But after half a century with no such outcome and with now a third generation of Cuban Americans fully integrated into American society, it appears that the grandchildren of the refugees from Cuba do not have the same aspirations as their parents and grandparents.
In fact it is as though the tables have turned, and Americans with relatives in Cuba want to support their less fortunate kin both with financial aid and with personal visits.
No doubt there are still hard-liners who cling to the belief in the policies enacted at a time when Cuba, under the aegis of the Soviet Union, truly was a threat to the United States. But with time, those people are becoming a smaller and smaller minority of those with views on relations between our two countries.
The potential for the economy of Cuba is great, and there are meaningful benefits to our economy as well from an array of investment opportunities. It would have been a shame for the benefits of all that growth to have been missed because of an outdated policy.
Today the United States has cordial relations with many nations – Vietnam, Cambodia, China to mention only a few – with whom we do not agree with regard to social and government policies. That is the real world. But by opening up economic opportunity both for Cubans who have suffered for five decades and for Americans who wish to engage with them, the world – well, at least the Western Hemisphere – is a better place.
President Obama deserves credit for moving so fast on this important issue.
Patricia W. Chadwick has had more than 35 years of investment experience. She is the founder and president of Ravengate Partners LLC, a consulting firm that provides advice on financial markets and global economics.