Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Policy that "Jumped the Shark"

The last two days has been total information overload with the lifting of the Cuban-American travel and remittance restrictions. I've been reading as many reports and articles as I can, and I'm beat. Which I'm sure you are too. So, I've decided to let David Rothkopf, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and writer for Foreign Policy, to sum up my thoughts.

In the video excerpt above, from a New America Foundation conference on Latin America held on Tuesday, Rothkopf uses the proper (and honest) context in which to view US-Cuba relations, namely the US embargo towards Cuba:

"When there is economic downturn, we have immigration problems, crime problems, security problems, border problems. It is self-interested of the United States to engage in the big issues of the region, just like it is self-interested for the United States to disengage from this absurd anachronism, and to take it and to move it to where it exactly belongs: next to the Fonzi's jacket in the Smithsonian Institute as an example of bad American foreign policy of the late twentieth century."

I personally believe that the policy decision by the Obama administration to lift Cuban-American travel and remittance restrictions will become the catalyst for the eventual normalization of US-Cuba relations.

So, mark April 13th, 2009 as an important date in the long (long) history of US-Cuba relations, and remember that it was the Obama administration which was brave enough to promise such a move (despite it being politically risky), and it being a small step in the right direction.

[Also, I've allowed comments for now. So, speak your mind.]


jose said...

Thank you obama! My family in habana thanks you ...my grandmother, mother and father-in law. Our family has been restored thanks to your courage in the face of those in Miami who want to continue to divide cuban family.

ever notice that those against lifting of restrictions (i.e. all the folks on babalu) don't have family in cuba. They say "i won't go there until its free". My response: you only say that b/c you don't have close or immediate family in cuba. If you did , you would be a heartless and stupid fool to let politcs trump family

Mambi_Watch said...

It certainly is very interesting how attitudes differ between Cubans who have recently immigrated to the US, Cubans who came here decades ago, and Cubans born in the US.

While is may seem easy to take a militant position on Cuba if one doesn't have family there, there are some Cubans who are still militant and also have family on the island.

The point here is that militancy somehow places the goal of "total liberation" of Cuba, above any other concern, even family. Not to say that they don't love their family, but rather that on a list of priorities, "total liberation" from the Castro government is at the top.

If for some reason a family concern obliges that they travel to Cuba, they would suffer some kind of personal dilemma.

Cuba Journal said...

I concur with your assessment. Monday was a day of truly historical proportions.

Yes, it was an overload day on new information, but I enjoyed it tremendously.

Thank You Mr. President!

Mambi_Watch said...

Cuba Journal,

Your blog has also been very helpful in providing important news articles and information.

Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

This was indeed an important development but it pained me to watch some of the reactions in many of the blogs.

There was a great deal of animosity thrown at the exile community for its historical support of the embargo and the "status-quo." While we do need to find new ways to contribute to greater freedoms in Cuba and an end to her dictatorship, we must also understand the rationale behind some of the exiles' feelings.

The main reason so many in exile back the travel ban, etc, comes out of fear. Those waiting for an end to the regime and the reunification of their families sometimes fear that any great change in the status quo - in this case effectively offering up a great deal of cash to the regime - might only lengthen the dictatorship. I think it's perfectly understandable.

The anger often exhibited by the exile community is also very understandable. This is a group that has suffered terrible repression and constantly has to deal with ignorant groups, etc, who assert they're "making it all up," that "they never suffered anything," that they are all corrupt "Batistianos who got what they had coming to them," etc, etc, etc. It's enough to make anyone vomit.

There is a great deal of polarization regarding all-things-Cuban and again, it comes with the territory.

I think we all need to realize that the regime isn't simply going to "fall apart" overnight as we'd hoped. And since it isn't simply going to fall apart, lets take this opportunity to re-embrace our loved ones back on the island, set aside a little bit of the rancor and pray together, at a common table, for a new beginning for Cuba, an end to her national nightmare, and some sort of reconciliation with our historical demons.

I don't want to see a single dime of mine go to the dictatorship - but I also don't want to go through life with this wedge between me and my loved ones back home.

Cuba will change, but that change can only come when the brothers-in-charge are out of the picture. Mother Nature will soon take care of that - the rest, is up to us - each and every one of us who is Cuban. Scrap the walls and barriers - there are no on-island Cubans. There are no Cuban exiles. There are no Cuban-Americans.

There are Cubans - and we should be damn proud of the lovely culture we have created.

Que Dios bendiga a Cuba.

Mambi_Watch said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I agree totally with your point of view.

The polarization that has emerged between groups in this protracted conflict has certainly led to hostile and juvenile behavior on both sides.

But we must go beyond that, and continue focusing on a brighter future where we no longer see each other as enemies.