US-Cuba Relations: Different Tactics, Same Old Strategy

Elio Delgado Legón

HAVANA TIMES — A new chapter in the history of Cuba-US relations began on December 17 of last year when, at noon that day, the presidents of the two countries appeared before the world to announce a series of important decisions, the most significant of which, in my view, was that the steps needed to normalize relations between the two nations would begin to be taken.

To normalize the diplomatic relations broken by the United States in January of 1961, officials from the two countries have already begun to gather and the first meeting between delegations has been held in Havana. This will be followed by others, until the obstacles in the way of normal relations, such as the fact the Cuban consulate in Washington is not permitted to hold a US dollar bank account to conduct its operations, are eliminated. I trust such “details” will be worked out and the countries’ respective embassies will finally be opened in both Washington and Havana.

Diplomatic relations, however, are only the first step down the long road we will have to traverse to truly normalize relations between the two countries.

In the first place, as I’ve written previously, the laws that sustain the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba more than fifty years ago will have to be repealed, as measures that violate international law, the foundational charter of the Organization of American States (OAS), the UN Charter and the Constitution of the United States itself.

In his December 17 speech, however, President Obama made no mention of any of these “details.” Nor did he say that the policy towards Cuba that the United States has maintained for more than five decades has been criminal and genocidal, that, from the start, its sole objective was to bring about hunger, disease and despair among the people of Cuba, so that they would overthrow the government.

Nowhere in his speech does he make mention the thousands of people who were killed or injured by covert CIA operations approved by US administrations, nor does he speak of how the Company introduced plagues that decimated Cuba’s pig population, one of the main sources of food of the Cuban people, destroyed citrus plantations (and important export and widely consumed product), seriously affected other crops and caused the country enormous economic damage. We would also have to add the introduction of hemorrhagic dengue that caused 101 children and dozens of adults their lives.

In his speech, President Obama said: “(…) we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests.” He is very clear, in other words, that it is not that US policy is immoral and ethically unacceptable (reasons that have led the US General Assembly to condemn it almost unilaterally), but that it is outdated and has failed to advance US interests.

As I stated in a previous post, we Cubans are not and have never been enemies of the people of the United States – and the thousands of US citizens who have managed to travel to Cuba over the past 50 years, despite the blockade, can attest to that. All are surprised when they come into contact with Cuban reality and how different it is from the idea that their country’s media have hammered into them.

The new policy towards Cuba entails a change in method but it pursues the same end: to change our country’s political and economic system. They may have set aside the club to destroy our socialist revolution, but they are now using a carrot to lead astray the naïve who are lured by the siren-song of neoliberal capitalism, a system that has given conclusive signs of having failed the world over.

Perhaps we will no longer need to resort to stone trenches, but we will have to ready and efficiently use the trenches of our ideas, the ones our national hero Jose Marti once spoke of – because now is when the true battle of ideas begins.

We must be clear, however, that the changes being introduced into Cuba and those to be introduced in the future stem from the need to perfect our socialist system, to make it more prosperous and sustainable, in order to improve the life of the population, and that they do not respond to interventionist pressures from any foreign power.

9 thoughts on “US-Cuba Relations: Different Tactics, Same Old Strategy

  • Excellent article you linked…thanks for that.

  • Great comment

  • There is more to the “Scandinavian model than a mixture of private and state sectors. The Scandinavian countries also have liberal democratic systems with free elections contested by a range of political parties. The Castro regime is moving toward a version of the mixture of private small businesses & state-run corporations. But they have ruled out any political changes. The Communist Party of Cuba will maintain it’s monopoly on solicit power in Cuba.

    And that is why the Castro regime will fail. They cannot adapt, will not learn from past mistakes and hold onto a tyrannical & corrupt political system.

  • Raul has figured out he needs some private enterprise and to plug into world trade and finance. Since other countries don’t give you their goods for free, it requires that one engage in some sort of productive commerce. Only in fairy tales can countries with out a productive sector exist. Scandanavia would be a very good model for Cuba.

  • Mr. Delgado represents the mirror image of Senators Menendez and Rubio.

    Both President Castro and President Obama have chosen to move beyond old grievances with their eyes wide open on what it will take to build mutual trust and mutual respect.

    For a more balanced and hopeful Cuban perspective, read this essay by Rafael Hernandez, the editor of Temas

    John McAuliff
    Fund for Reconciliation and Development

  • Elio Delgado Legón sounds as one sided as the american politicians who oppose President Obama’s decision. Neither side takes the time to understand the other side. Elio Delgado Legón rants about the horrific crimes committed by the USA against the people of Cuba just like the american politicians like Marco Rubio rant about the murderous human rights violations committed by the Cuban Government. Yes a large part of what they claim is probably true. Both sides have done bad things which has put us in the mess we are in now. Why not lay those things aside and move forward. The reality is that most Cuban Americans want normalized relations and so do most Cuban citizens. I understand that Elio Delgado Legón has to take the party line just like Marco Rubio must take his party line, because his supporters are the old hard line Cuban Exiles that prop us his political campaign. While the only people really suffering are the 11.27 million people in Cuba and the Cubans here in the USA who have not seen their families for over 50 years.

    Lets put these issues behind us Sr. Elio Delgado Legón and Senator Marco Rubio and do what right for all the people who have been really suffering, heal the wounds and move on to a great historic reunification of two states who really love each other.

  • The U.S. gave Cuban’s that could escape the totalitarian regime a chance at freedom. When Cuba has a social and economic system that meets the people’s needs they won’t need to escape. I give credit to Raul who is moving in the right direction.

  • the socialist econmic system has failed. that’s why the soviet union fell apart and why china has turned to private enterprise. the most successful system has been in scandanavia one in which free private enterprise and state owned enterprise coexist and the state assures a strong safety net. cuba can be an economic success if it lets its people engage in private business and not restrict it. market economics works and has lifted 500 million chinese out of poverty.

  • Elio writes,”but we will have to ready and efficiently use the trenches of our ideas, the ones our national hero Jose Marti once spoke of. Like many Castro bootlickers, Elio picks and chooses what Jose Marti ideas serve his purposes and ignores the Marti quotes that conflict with his ideology. For example, Marti is quoted, “Socialist ideology, like so many others, has two main dangers. One stems from confused
    and incomplete readings of foreign texts, and? the other from the arrogance and hidden rage of those who, in order to climb up in the world, pretend to be frantic defenders of the helpless so as to have shoulders on which to stand.” Doesn’t sound like a big fan of Socialism to me.

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