Out of style

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In 1962, the beehive hairstyle was at its peak in popularity. Luckily, the beehive hair along with platform shoes and acid washing all went out of style. Chances are what seemed reasonable in 1962 is not so reasonable now, 45 years later. One prime example is the United States’ embargo against Cuba.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama realized 1962 policies will not solve 21st-century problems. Last week, Obama criticized the Bush Administration for making it tougher for Cuban-Americans to visit loved ones in Cuba.

According to CBSnews.com, President Bush’s 2004 additions to the embargo allow Cuban-Americans to visit the island no more than once every three years. Also, they can send only quarterly remittances of up to $300, as opposed to $3,000 a year and annual visits four years ago.

The idea of using our power to weaken a country and its people to create positive feelings toward us is the same logic President Bush uses when it comes to Iraq. We talk down on Cuba every chance we get and ban its products in the United States, yet we are surprised when the Cuban people have hostile views of Americans.

Obama wrote an op-ed piece for the Miami Herald shedding some light on the flaws of our current foreign policy toward Cuba.

“The primary means we have of encouraging positive change in Cuba today is to help the Cuban people become less dependent on the Castro regime in fundamental ways,” Obama wrote.

Obama, along with his fellow Democrats, are not calling for an end to the embargo entirely, only the restrictions of Cuban-Americans.

According to USA Today, Gov. Bill Richardson agrees with Obama’s position. Sen. Chris Dodd supports lifting all travel restrictions, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich opposes the embargo altogether.

It might be a while before Kucinich gets his way, but we must consider his reasoning. We do not trade with Cuba because of the regime and its communist government, yet our biggest trading partner has a communist government, not to mention multiple human-rights issues.

President Nixon had the foresight to open relations with China, because he saw opportunities there for the United States. Why can we not have a “Bush goes to Havana” moment?

Now is the perfect opportunity. Fidel is ailing, and if the United States starts now to gain the trust and support of the Cuban people, the transition from communism to democracy will be much easier.

Perhaps the embargo is a fashion from the ’60s that still holds water today. But opportunity is knocking at the United States’ door. We can gain an ally or keep an enemy. The question is: Will America answer the door, or will we blockade it?

Owen Kennedy is a senior in human resource management. Please send comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.

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