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Editorial

Embargo Politics and the Miami Conflict

treasury-dept
The Department of the Treasury, Washington, D.C.

Until now, the US political push toward normalization has concentrated on timid cracks in the embargo: credit extension and freedom to travel for US citizens. It’s a classic example of “thinking small,” and confining the argument to a Miami sandbox occupied for the last 58 years by a shrinking handful of normalization opponents. The Obama administration’s green light for airline service to Cuba and OFAC licenses for companies like Marriott and GE were important steps forward, but in the larger context Obama still worshipped at Miami’s altar, albeit the one run by Miami 2.0, rather than the previous generation. Obama’s team viewed the emerging small businesses in Cuba – largely funded by Miami 2.0 – as a useful wedge. The State Department worked with a small circle of Washington travel agents to construct itineraries that focused on Miami 2.0’s favorite private Cuban entrepreneurs – over and over and over again. They also facilitated five year visas and travel expenses for these same entrepreneurs to visit the US and appear on panels about the burgeoning growth of private enterprise in Cuba. The story was misleading and incomplete, but it was enthusiastically received. The point was to use these entrepreneurs first as…

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