HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s current president has referred more than once to the country’s interest in talks with the US government (clarifying that this must be on the basis of absolute respect for self-determination – which I agree with, by the way).
This is occurring at the same time that most of his Latin American counterparts are speaking to their northern neighbor in an increasingly hostile tone.
Something of significance for Cubans and news to the world took place at the late February meeting of Cuba’s National Assembly, where Raul Castro was re-elected president.
He announced constitutional changes whereby term limits would not exceed two five-year periods and a maximum age limit would be established. He also made it known that this would be his final term in office.
This contrasts to referendums in Venezuela and other countries in the region where unlimited presidential reelections are increasingly advocated. These are modeled on mandates centering on the current leaders.
Recently the Cuban president met with several US lawmakers (mostly Democrats, but among them was one Republican). This news was given without many details and very few photos. In fact, the reason for the meeting wasn’t made public in Cuba.
Despite all this, I have no reason to think the basic character of the Cuban government is changing. What I do believe, and what’s tangible, is that its foreign policy has been changing to a certain degree.
Independent of the US government having been historically interventionist — with colonial desires that have often been inhuman and genocidal for many peoples of the world — nothing can be built on a foundation of bitterness.
These are times when we must turn to dialogue (without conceding our dignity or determination).
Instead, we must embrace the principle of respect for different ideologies, political projects and social systems. It’s time that nations establish relations of respect.
At this point in the game, I don’t think a single citizen exists in Cuba advocating our annexation to the US (though this is a tacit element of the staunchest opposition).
Nor do I don’t think the Cuban government is acquiescing to our historic enemy. I think we’re going through a stage of maturation. Gone is the euphoria of the first decades of the revolution.
While still the same people, but without those hair-raising speeches, the model has changed a little.