From Robert Borosage at the Huff Post:
The embargo has helped, no doubt, to impoverish the Cuban people. It has also helped to make Castro a nationalist hero throughout Latin America and much of the world. It has done nothing for nearly five decades to advance democracy, civil liberties or capitalism in Cuba. Even its economic effects have diminished over time. It once cribbed tourism, and, once the Soviet Union went belly up, put a squeeze on oil. Now the Europeans and Canadians populate the Cuban beaches. And Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is happy to provide Cuba with the oil it needs.
Cuba is a small island, 90 miles off our shores. Its people are proud and nationalistic. They also get island fever. Their relatives across the straits let them know what they've been missing economically. There is little doubt that had the US normalized relations with Cuba, opened up trade, encouraged travel and exchanges, Cuba would have been transformed long ago. The détente that worked its magic on the Warsaw Pact countries in Eastern Europe would have been much more powerful in Cuba.
So why does McCain extol this tribute to folly? It's a good pander to the older generation of Cubans, still pining to see Castro's overthrow and to have a shot at taking back their old properties. But straight talking John McCain wouldn't adopt a goofy failed foreign policy just for political purposes, would he?
McCain's spokesperson, Nancy Pfotenhauer, tried to explain on Fox News:We can't talk with Castro or lift the embargo until democracy descends on the island, she stated, because "the worst thing we can do is prematurely capitulate (emphasis added) and give them what they want the most without anything in return, and what they want the most is legitimacy, which, by the way, all that does is completely erode the confidence and the hopes of the people in Cuba who want freedom."
Can't "prematurely capitulate" after nearly five decades of a failed policy. We can't dash the "confidence and hopes" of the "people in Cuba who want freedom" who, no doubt, are biting their finger nails, hoping against hope that, after five decades, more of the same will somehow convince Castro to install a democracy.