A lawyer's job is defense. A lawyer's success is raising reasonable doubt. Miguel A. Olivella attempted to do just that regarding an article by Carl Leubsdorf that stated more or less that Florida politics are getting in the way of a rational policy with Cuba. His attempt falls flat as the case he is arguing is one that is impossible to make.
I can't defend the position taken by Mr. Leubsdorf completely either. His contention that by changing our policy towards Cuba would bring about a change on the island in the favor of what many here in the U.S. consider a more correct form of democracy, is based on the typical arrogant feeling of superiority of how our country is governed. I believe firmly that it is not our place to decide how another country should make its decisions. The level of frustration that so many Americans have for our government officials should in itself cause people to not try and force others into a similar situation. His point that Florida politics and the disproportionate influence that the anti-Cuba crowd has is quite valid. It is also quite obvious for all to see.
Back to Mr. Olivella. In the sentence following his opinion that Mr. Leubsdorf suffers from "naivete", he states that he will now offer what he calls his own "humble opinion", without realizing that he already has. He argues that Florida Governor Rick Scott, being a pro-business politician, is going against the majority of the business community who favors a relaxing of the embargo. This point that they believe that there is worthy business to be done on the island flies in the face of the rhetoric by the anti-Cuba crowd saying that businesses can't benefit in Cuba under the current system. Obviously this is not something that investors in the island believe and our business community believes either. He chooses to pretend that Gov. Scott is somehow guided by a moral compass which helps him come to his position supporting the embargo. I won't accuse Mr. Olivella of playing politics by his flattery of Gov. Scott on the basis of his name being on a list of possible replacements on the 1st District Court of Appeals, a decision to be made by Rick Scott. It could quite simply be a coincedence that his response to Mr. Leubsdorf happens to come at this time. Certainly he couldn't know that Mr. Leubsdorf would write his piece. As for the moral compass of the governor, I wonder if it was working when he was a businessman running a health corporation that paid record fines for alleged Medicare fraud. That idea of profiting off of health care is definitely at odds with Cuba's belief that health care is a right and profit motive has no place there.
He then, in the spirit of bipartisanship, offers Rep. Wasserman Schultz as an example of a Florida Democrat who has the same more compass for this issue as the governor. He claims that she probably sacrifices support from her own supporters because of her position in favor of the harsh embargo. I find this hard to believe since in our great democracy we are often stuck choosing the lesser of two evils and rarely is there a third option. Something about these two examples he gives lends credibility to Mr. Leubsdorf's argument. They are both Florida politicians! He says that Pesident Obama's campaign position of easing certain aspects of the embargo would have made it impossible to win Florida as he did in 2008 if Mr. Leubsdorf's argument were true. He ignores the reality that after the two terms by Bush, things in this country were so bad in so many people's lives that it is likely that anyone would have defeated the candidate from Bush's Republican party. He accuses people who don't support the failed embargo of wearing rose colored glasses. I would argue that the people who don't realize the complete failure of the embargo after a half of a century are the ones who have trouble seeing reality.
He goes on with the same old tired song sang by the right wing Cubans headquartered in Miami, that political dissent is punished and people are executed and tortured for disagreeing on the island. He pretends that much of the dissent isn't sponsored and paid for by the self'proclaimed enemies of Cuba in Washington and Miami. Certainly working with an foreign government in its attempts to overthrow one's own government is a serious crime in any country. Why should it be different in Cuba? Ignored also are the calls by the government for even more criticism and opinions by the people on the island as they evolve their system into one that is more suited for the realities of today's world. The fact that companies doing business in Cuba must go through the state doesn't present a moral obstacle for the U.S. in its dealings with the rest of the world, so again, why should it be different in Cuba? One who is guided by a moral compass surely wouldn't intentionally cause unnecessary suffering of a population in its attempt to weaken support for the regime. Certainly those guided by a moral compass wouldn't give refuge to a man who is responsible for blowing up a civilian airplane and hotels as the U.S. does with Luis Posada Carriles who has Miami politicians speaking of his heroics. He says that the Castro's have become rich, probably because a magazine once said so, although they admitted to having used an imaginary formula to come up with a supposed net worth. Calling the U.S. a trading "partner" as Mr. Olivella does is not a fitting desription of the relationship if the majority of trade is not permitted because of the embargo.
Our national interest is too noble, he claims, to "reward the regime in Cuba for acts that we accuse it of. He forgets that here in the U.S. we have sanctioned torture, and created a worldwide "paredon"(which refers to the executions of Batista's criminals in the first years of the Revolution") as we feel it is OK to execute enemies, including American citizens anywhere they may be without a trial.
So he has raised unreasonable doubts. It is quite clear to all that the only obstacle to a logical policy with Cuba is the Florida factor and cannot be the result of some imaginary "moral compass."