Life, Liberty, and Property
At the Summit of America's, President Barack Obama promised "a new beginning" with Cuba. The United States has had a trade embargo placed on the small communist country for the last 47 years. This "new beginning" will include dropping the restrictions on Cuban-Americans that want to visit their family and allow for United States companies to bid for telecommunication licenses. While this is a good start, this is still not enough. The 47-year trade embargo needs to be dropped completely so that true prosperity and democracy can reach the island.
Obama's speech follows a flurry of gestures from Washington, such as dropping restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in Cuba and permitting US companies to bid for telecommunications licences. Havana has also suggested that the two nations could be prepared to end years of hostilities. Raul Castro, the Cuban president, has said his country is open to talks with Obama on "everything", including human rights, press freedom and political prisoners.
Lifting the embargo will increase trade, and protecting the value of private property is a huge component of free trade. Cuba would be forced to uphold this value of private property if they wanted to increase their prosperity. One component of democracy is the fact that individuals have the right to own property. John Locke, the man the Founders drew most of their inspiration from, believed in life, liberty, and property (property was substituted with the pursuit of happiness by Thomas Jefferson.) Lifting the embargo would create democracy in Cuba simply because it would force the government to protect private property. Barack Obama has started off well, however, he needs to continue loosening the restrictions placed on Cuba.
Thomas Jefferson ranked Locke, along with Locke’s compatriot Algernon Sidney, as the most important thinkers on liberty. Locke helped inspire Thomas Paine’s radical ideas about revolution. Locke fired up George Mason. From Locke, James Madison drew his most fundamental principles of liberty and government. Locke’s writings were part of Benjamin Franklin’s self-education, and John Adams believed that both girls and boys should learn about Locke. The French philosopher Voltaire called Locke “the man of the greatest wisdom. What he has not seen clearly, I despair of ever seeing.”