Texas Gov. Greg Abbott could have responded differently to President Obama’s decision to restore normal relations with Cuba.
The governor could have dug in his heels and condemned the move — as many of his fellow Republicans have done — as a sop to a repressive dictatorship that has a horrible human rights record.
Instead, he chose the more pragmatic approach. He sees the move as a potentially huge boon to Texas business and industry, which is why he’s leading a large trade delegation today to the island nation.
Abbott is no dummy. He believes that Cuba presents Texas with a growing market for state-produced goods and commodities, which is why he has decided to hang his partisan hat on the rack.
A Texas A&M University study says that increased trade between Texas and Cuba could produce as much as a $43 billion total impact on the Texas economy and more than 250 permanent jobs.
The long history of frostiness between the United States and Cuba is well known. The communist government has been deemed an “enemy” of the United States. There once was a missile crisis on the island that brought the world close to a world war.
The Soviet Union has disintegrated. Cuba remains one of the few Marxist nations on Earth.
However, Cuba no longer presents a direct threat to the United States.
Instead, it presents opportunities for the U.S. government and private businesses — not to mention individual state governments and businesses — to exploit.
Go for it, Gov. Abbott.