[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/14/cuba.travel.obama.castro/art.obama.today.afp.gi.jpg caption="The changes in Cuban policy was unveiled before President Obama's trip to the Summit of the Americas."]
Roland S. Martin
It is amazing to watch politicians and activists try as hard as they can to rip into Fidel Castro and Cuba with the fury of a hurricane, yet sound like a whimpering dog when you bring up China and America's absolute double standard when dealing with that communist country.
When President Obama lifted travel restrictions on the country for Cuban-Americans this week, and eased rules on allowing money and gifts to be sent back to the country, the ardent Castro haters were up in arms, calling it a horrible decision.
They want to see the 47-year-old embargo continue against the island, just 90 miles off the Florida coast, while a growing chorus of Democrats and Republicans say it hasn't worked, hasn't driven the Castro regime from power, and should be ended as we seek other means to get Cuba to move toward democracy.
Those who still favor the embargo - which has survived due to the clout of the Cuban-American community in the politically potent state of Florida - say that we shouldn't bend to a communist nation that imprisons voices of dissent and is a major human rights violator, doesn't allow the freedoms we are accustomed to in America, and is run by a dictator.
That's how they describe Cuba, but if you ask the Dalai Lama, he'll say that description fits China as well. But our politicians, and even media commentators on the left and the right, aren't willing to be as vicious in ripping China.
The Miami Herald
Considering the hoopla that preceded it, President Barack Obama's decision to relax the rules governing travel and cash transfers to Cuba might seem to some like a daring new policy initiatIve - but it isn't. Mr. Obama is making a marginal change in U.S. policy to signal that he is open to fundamental revision, but only if the Cuban government reciprocates - and that has always been the real stumbling block.
Mr. Obama's action is a commendable step, to be sure, but it needs to be put in perspective. In removing travel and gift restrictions for Cuban Americans, the president is reverting to rules that prevailed before a change imposed by President Bill Clinton. That came after the Cuban Air Force, in a cowardly act, shot down two unarmed Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996, killing four innocent men. President George W. Bush tightened the restrictions after Fidel Castro cracked down on dissidents in 2003, sending scores into prisons where most still remain.
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