When President Barack Obama travels to Cuba later this month, more will be at stake than just the wisdom of his executive actions to loosen the U.S. embargo in December 2014. In his first inaugural address, Obama had pledged a change from the Manichean, black-or-white foreign policy of George W. Bush, promising to extend a hand to regimes that were willing to “unclench their fist.” His opening to Cuba — if it works — could be one of this policy’s most convincing successes.
But there’s a problem. In the 14 months since Obama’s executive actions permitted greater U.S. personal and commercial contact with the socialist island, the autocratic Cuban regime has failed to meaningfully improve its human rights record.
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