The political hacks are saying that this normalization of Cuba relations initiative by President Obama is a "poor trade" and they refer to the prisoner release.
The prisoner release is a token. Deals of a political nature have tokens to present to domestic constituencies. Do we think that Raul Castro gives a shit about his spy that is released? I doubt it. There are other considerations.
Take a look at a map of the world and pay attention to the Caribbean basin. Cuba sits at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. Now think of a Keystone pipeline bringing vast amounts of cheap energy from the northern U.S. and Canada. The supplier of that energy will gain tremendous influence being the supplier of energy to the region. Venezuela sits at the other end of that Carribean crescent. We know we can undercut them on price. Influence.
Secondarily, I think that once the Cuban people have a chance at prosperity and jobs that will come from an influx of US dollars into Cuba combined with modern technology and social media they will demand their rights as human beings. Socialism may persist in Cuba, but Communism and repression will fail. Straight Capitalism is doomed. Straight Communism has failed. A combination of socialism and capitalism is a vigorous hybrid.
Furthermore. When I have to make an important decision with a moral dimension I often ask myself, "What would Jesus do?". The answer in this case is most definitly not to continue a 50 year old embargo that has placed millions in poverty. It is time to reach out with peace and prosperity.
Let us think strategically and restrain our short sighted and tribal obsession with political conflict. For a change. I don't think the "hope and change" thing is dead. It just got chopped up with a hatchet job. Let us be progressive.