20 June, 2017
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Despite his constantly touted campaign slogan, your Trump seems determined to make America small again. His latest grand gesture, to undo Obama’s initiative in Cuba, leaves the door wide open for Russia and China (again!) to step in and fill the gap left by our president’s obsequious grandstanding to a tiny community of Cuban exiles in Miami.
My wife and I were in Cuba with a group of contemporary art enthusiasts in 2014. We were greeted everywhere with warmth and curiosity about America, as well as with regret that their country’s giant neighbor to the north had chosen to isolate them for so many fruitless years. We have chosen to punish an entire nation of neighbors for ideological political reasons that have little to do with their daily lives. Our choice has kept them in poverty and deprivation for no better reason than our hatred for their leader. (We have also, incidentally, deprived ourselves of their excellent cigars! Do you enjoy the occasional indulgence, Congressman, as I do?)
Certainly their regime is a repressive one. No question about that. But our policy of punitive isolation, inspired largely by that small, vociferous community of Castro-haters in Miami, has done absolutely nothing to influence that regime. By at least opening the door a crack and making it known that we were willing to renew our friendship, Obama clearly hoped for regime change from the bottom up. Tyranny, as we are beginning to find out in our own country, depends on a population deprived of reliable information and choice. With the growth of a better informed, connected, and more prosperous populace, no repressive regime could survive for long against the people’s urge for freedom.
Trump’s action is itself repressive of the Cuban people, who need encouragement and the glimmer of opportunity, not pompous lecturing. His gesture—hardly even an action— serves only to make our country look small and petulant.
Peter Clothier, Ph.D.