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      Wednesday
      Nov132013

      Speculation on Cuba 

      When I look up from my immersion in writing this book on Cuba and the US, all the signs point to the second scenario described below, a goal of normalization by the end of President Barack Obama's second term.

      Of course the path may be blocked by sudden events or the loss of time. The obstacles in Congress are hard to overcome. But I do not agree with the view that because Obama associates with very distasteful right-wingers in Miami, he plans to keep the present policies of non-recognition and the embargo. In reading Obama, and other presidents, one understands that he uses the most conservative arguments and employs the most conservative political coalitions to arrive at progressive outcomes. Too slowly, too cautiously, and ignoring the Left which often creates the political space that allows him to act. 

      He already has shown that Florida Cubans no longer enjoy a monopoly lock on that state's electoral votes. We know that New Jersey senator, Robert Menendez, is bluffing when he says the Jersey City Cubans are the key to Democratic success in that state. Obama needs Menendez on immigration reform but then can push him on Cuba, now that enough Cuban-Americans favor open travel, remittances, etc.

      Obama wants to say that ending the embargo and recognizing Cuba are new and "updated" ways to win the Cuban people to free markets and democracy. Unlike past presidents, Obama is smart enough to understand that regime change is unacceptable and almost certainly undoable. But the Castro brothers are transitioning out of power anyway, leaving an opening for respectful reappraisal and recognition.

      The two states already are accommodating each other in multiple ways, without drama or over-reaction from the right. Bilateral agreements are being negotiated on immigration, drug addiction, postal service, etc, and the Cubans are carefully opening their economy to capitalist-oriented reforms, without yielding on the role of the state and key social programs.

      The key obstacles ahead for Obama are:

       

      • Taking Cuba off the terrorism list;
      • Resolving the cases of the Cuban Four and Allen Gross, and;
      • More unilateral easing of US restrictions. 

      Important allies are all lined up: the UN, Latin America, the Catholic Church, etc. Because Obama wants the Cubans here "on board", he will find a way to claim that normalization was their own doing. Secret talks at "the highest level" already are in place, awaiting further signals. Achieving this long-cherished goal of the US Left is really doable.

       

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      Reader Comments (2)

      Last week I was talking with my husband about the possibility that at the end on his term, President Obama,will decide to lift the embargo and put the end to this infamous policy
      Finally,somebody is telling how it is. After...how many years? I lost count! Is time to change the policy,and start living in the XXI century. As a Cuban American,I feel is time for change.i I don't think the American Government has the morale to talk about foreign policy,human right and democracy when judging other countries policy. Yes, the reason I living in USA is because my political position in my country of birth,Cuba,but that doesn't make me uncapable to see the reality.

      November 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMagnolia de Armas

      I totally agree that it's time for the U.S. to change its aggressive policies towards Cuba. But I also believe that it should be with no pre-conditions; let the Cuban people chart their own course and in their own way. I'm happy to see the reforms that are taking place in Cuba that allow Cubans to start their own small businesses, but I hope they also realize the importance of many of the revolution's accomplishments in the areas of health and education and that they do not sacrifice these.

      November 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElaine
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