Can Cuba Save Us?
Raul "Weird-Photoshopped-Lobsterhands" Castro
After 49 years, Fidel Castro has finally stepped aside as leader of Cuba. His brother, Raul, will most likely take his place. Will Raul be less "dictatorish" than his older brother? By most accounts, yes... and this could be great news not only for the Cuban people and for US-Cuba relations, but also for our economy.
The U.S. economy is tanking. The dollar is so weak that some American stores are accepting Euros as payment from European travelers. It's so weak that the list of countries where Americans can travel cheaply is shorter than the list of countries that still like us. And there hasn't been an end in sight. Bush can cut taxes until the federal government belongs entirely to Saudi Arabian and Chinese U.S. savings bond holders, but it still is doing little to stop the slide.
What can? How about 11,382,820 new U.S. consumers?
An end to the U.S./Cuba trade embargo would instantly make the isolated country's population accessible to American businesses. Raul Castro recently admitted in a speech that Cuban supplies of staple products like milk are about a third of what they should be for the country's population. Is there any doubt that the Cuban people would be seeking the products of American dairy farmers if the embargo were to end? And we're not just talking about 11 million people who need food-- wouldn't some of those Cubans like iPods and Ford Tauruses? Then add in the taxes on imported Cuban cigars that could help ease some of our national debt. Not to mention how the U.S. travel industry would benefit from providing trips to a nearby tropical isle where the dollar is strong and the curiousity factor is high. Exports and travel to Cuba could provide just enough juice to power up this economy and get our dollar headed in the right direction again... just in time for a Democrat to take charge in the White House.
You can bet Bush will one day try to take credit for it. But the booming economy we could find in the near future may be owed entirely to a guy named Raul.