Don’t expect Cuba to embrace change overnight
Sunday, February 1, 2015 | 6:00 a.m. CST
BY MIAMI HERALD
Anyone who believed that a mutual decision by the United States and Cuba
to normalize diplomatic relations would produce immediate changes is
bound to be disappointed by the results of the first round of
face-to-face talks between top diplomats for the two countries.
Welcome to the world of diplomacy.
Last week’s talks in Havana, led on the U.S. side by Assistant Secretary
of State Roberta Jacobson, produced no breakthroughs on those issues
that Americans, especially Cuban Americans, care about the most —
namely, human rights.
But as Ms. Jacobson told members of the Miami Herald Editorial Board and
reporters and editors from the Herald and El Nuevo Herald, the issue was
firmly put on the table by her team and will remain a priority on the
The topic of human rights should always be a central focus of U.S.
diplomacy because it is a moral imperative. But it is of particular
importance in Cuba because Havana’s dictatorial regime cannot survive
without reliance on repression and police-state tactics.
The day that Cubans feel free to express themselves openly, enjoy the
liberty to engage in peaceful protests and otherwise act like citizens
of a free country — that day will mark the end of the communist state.
But we are a long way off from that. The best way to make progress is
for all supporters of freedom in Cuba — the exile community, Cuban
dissidents on the island and the U.S. government — to work in tandem to
achieve their cherished common goal:
– The U.S. government acts most effectively abroad when it has effective
diplomatic representation. It makes no sense for critics of the opening
toward Cuba, like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, to threaten to block the
appointment of a U.S. ambassador to Havana. Senators should closely
question the eventual nominee and exercise their prerogative to give
advice and consent on filling this crucial position.
– By the same token, U.S. lawmakers who harbor doubts about the wisdom
of the White House’s decision should demand that the Cuban government
put something substantial on the table before agreeing to drop what’s
left of the Cuban embargo. Substantive actions that loosen restrictions
on the freedom of ordinary Cubans should be the markers that guide the
way toward ending the embargo.
– The Cuban government says it’s willing to explore business deals with
U.S. telecommunications companies. The easier it is for Cubans to
communicate with the outside world and explore the Internet, the more
they will be able to slip the leash of government censorship.
Laying the groundwork for the normalization of relations is a
painstaking process. It will not produce immediate positive results, but
already there is change in the air.
Cuba’s freedom is not a question of if, but when.
Source: WHAT OTHERS SAY: Don’t expect Cuba to embrace change overnight –
Columbia Missourian –