Myths About U.S. Policy Toward Cuba
Director del Instituto de Estudios Cubanos y Cubano-Americanos de la
Universidad de Miami
(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Ending the U.S. embargo of Cuba will take
away Castro’s excuses against the U.S. and about his own failures:
1) The embargo is not the cause of Cuba’s problems. A failed economic
system that does not encourage productivity and creativity is the cause.
Like Eastern European economies under communism, Cuba’s economic
disaster has to do with the system, not U.S. policy.
2) If the embargo is ended, the Castro brothers will continue to claim
that the U.S. owes Cuba $40-50 billion for the damages caused by the
embargo. If the U.S. pays Cuba the $40-50 billion, Castro will claim
damages for the U.S. occupation of Cuba (1899-1902) and on and on.
3) Most Cubans do not believe that the embargo is the cause of their
economic problems. Instead of repeating this falsehood, U.S.
policymakers should attempt to convince Cubans otherwise.
Ending the U.S. embargo will improve U.S.-Latin American relations.
1) Cuba is not the main issue dividing U.S.-Latin America. Drugs,
migration, intellectual property, and ideological differences over
Venezuela are higher on the Latin American agenda.
2) Ending the embargo unilaterally will do little to solve the above
problems and will create new ones. A large influx of U.S. tourists to
Cuba will have a dislocating effect on the economies of smaller
Caribbean islands; will contradict U.S. policy in Latin America which
has emphasized democracy and human rights for the past four decades;
will accept in Cuba a military dictatorship and condemn Cubans to many
more years of repression and misery.
3) Ending the embargo unilaterally will do little to change the Castro
brothers’ anti-Americanism and their support for Venezuela, Iran,
Russia, and for terrorist groups throughout the world. General Raul
Castro is unwilling to renounce these relationships for an uncertain
relationship with the U.S.
The periodic public statements that General Raul Castro has made about
wanting negotiations with the U.S. are politically motivated and
directed at audiences in the U.S. and Europe. In particular, Raul
believes that the “correlation of forces” are such in the U.S. 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 Cuba. In the past, both
Democratic and Republican administrations have had conversations with
Cuban officials and made serious overtures for normalization, only to be
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-for the U.S. to change its policies. The U.S., as well as
other countries, does not give away major policies without a substantial
quid pro quo. Only when Raul is willing to offer meaningful concessions
not only to the United States, but more importantly to the Cuban people,
then and only then the U.S. should change its policies.
*Jaime Suchlicki is Emilio Bacardi Moreau Distinguished Professor and
Director, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of
Miami. He is the author of Cuba: From Columbus to Castro, now in its
fifth edition; Mexico: From Montezuma to NAFTA, now in its second
edition and the recently published Breve Historia de Cuba.
Source: Myths About U.S. Policy Toward Cuba – Misceláneas de Cuba –