It is long past time.
Cuba poses no threat whatsoever to the United States. The embargo, once defensible during the Cold War years, lost any real purpose once the Soviet Union disappeared, which was almost a quarter century ago. It certainly has had no visible effect on the Castro regime, its supposed target. Instead, by insulating Cuba from changes occurring in the outside world and trapping it in amber, the embargo has probably contributed to the regime’s longevity.
We now have normalized relations with and trade with Russia, China, Venezuela, Vietnam and other countries, and over time our refusal to do the same with a small island nation a few miles off the Florida coast became an act of sheer spite and stubbornness. Even much of the Cuban-American exile community in Florida has come to accept that the embargo has outlived its justification.
While Obama will apparently announce a major relaxation of travel and economic restrictions today, as well as opening nation-to-nation talks, a complete end to the embargo will have to be approved by Congress. Cuba is not North Korea; it is not Iran. I’m sure that we’ll hear a few pro forma squawks of outrage from the American right, just for drill, but really, the time has come.
It should have come a long time ago.