It’s time to rethink the embargo of Cuba

By saying what he recently did about the “Cuban model” (he said it to Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic), Castro seems to have become the last person outside the North Korean regime to understand how statism suffocates society. Hence the Cuban government’s plan to shed 500,000 public employees.

This follows a few other measures, such as the denationalization of beauty parlors and barber shops — if they have no more than three chairs. With four or more, they remain government enterprises. Such is “reform” under socialism in a nation that in 1959 was, in a variety of social and economic indices, one of Latin America’s five most advanced nations, but now has an average monthly wage of about $20. Many hospital patients must bring their own sheets. Many thousands of Cuban doctors are working in Venezuela, which is supporting Cuba much as the Soviet Union did…

Today, the U.S. policy of isolating Cuba by means of economic embargoes and travel restrictions serves two Castro goals: It provides an alibi for Cuba’s social conditions, and it insulates Cuba from some of the political and cultural forces that brought down communism in Eastern Europe. The 11th president, Barack Obama, who was born more than two years after Castro seized power, might want to rethink this policy, now that even Castro is having second thoughts about fundamentals.