A commenter detected what to him appeared to be an inconsistency in my position on travel and remittances to Cuba.
It is an inconsistency I have long admitted.
Previously, I have concluded that allowing, without limits, Cubans and Cuban Americans in the United States to travel to the island and to deliver financial aid to family members is acceptable, even if the Castro dictatorship does benefit financially from the transactions. That is a compromise that despite my personal discomfort with the arrangement, I can excuse because of the humanitarian benefits.
On other dealings with the island designed to undermine the "embargo," such as it is -- for example, "people-to-people trips" disguised as vacations -- I am not forgiving. Those tour groups visiting the island are only lining the pockets of the dictatorship, with no evidence that it is changing the regime's behavior or bettering the lives of Cubans.
Which is why it was so disturbing and offensive last week when President Barack Obama used an otherwise welcome statement about Villar's death to promote and defend how he has relaxed sanctions on the Havana regime. Wilman Villar and all Cubans -- and all Americans -- deserved better from the president.
The most disappointing part about the president's statement is that it reveals an American arrogance that if we just change our behavior, that will bring about needed change in Cuba. Of course, there are things we can do to help and support those fighting for freedom in Cuba, but bankrolling their oppressors is not one.
What needs to change most in Cuba is the dictatorship. It must be destroyed.
Only then, and not with American tourists, will Cuba have a chance to be free.
Americans, from President Obama on down, need to be more consistent about that.