Miami says: Conditions will worsen in Cuba, not improve

Miami Herald: Cuban government is not interested in opening Cuba’s economy or relinquishing political and economic centralization and control.

Despite mounting economic difficulties, the Cuban government is not likely to open up Cuba’s economy or to offer meaningful concessions for normalization of relations with the United States.

The Castro brothers believe that increasing hardships will not produce an internal rebellion. Gen. Raúl Castro recently reduced the availability of food that Cubans receive through ration cards. If there was concern for popular unrest, this type of measure would have not been introduced.

Political and economic centralization and control, along with ideological rigidity, are the chosen policies to guarantee a successful succession and to prevent Cuba’s transformation into a democratic, market economy.

Elites unsure

Major concessions would mean a rejection of one of Fidel Castro’s main legacies: anti-Americanism. It may create uncertainty among the elites that govern Cuba leading to friction and factionalism. The Cuban population also could see this as an opportunity for mobilization demanding faster reforms. It could also be seen as a weakening of Cuba’s anti-American alliances with radical regimes in Latin America, Iran and Syria and Cuba’s defection from the anti-imperialist front.

U.S. recognition may mean a victory for Raúl and the legitimization of his military regime.

Yet it is a small price when compared to the uncertainties that a Cuba-U.S. relationship may produce internally and externally among Cuba’s allies.

From Cuba’s point of view, the United States has little to offer: American tourists, whom Raúl doesn’t need to survive; American investments, which he fears may subvert his highly centralized and controlled economy; and products that he can buy cheaper from other countries. The United States does not have, furthermore, the ability to provide Cuba with the petroleum that Venezuela is sending with little or no payment. Aid from Venezuela, Iran, Russia and China, furthermore, is provided with no conditions. These regimes demand little from Cuba.

`Correlation of forces’

The periodic public statements that Raúl has made about wanting negotiations with the U.S. government are politically motivated and directed at audiences in this country and Europe. In particular, Raúl believes that the ”correlation of forces” is such that Congress may lift the travel ban and end the embargo unilaterally, without Cuba having to make any concessions.

Serious overtures for negotiations are usually not issued from the plaza. They are carried out through normal diplomatic avenues open to the Cubans.

These avenues have never been closed, as evidenced by the migration accord and the anti-hijacking agreement between the U.S. and Cuban governments. In the past, both Democratic and Republican administrations have had conversations with Cuban officials and have made serious overtures for normalization, only to be rebuffed.

Real concessions

The issue is not about negotiations or talking. There has to be a willingness on the part of the Cuban leadership to offer real concessions — in the area of human rights and political and economic openings as well as cooperation on anti-terrorism and drug interdiction — in exchange for an alteration in U.S. policies. The United States does not drop major policies without a substantial quid pro quo. Only when Raúl is willing to deal — not only with the United States, but, more important, with the Cuban people — should he expect a reciprocal change in U.S. policies. – Travel to Cuba, hotel booking and car rental


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One Response to Miami says: Conditions will worsen in Cuba, not improve

  1. Pingback: Miami says: Conditions will worsen in Cuba, not improve … | Cuba today

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