HAVANA TIMES — The Republican vice presidential choice, Paul Ryan, will serve to further harden the position of the Republican candidate Mitt Romney on Cuba.
Obama will therefore adopt a stance that — without appearing weak — is closer to the position of promoting better relations with Cuba, which has increased in popularity and also produces votes.
This will be done while not abandoning his position of a double blockade: one against the government, a hard one; and another one that’s softer with respect to Cuban civil society. This is still the variation that Obama considers effective in relation to Cuba’s internal situation.
It is in this environment that I think the issue of Cuba will turn into a potential campaign issue. For Obama, nothing has changed enough in Cuba to make him give up the policy that he has followed since 2008. Above all if he is able to improve the economy at least a little.
Taking into account the other factors at play, Obama could compete very well against the Republicans in the State of Florida, where there are not just Cubans, but also Afro-Americans, hispanics, etc.
Nor should we forget that President Obama has been the president who has benefited the masses of Cuban-Americans the most with his measures that allow remittances, the sending of packages, trips and fewer restrictions of all types.
What have the Republicans done? They have made the policy toward Cuba harsher, to the point that it is no longer a viable policy for winning Florida – it’s out of style. Most Cuban-Americans want trips, the ability to send remittances and packages, and less restricted travel to Cuba. This is something the Republicans have never given to them before.
Obama will “flip the omelet” of the Republicans in Florida. These days it is not hate, recalcitrant counterrevolution, damage to Cuba, or wearing people down to get them to react against the Fidel Castro regime that will result in massive Florida votes. That stage has already faded into history.
Honestly, there’s no choice but to recognize that Obama has a better chance in Florida than the Republicans. This latter party latter would continue to operate within the framework of the old politics, while Obama — without changing Cuba policy — represents something more novel.
(*) Visit Esteban Morales’s blog (Spanish)