This being election year it seems timely to turn my attention to where President Obama  versus Mitt Romney  stand on the issue of Cuba  relations, and specifically how it potentially affects you and I.
As regular readers of my blog know, President Obama has shown his support for the constitutional (and moral) right of U.S. citizens to travel freely without government interference.
To that end, he eliminated the Bush -era restrictions on travel to Cuba by Cuban-Americans , who were previously limited to one trip every three years (and then only to visit immediate nuclear family), without exception. Now they can travel to visit family on the island whenever and as often as they wish without asking for Uncle Sam’s “yay.”
And last year every U.S. citizen was guaranteed the right to visit Cuba to see and gauge things for themselves, ostensibly as “ambassadors of democracy,” when President Obama reinstated the Clinton -era “people to people”  license category for group travel.
Here’s a pertinent extract of what the Romney campaign had to say about its Cuba plank last week:
"We reject any dynastic succession of power within the Castro  family and affirm the principles codified in U.S. law as conditions for the lifting of trade, travel, and financial sanctions: the legalization of political parties, an independent media, and free and fair internationally-supervised elections."
As a report in the August 20, 2012, The Los Angeles Times  states: “Cuban Americans can relax. The 2012 Republican platform will continue the party’s hard-line rhetoric toward the Communist regime in Cuba.”
Much of the platform calls for extending, or toughening, the failed five-decades-old embargo, including giving more teeth to such boondoogles as Radio and TV Martí 
While the platform doesn’t explicitly call for reversing President Obama's travel reforms, Mitt Romney’s ten-point campaign plan for Cuba , issued on January 25, 2012, does indeed explicitly call for "Reinstating Travel & Remittance Restrictions."
Here are the relevant sections:
"Mitt Romney will adopt a clear policy toward the Cuban regime: no accommodation, no appeasement.... Unfortunately, President Obama has adopted a strategy of appeasement toward the Castro regime. He unilaterally relaxed sanctions without making any demands of the regime…. Now, increased travel and remittances to Cuba prop up a regime desperate for foreign currency." and "Mitt Romney will break sharply with President Obama’s appeasement strategy…. Mitt Romney’s policy toward Cuba will include… Reinstating Travel & Remittance Restrictions"
So there you have it!
Romney has stated he will revoke the people-to-people travel licenses and prevent Cuban-Americans from sending money to their hard-up families. All in the fantasy belief that this will hurt the Castro regime and help lead to its demise.
No consideration of stomping on U.S. citizens constitutional rights to travel. (It seems hypocritical, to say the least, that restricting freedoms of U.S. citizens somehow enhances the cause of promoting greater freedoms in Cuba.)
And no consideration that such Big Brother restrictions run counter to the Republican Party’s platform for less government intrusion in U.S. people’s lives.
Meanwhile, during a speech Romney gave on January 25, 2012, in Miami , here’s what he said while pandering to the Cuban-American crowd:
”This president has decided to give a gift, to Castro, to allow remittances to come from the United States to go into Cuba and help the economy of Cuba. He’s allowed more traveling into Cuba. Showing that olive branch if you will… If I’m President of the United States, we will return to Helms-Burton and the law, and we will not give Castro any gifts."
Part of the right-wing rallying cry against Cuba’s Communist government is a call for self-employment in Cuba, which the Raúl Castro government is now permitting, albeit in fits and starts.
How ironic then, or (again) hypocritical, that by attempting to throttle travel and tourism to Cuba, the Romney camp would deny Cuba’s budding self-employed entrepreneurs the very market they need to thrive. The self-employed sector relies on tourists and/or those Cubans with hard-currency remittances to spend. How absurd can Romney and the Republicans get?
Reason enough to vote for Obama.
Now that you’re ready to travel to Cuba, buy Moon Handbook Cuba 
For further information on Havana, buy Moon Spotlight Havana .
Learn more about Christopher P. Baker .
Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see in Cuba & Costa Rica Journal are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly
Copyright © Christopher P. Baker