Like the 1950s Chevys and Fords plying the roads in Cuba, policies the United States imposed decades ago to isolate the island nation are relics. But while there is utility and joy in keeping classic cars running, its time to send these policies to the scrap heap.
President Barack Obama's announcement Tuesday that he will take Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism set naysayers grumbling. His bid for Congress to lift the 1961 economic embargo also met predictable opposition. But both things ought to happen, and Obama's push to see that they do makes this an opportune time for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's trip there next week.
Cuba has been on the terrorism list since 1982 for providing safe haven for Basque separatists, Colombian insurgents and some fugitives from the United States. But the insurgencies in Spain and Colombia have faded away. And Cuba never provided weapons or training for any terrorist groups, according to the U.S. Department of State. It's time to remove it from the list that includes Syria, Sudan and Iran.
The embargo should go too. It's a Cold War artifact. It never moved Cuba's Communist regime to embrace democracy and capitalism. We should see if engagement can succeed where isolation failed.
Cuomo will test the waters on Monday and Tuesday with a trade mission. The quick turnaround suggests it will be just a meet-and-greet. But he's right to open the door for New York companies in banking and finance, building materials, agriculture and technology. New York has history with Cuba. Fidel Castro honeymooned in New York City in 1948. And before its Communist revolution, Cuba was a popular destination for New Yorkers seeking rest and relaxation.
It's time to go for a better relationship with Cuba.