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I've never understood the special dislike you've reserved for Fidel. I agree he's not a good guy but compared to the Saudis, for instance, he's a sweetheart.
This idea of cultural and economic engagement, however, is the right strategy. This is a far more powerful weapon than our army in the current global culture war.

I both agree and disagree with you. Yes, we should be engaging the Cubans more. Allowing the people of that country to experience freedom will definitely help to turn things around. However, just because a country experiences more freedom doesn't mean the government is suddenly going to go all rainbows and unicorns on us. Chavez comes to mind.

And as to that decades old grudge.. I would say that Cubans in Florida have much more reason to hate the Castros than you do to hate the Bushes, but I have a feeling your bitching about the Bush family won't end any time soon. And Bush didn't force you into third world living conditions, take away your right to free speech (as is evident by the fact that you can bitch about him daily on your blog if you so desire) nor kill members of your family. Fidel, Raul, et. al. were/are responsible for tens of thousands of Cubans being killed or imprisoned over the last 50 years. I think the people they are responsible for subjugating have reason to hate them.

Of course they have a reason to hate Castro. You forgot to mention his theft of personal property as well. My point is that our policy has been held hostage by that hatred, obviously to a counter-productive result.

Florida is an important swing state, so no one wants to piss off the Cubans. It's just like ethanol and Iowa: bad policy popular among a tiny constituency that sits astride one of the main crossroads to the White House continues forever, no matter how unpopular or ineffective it is.

Kind of off topic, but when talking to an Iowa farmer about how short-sighted corn ethanol was as an energy policy he granted all my points and then asked me if I believed Middle Eastern oil was a good long term policy. He then asked if given the choice between the two, wouldn't we be better off giving the money to American farmers than the Saudis. I've stopped bitching so much about ethanol.

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