Ian Vasquez on the Prospects for a Free Cuba

Cuban dissidents and political prisoners have waited a long time for meaningful reforms in their country – and the wait isn’t over. Even since 2006, when Fidel “El Libertador” Castro ceded power to his younger brother Raul, the government has continued to oppress its people and shackle its economy. Despite rumors of a sunny socialist utopia 90 miles from the Florida Keys, the reality is that Cuba remains mired in poverty and human rights abuses at the hands of its authoritarian leaders. However, there have been doubts about the effectiveness of the United States’ attempts to undermine the Castro regime, especially when it comes to the long-standing trade embargo. Such policies may just provide ammunition to the Cuban government in the form of an external excuse for the widespread misery brought about by central planning. Ian Vasquez claims that freer travel and (eventually) trade with the U.S. may not defeat the communist regime, but they will help advocates for a free Cuba by growing the small, “informal” private sector in an economy mostly run by and for the state. Vasquez is director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. He joins the show against the backdrop of President Obama’s recent visit to Cuba to discuss the changes that are taking place. Bob looks to uncover a realistic view of the prospects for a free Cuba, and find out how Americans can help support a thriving civil society, as philanthropists, consumers and tourists.