Those on the right and the far right who keep yammering against efforts to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba — citing Havana’s horrible human rights — ignore the conduct of another actual enemy with whom the United States actually fought a bloody war.
Vietnam’s human rights record is just as atrocious as Cuba’s. Yet we’ve had diplomatic relations with Vietnam for two decades. Moreover, the relationship has grown closer.
This is part of the argument against Cuba that doesn’t make any sense to me.
The Cubans once were part of the Soviet Union’s “evil empire.” So was Vietnam, for that matter.
Then the Soviet Union disappeared. Cuba continues to languish in poverty. Yes, it’s human rights record is abysmal. However, does Cuba pose a threat to the United States of America, the behemoth nation that sits less than 100 miles off the island’s coast? Uh, no.
Vietnam and the United States went to war in the 1960s. We sent millions of fighting men to that country to stop North Vietnam from taking over South Vietnam. The communists killed more than 50,000 Americans; we killed far more of them in the process.
The shooting stopped on April 30, 1975 when the communists rolled into Saigon, renamed the city after Ho Chi Minh and began sending South Vietnamese who were loyal to the Americans to what they called “re-education camps.”
Did that get in the way of the two former enemies becoming friends, establishing full relations? No.
Nor should it stop the United States from doing the same with Cuba.
The embassies are about to open in Washington and Havana.
Let’s stop the whining about the so-called “threat” that Cuba poses to the world’s greatest military and economic power. If we can make nice with Vietnam, then surely our extending a hand to Cuba is the right thing to do.