Cuba and the USA: Beyond Confrontation

Roberto Veiga Gonzalez*

Graphic: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — The normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States has long been a thorny issue. Bilateral conflicts between the two countries date back to the 19th century and reached a peak with the embargo policy applied following the triumph of the revolution in 1959.

That said, following Raul Castro’s appointment as head of State, the matter has been gaining momentum (unexpectedly for some), to the point that the strained relations between the two countries and the island’s ties to other States and a number of supra-national institutions could be modified. It is also worth emphasizing that this could make Cuba’s domestic social structures (be these economic, civil, political or other) more dynamic.

It’s not that I am inclined to think that the improvement of our internal and international relations ought to ultimately depend on the sensibleness of US power sectors vis-a-vis the issue of Cuba. I believe, on the contrary, that, regardless of the policy of any country, no matter how powerful they are, any bloc of countries or any international mechanism, the progress and balance of the nation should always ultimately depend on our political maturity and ingenuity.

I am also of the opinion, however, that, without normalized relations between Cuba and the United States, securing the internal conditions and the atmosphere needed to consolidate ourselves as a nation in important areas would prove burdensome. We cannot deny the history, culture, geography and other economic, social and political realities that bind us to the United States, for better and for worse.

In this sense, we are duty-bound to strengthen the ties that could make a positive contribution to both societies and, on the basis of the mutual trust this ought to afford us, we must make an effort to overcome the negative situations that could arise, or become more intense, as a result of power asymmetries. This could contribute to helping us overcome the difficulties we face and set us down the road of economic and socio-political development.

There’s a broad consensus within Cuban society regarding the need to transform the current social model in order to make it increasingly easier to materialize the shared aspirations of the nation. The country’s current collective longings stem from a process of national maturation rooted in the numerous achievements and frustrations it has accumulated over history.

The generations that share the country today wish to have greater possibilities to develop responsible forms of freedom and social justice, greater balance in terms of the entire range of rights, educational, cultural and spiritual efforts capable of bolstering human virtue and solidarity within communities, an economic model aimed at development and the common good, a heterogeneous social tapestry that is committed to the overall development of society, an increasingly more effective citizen’s democracy and relations of peace and cooperation with all of the world’s countries.

There are, however, different ideas and proposals as to how to move forward to attain the above, and this demands the tracing of common path among Cubans. This process is already a reality in the nation today, but it still lacks all of the needed facilities.

To secure these, as we all know, developing the country’s socio-political institutions is of the essence. Though some sectors find more than enough reasons to try and destabilize this process and exclude those sectors committed to the historical process known as the Cuban revolution from it, it isn’t difficult to see that the changes brought about by this, though potentially positive, would not suffice in terms of achieving greater and more plural political participation. This is both obvious and irrefutable, as no one in their right mind provides others with the tools needed to destroy them.

In addition, if we pay close attention to the genuine demands of those Cubans who are in dearest need of change in the country, we see that we cannot aspire to restoring the past or to completely and hastily dismantling the current system. We must, rather, strive to broaden the entire universe of human possibilities in a peaceful and gradual manner.

Therefore, if we seek to transform Cuba’s current model to a more positive arrangement, in which there are, of course, no newly excluded sectors, but rather collective and liberating efforts based on solidarity, we must develop the conditions that make it possible. To achieve this, we require an intense leap forward where the economic and social stability of the country is concerned, for this, in turn, will reduce the potential for an internal, heart-rending political confrontation and will gradually create – likely to the displeasure of some at either end of the political spectrum – the conditions for a diverse, serene and edifying political spectrum.

I have focused on this, which eminently appears to be an issue of domestic policy, because I want to reiterate that, without the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, it would be very difficult to achieve economic and social stability on the island, conditions that could sustain a far more audacious and intense process of reforms. The potential for pluralistic political participation would also not be feasible while it can be argued, and even proven that spaces for citizen participation can be utilized by certain US power sectors, and their allies, with a view to perturbing and irresponsibly modifying sovereign socio-political processes.

In this connection, we must express satisfaction over the island’s current reform process. Though perceived as inadequate and confused now, these can mobilize a process sustained by a vision that can create ever more solid forms of social justice in a continuous and unrestrained fashion.

Similarly, we must commend all efforts in the United States aimed at arriving at a solution to these bilateral conflicts, particularly those undertaken as of 2006, when the Cuban head of State and government announced the country’s willingness to hold talks with the US administration and, on the basis of respect and equality, to address all pertinent issues, with a view to easing tensions between the two states.

The movements in Cuba and the United States that support these processes have expanded and are being coordinated by important personalities and sectors in the two countries. This embodies a possibility and a radical sign of hope that was long unheard of for most Cubans. It suggests that human and political hatred, the different but identical attempts at exclusion and vengeance, and the creation of mechanisms for confrontation and destruction, may today be on the retreat, and that their somber ambitions to determine the present and, most importantly, the future of the Cuban nation, may also be vanishing.

*General Coordinator of Cuba Posible.



22 thoughts on “Cuba and the USA: Beyond Confrontation

  • Change will come once the Castros leave town. It’s as simple as that.

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  • As long as the Castro “govenment” does not recognize and have a dialogue with the opposition, the USA shouldnt either!

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  • We should start by removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. This designation is not justified.

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    • What is the basis of Cuba’s close diplomatic relationships with Iran and Syria, both of which are designated as state sponsors of terrorism? What is the purpose of the office opened and maintained in Havana by the Hezbollah, internationally identified as a terrorist organization?

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        • What is Cuba’s interest in Iraq?

          More likely the relationship is based on sanctions evading, money laundering, drugs and weapons. When he visited Iran, Castro declared their common interest: their mutual hatred of the US.

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          • All these things don’t have nothing to do with Cuba being a state that sponsors terrorism.

          • More likely this…more likely that. When you find something more credible than just your hateful presumptions, then please do present it. Until then, your ‘no basis in fact’ opinion is nothing more than fear mongering.

          • I admit it: I hate drug smugglers, Islamist terrorists and Marxist dictators. Guilty as charged.

    • Do you forget they were caught selling weapons to North Korea hidden under tons of sugar? and that was less than a year ago! just think of the times they haven’t been caught. With that sort of “trade” I don’t see them coming off that list any time soon…

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      • Funny you mentioned North Korea, a country that, according to Amnesty International, “is in a category of its own when it comes to human rights violations”. Yet it was removed from the list by no one other than George W. Bush, because it stopped sponsoring terrorist activities. Technically then, Cuba did not “trade” with a terrorist country. More importantly, if the US can put outrage over human rights violations in North Korea aside and remove the country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, why is it so difficult to assume the same pragmatic approach with Cuba, a country that has “maintained a public stance against terrorism and terrorist financing” and that is obviously not involved in terrorism anywhere in the world?

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  • The US/Cuba will end when all the Miami & Venice Beach “Yo-No’s” are in their respective Ataud..
    What other ‘Terrorist state’ has 500,000 passengers traveling back and forth to the USA yearly ….. If Cuba IS terrorist state how is this possible. It is time come out of the Bullrushes Moses, bring Dear Humbie with you!

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    • Iran and Syria are terrorists states as well. Yet no one believes that ALL Iranians and Syrians are terrorists. Likewise, the Cuban people are seen in a completely different light than the dictatorship which rules Cuba. Your comment is silly.

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  • Cuba minus Castros equals Cuba and USA

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  • What lacks above: a clear statement that Cuba has to become less dictatorial and more democratic. Just more “playing for time” for the regime.

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  • roberto it takes big thinkers and doers like yourself to bring cuba and the usa to some sort of sane normalcy- thank you for your efforts

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  • The article argues for “change” without actually changing anything, and “diversity” while maintaining solidarity with the existing monopoly on power.

    Roberto wrote, “Bilateral conflicts between the two countries date back to the 19th century and reached a peak with the embargo policy applied following the triumph of the revolution in 1959.”

    Surely, the imposition of the embargo was not the peak of the conflict. Relations got much worse during the Bay of Pigs invasion. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Cuban Missile crisis of October 1962, saw the deployment of Russian nuclear armed missiles in Cuba and an hysterical Fidel begging Nikita Khrushchev to start a nuclear war with the US. Surely, that must have been the worst period of US-Cuban relations. The assassination of President Kennedy in November 1963, a crime which many observers have seen evidence of Castro’s involvement, did not help matters.

    Any thought of reconciliation between Havana and Washington must begin with an honest acknowledgement of the real history of conflict and animosity between the two countries. By identifying the US embargo as the worst conflict tips the hand of the Roberto. We see that his real intent is yet another operation in the long running campaign to get the US government to lift the embargo. The Castro regime is not interested in resolving conflict with the US, but merely in having the largest impediment to the future economic survival of the regime removed.

    Roberto describes the Cuban revolution as an historical process, as if it was the natural outgrowth of the nation’s political, social and historical development. In reality, the rebellion against the dictator Batista was fought by a broad coalition of Cuban patriots who pledged restore liberal democracy and the Cuban constitution of 1940. Tragically, that triumph was snatched away from them when the usurper cancelled election and installed the Cuban Communist party in power, a monopoly which they have ruthlessly maintained to this day. The Casstro regime is an ahistorical process, a deviation from the natural development of the Cuban nation. Only when the dictatorship is consigned to the dustbin of history, will the true historical process be rejoined.

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    • Here, here!

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  • The U.S. is the leading terrorist state in the world today….. by far.
    Those not in deep denial like Moses are invited to read the evidence of this claim.
    Google: Chomsky: Official : The U.S. Is A Leading Terrorist State or go to ZNet and read today’s first article ( Oct 21) .
    N.B. : I will not respond to replies.
    The article is irrefutable.

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    • Is it always “The Bad Old USA” you sing when no response is possible on the topic dear?

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  • Blindness is not unable to see, but unwillingness to do so!

    To read and hear rehashed, old, discredited accusations against Cuba, by well read, educated people, makes me wonder, about what is fed children who may have the misfortune to be in the classroom of some of our regular posters.

    As an old Cuban who has been through these 50 harrowing years, accusing Cuba of terrorism hurts deeply. This feeling has nothing to do with politics or the Cuban government, but with plain crimes against people deemed defenseless by others.

    1.- The explosion of French freighter La Coubre, the burning down of the Encanto, the nightly burning of sugar cane with white phosphorous, the sinking of the Spanish freighter Sierra Aranzazu loaded with Christmas toys, the coast guard vessel coming from GITMO and partial destruction of the Oil Refinery and burning down the Cine Aguilera both in Santiago de Cuba.

    2.- Derailments of tens of freight and passenger trains, placing sugar and metal chips in fuel tanks of buses, trucks and heavy equipment, causing their destruction and disruption the nation transportation.

    3.- The failed auto-agression of Arroyo Blanco against GITMO in 1964, which would have allowed Guantanamo Naval Base to retaliate their attacker, by sending their tanks and bombers into Cuba, as it happened with “Remember the Maine, Remember The Gulf of Tonkin or Remember the Alamo”?

    4.- Bio-terrorism attacks with African Swine Fever 1971, Sugar Cane Roya, 1978, Tabaco Blue Moho 1979, Dengue, Hemorragic Conjuntivis in humans and Bovine Nodular Seudodermatosis in 1981 or US-AID leased airplane SR2, registration N3093M caught in flight, dusting unknown substance over Matanzas, where later their was an outbreak of Thrips Palmi against Pototato and the destruction in mid flight of Cubana Airliner outside of Barbados all 73 person on board.are a brief historical summary of actions against a “Terrorist Country”

    5.- Operation Mangoose, Northwoods and the findings of the Church Commision, speaks for itself.

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  • Estaba dificil q liberaran a los q quedaban, pero ese Fidel tiene unas luces del cará,dijo q serian liberados,empezo a guerrear,y ya los 5 son 5!!! nada mas q con eso ya tenemos pa´un fin d año suuuper feliz, y encima se avanza en las relaciones con el “vecino problematico del barrio”,jajaja me van a disculpar,pero no encuentro una forma menos grosera d decirlo,porq no encuentro una forma mas cubana pa´decirlo,q no sea copiar sin temor al derecho d autor y decirles q,”hoy es un dia d p…!!!!!!”,jajaja FELICIDADES!!!!!!!

    Reply

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