Changes in Cuba

From wire reports
Posted Nov. 21, 2011, at 6:54 p.m.

The changing nature of the kinds of freedoms the Cuban government will allow its people crossed a bridge recently when Cuba’s decision to allow expanded ownership of private residences went into effect. The change was announced last March by President Raul Castro.

When announced, the changes made it clear the new law would apply only to Cuban citizens living in the country and permanent residents only.

This change regarding housing ownership is one of several differences that have come about in the years since the extremely restrictive regime started with the revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959. Some religious observances are now allowed, which wasn’t always the case.

The U.S. should continue to encourage greater freedoms for the Cuban people while our government keeps a wary eye on official Cuba because of the island nation’s history of support for international terrorism. The tense and frightening days of the Cuban missile crisis are still in this nation’s memory. As the decades have unfolded, there have been encouraging signs that there someday will be more normal relations between the U.S. and the beautiful island of Cuba, home to more than 11 million residents.

The Cuban people themselves seem genuinely friendly toward Americans and there is a surprising amount of trade allowed between the two countries despite the official trade embargo.

Due to the economic, housing and other problems in Cuba, Raul Castro may have had little choice but to push for reforms to bring the nation into the modern world. Whatever the reason, working toward expanded freedoms for the Cuban people and continued better relations between our two countries are goals worth pursuing.

Reporter-Herald, Loveland, Colo.

An atrocious idea

Before the end of 2011, Congress will vote on legislation that would essentially nationalize the permits that states issue for people to carry concealed weapons.

Lawmakers should reject this bill, which would curtail the rights of states that do not allow or that limit carry-permit reciprocity with other states.

The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, sponsored by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., was recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee by a 19-11 vote. Just one Republican, Rep. Dan Lungren of California, opposed the bill, demonstrating how deeply conservatives’ traditional reverence for states’ rights has eroded. It’s a sorry day when Republicans’ eagerness to do the bidding of the National Rifle Association causes them to ignore that the Constitution states the right to decide who should be allowed to carry concealed weapons within their boundaries.

Stearns’ bill would require states to recognize all concealed carry permits — even if the requirements for nonresident permit holders are weaker than their own.

This is an atrocious idea.

This is more than an issue of states’ rights. It’s an issue of safety. Contrary to the gun lobby’s propaganda, not all concealed carry permit holders are responsible, law-abiding citizens. Eleven police officers and at least 370 other people have been killed by concealed carry permit holders over the past four years, according to the Violence Policy Center.

The Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have a right to bear arms. But the court has also made clear that does not mean any gun of any kind in any place. Stearns’ bill would significantly increase the number of people carrying weapons, increasing the risk to ordinary citizens and police officers. That’s why law enforcement organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police oppose the measure.

The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/21/opinion/other-voices/changes-in-cuba/ printed on December 20, 2014