Defrosting of Icy Cuba-U.S. Relations Is Good, but There Is Much Work to Do Yet
- Submitted by: admin
- Politics and Government
- 07 / 30 / 2009
Neither country has benefited from the bitter rancor that has marked this decade. U.S. efforts to prod regime-change fervor in Cuba were quickly met with a harsh, self-defeating reaction from the government that only served to thwart needed internal reforms.
Fortunately, the pendulum is swinging back toward a more functional plane.
Not only have the antagonistic billboards been cast aside, but the two governments resumed immigration talks earlier this month. The Obama administration has also made public ongoing military cooperation near the Guantanamo base. And in his July 26 speech, Cuban leader Raul Castro avoided the scorching anti-Washington rhetoric that has marked such discourses in the past.
That said, removing billboards and discussing immigration are no more than signs of thawing along the sharp, icy edges of U.S.-Cuba diplomacy. We've seen these types of symbolic de-icing in the past, only to see them followed by another deep freeze.
Bigger icebreakers — such as permitting civil liberties and ending travel and trade impediments — still appear very much off the radar. Those breakthroughs are needed not just to ratify meaningful change, but to give this new cycle in U.S.-Cuba diplomacy the scope and permanence that previous thaws have lacked.
What will it take? Much more than symbolic gestures.
At some point, if the two sides are serious about a rapprochement, they will have to talk, message or communicate with each other, perhaps in an informal format free of preconditions. It's just a matter of someone stepping up to break the ice.
Fifty years is long enough. Both sides in this ongoing Cold War front have made their point — the billboards were proof of that.
BOTTOM LINE: Gestures welcome, but it's time to crack this ice block.
Source: Sun Sentinel