What were we thinking?

If you didn't live through Prohibition, you'd be hard-pressed today to explain what all the fuss was about. Most of us who did not witness the Roaring '20s probably still react with some incredulity. "Beer and wine were illegal? What were we thinking?"

One of our fond hopes is that, in a few years, we will look back on the U.S. relationship with Cuba during the last half-century with similar incredulity.

We have long argued in this space that, to borrow a phrase from Tom Rockne's Forum essay last week, "It's time to move on." But we also recognize that the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba is an entrenched policy with fervent supporters. No U.S. president can unilaterally throw it over on principle alone. 

For now, the pace and progress of change remain largely dependent on events in Cuba.

For these reasons we were greatly encouraged by Cuba's announcement that it will ease the requirement that Cuban nationals obtain an exit visa before traveling abroad, effective in January.

The true impact of this change cannot be assessed until we see how it is implemented, but it is a welcome change, one long-sought by Cuban citizens and long-advocated by human rights activists.

And while this policy, by itself, will do nothing to open the island to travel by U.S. citizens, it is an opportunity for a U.S. response, an opportunity for progress.

We hope that, regardless of who occupies the White House in January, the U.S. can make the most of this opportunity.
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