Cuba Headlines

Cuba News, Breaking News, Articles and Daily Information

obama cortado.jpg

Obama promised change and has already delivered some new policies, on both
domestic and foreign policy fronts.

The presidency of Barak Obama reminds one of those chess exhibition matches
in which a grand master plays lesser players on several tables simultaneously. As in chess, international politics and diplomacy are complex, painstaking endeavors. Some games are relatively short while others are fought over a protracted period of time. Some games end with acheckmate, others conclude with a draw.

Obama promised change and has already delivered some new policies, on both
domestic and foreign policy fronts, albeit rather modest ones. Some believe he is playing on too many boards to be effective. The economy may be recovering as measured by the Gross Domestic Product, but unemployment continues to rise. A health care bill of some kind will pass, but will enough of the core principles of universal care survive the attacks from the GOP and conservative Democrats? The energy bill faces almost as fierce opposition as health care legislation. Wherever the Democrats want to go,they will meet fierce resistance and no-holds-barred tactics from the Republicans.

At some point, after dealing with two wars, the 60-year-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Darfur, and myriad other problems, it will betime for Obama to look south and notice that Latin America still exists. And a rapprochement with Latin America passes through a radical change in U.S.-Cuba policy.

A successful turn in U.S.-Cuba relations requires a major rethinking by the Obama administration. Incremental changes, while helpful, won't cut it. At this point the perceptions of the two sides are so far apart that changes on the margin will only go so far. The engagement that Obama has promised won't bear fruit unless the very premise of the past 50 years is discarded. That premise is that the United States (or its Cuban proxies) should have a say in who governs in Cuba and how they do it. And that, is an affront to Cuban sovereignty.

Small confidence building steps are helpful, but what won't work is anything brazenly calculated to produce regime change. After five decades, the U.S.government is not going to fool, bribe, seduce, or scare Cuban leaders into ulling a Gorbachev, that is into taking steps that would be politically uicidal. No one knows what would happen if the United States suddenly ecided to treat Cuba as it does China and Vietnam. Whatever does happen, it an't be as futile as what has been tried over the last 50 years. Indeed, uch a radical step could prove a tougher challenge and a bigger shock to he system than anything that has been tried to date.

Normalizing relations with the Cuban government would require extraordinary courage and audacity in the White House and in Congress. When the negotiations do take place, the United States should be aware that, for instance, when the topic of human rights violations in Cuba is brought up, Cuba will be able to respond, specially in the wake of revelations about torture of detainees in U.S. custody. Moreover, they will be able to say that the fact that a Harvard University study showed than in the United States more than 40,000 people die each year because of lack of health insurance represents a gross violation of human rights. They will be able to point out that there are more people behind bars in the United States than
in any country in the world. They will be able to say that while there is a a facto moratorium on the death penalty in Cuba, the machinery of death continues to function in the United States.

Thus a more fruitful approach than mutual accusations would focus as a start on common challenges and opportunities, such as migration, drug traffic and humanitarian catastrophes.

In the end, what needs to be clear is that Cuba is a sovereign country which does not pose an existential challenge to the system in the United States. But the reverse is not true. Since 1960, it has een the official policy of the United States to pose an existential challenge to the Cuban system. And that's the gist of the problem. It's hard to have a conversation much less a negotiation or a chess game when the
explicit purpose of one of the parties is to kill the other.

In the end, what needs to be clear is that Cuba is a sovereign country which does not pose an existential challenge to the ystem in the United States

Source:, Progreso Weekly

Related News