist country.
Until Raul and Fidel loosen their grip and allow a free press, opposition parties, and free elections, we should maintain the embargo. That's the bottom line and that's what the Lugar faction in the senate forgets.