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Why Will The U.S. Talk To North Korea And Not Cuba?

This week president Donald Trump traveled to Singapore to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in an historic meeting, the first one since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Though the U.S. did not gain much from the talks other than a vague promise to try and denuclearize, it is still a historic event. But it really made me think about the downturn in relations with Cuba and the hypocrisy of the Republicans when it comes to dealing with brutal Communist regimes. Why is it that one of our biggest tradings partners is China, which has a horrific human rights record and oppresses, murders, and jails its people all the time and has committed genocide in places like Tibet? Now we’re talking to North Korea which is unarguably the most brutal dictatorship in the world. I would never say that the Cuban government is great, certainly it jails dissidents and represses democracy. But the question is: why will we deal with North Korea and China and not Cuba.

The answer, to me, is simple: the far right-wing Cuban-Americans in South Florida. They still hold a lot of power in a state that any president needs in order to win an election. People like Marco Rubio use the Cuba issue to get votes among the older hardliner Cuban-Americans. That’s why nothing changes and that is why elected presidents like Donald Trump bow to their wishes of taking an inflexible isolationist stance against Cuba. When you think about it, it makes no sense to isolate Cuba while dealing freely with the more brutal Communist dictatorships of China and North Korea. The other thing that fuels the South Florida Cuban-American ire is their idea of their exceptionalism. What pertains to other groups does not pertain to them. No one has suffered more than them or is more deserving of having the United States take revenge against Cuba. What about the millions of Chinese and North Koreans who have suffered and been tortured by those repressive regimes? Don’t they too deserve to be respected?

What I am saying is that ultimately we have to check our moral compass as a nation. Either we don’t deal with repressive regimes at all or we have relations with all of them. Picking and choosing which horrible autocrats we trade and negotiate with is just plain hypocrisy. Tell me I’m wrong. Justify to me why Cuba should be excluded and it is just fine to treat with China and North Korea?

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