Secretary of State John Kerry, who wrote an op-ed for the Miami Herald along with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, evoked Ronald Reagan’s timeless challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Berlin Wall in 1987, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” In reference to President Obama’s recently announced policy changes toward communist Cuba, Kerry wrote, “[T]he president’s decision will support new efforts to tear down the digital wall that isolates Cubans.”
Kerry is not the first administration official to draw the allusion. In October 2014, less than two months ago, U.S. Ambassador Ronald D. Godard of the U.S. mission to the U.N. used the same phrase, ironically enough, in justifying the continuation of the U.S.’s late policy toward Cuba as he explained the U.S. vote against a Cuban-backed resolution. Twenty-three times the United Nations has sided with Cuba and voted overwhelmingly to condemn the U.S. embargo of Cuba; as was the case last year when the same resolution was introduced, Israel alone sided with the United States in voting no.