While Fidel Castro hasn't met his end much earlier than I expected, I'm guessing the end is nigh and its about time that the US starts preparing for this day. Now while the White House, State, Defense and the NSC have drawn up contingency plans of offering financial, political and security assistance to Cuba once the Castro regime ceases to exists, it tends to be more fluff and diplo-talk and fails to really uplift the Cuban people from the 47 years of Castro's Marxist economics. Thankfully Deroy Murdock, a senior fellow of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, has an excellent column which lays out four point libertarian/free market policy on what the US can do upon the death of Castro which will "cause a rising tide to raise all boats" and endear the Cuban people to the US and look away from the likes of Hugo Chavez. While I'm pretty much a big proponent of all of Murdock's points, I have to say I'm pretty much a big fan of the following two points:
Second, Washington should transform Cuba into a giant free-trade zone. The fastest way to bring Cuba out of the 1950s and into the 2000s is to let Cubans produce whatever they wish and export it to America without the hindrance of tariffs, quotas, and other ridiculous obstructions. In exchange, Americans should be free to sell Cubans whatever they care to purchase without worrying about Havana imposing trade barriers.The only problem with implementing such a policy is the powerful forces of Big Government(Which includes labor unions and the farm lobby/protectionists of this nation) and an even bigger stumbling block which is Castro's persitant will to stay on this Earth and remain head of the roost. Here's hoping for the Cuban people that Castro never makes it to 140 like his doctors predicted months ago.
During a 1993 fact-finding mission to Cuba, I was impressed with the Cuban people's energy and ingenuity. Cars that were built during the Eisenhower era still ran because Cubans simply invented auto parts out of tin cans and rubber tubing to substitute those that were manufactured while Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz appeared in brand-new episodes of II Love Lucy. Given unfettered access to America's market, Cubans would develop a lifeline that soon would nurture them to financial well-being.
Third, as part of this economic aperture, the U.S. should terminate the absurd and destructive federal sugar program. Government-fixed prices and restrictions on foreign sugar supplies hit Americans in their wallets. As Timothy P. Carney explains in his new book, The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money, "From 1998 until 2004, American consumers have paid an average of about $1.8 billion more for food annually because of these import quotas." Such restrictions also export poverty to tropical nations that could benefit by selling sugar to American buyers.
Given its sultry climate and proximity to the U.S., Cuba could resume the sugar shipments that Ike Eisenhower halted in 1960. Becoming America's sugar bowl would provide Cuba with a steady stream of cash while obviating the federal subsidies that encourage sugar farming in Florida. Absent such outrageous payments, the Everglades and its wildlife would stop choking on pesticides and other chemicals that flow in from taxpayer-supported sugar plantations.