Relations with Cuba should be two-way street

Both Americans and Cubans would benefit from normalization of relations between our two countries, President Barack Obama vowed two years ago.

Then, despite concerns expressed by many Democrats and Republicans in Congress, Obama proceeded to lift many of the diplomatic, economic and social barriers that had been in place for more than half a century.

They were erected after Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba, nationalized assets owned by many American individuals and businesses, and launched an ongoing campaign of repression against his own people.

Normalizing relations would help Cubans by improving their economy and opening channels of commerce between our two countries, the president said.

Well, that might occur — if the Cuban government would allow it.

It is not doing so, as The Associated Press reported this week. Except for a few airlines, hotel companies and other tourism-related businesses, Havana continues to keep U.S. businesses from opening up shop in Cuba.

That country’s economy remains under tight government control, with the communist rulers still determined to limit free enterprise.

It may well be too late to close the Pandora’s Box opened by Obama. Still, Cuba should not be permitted to cherry-pick what U.S. businesses it will permit, while capitalizing on tourism by Americans and markets for Cuban goods in this country. The newly-opened street cannot be limited to one-way traffic.