Cuba Will Retain Its Unique Character, According to Officials
DESTINATION & TOURISM | DAVID COGSWELL | MAY 24, 2015
Coming perhaps as a relief to those who are rushing to “see Cuba before
the Americans come,” Cuba plans to preserve its social and political
value system even as it moves toward liberalization of markets, and
friendly relations with the U.S.
Normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba will not be an
instantaneous process, and many issues will have to be carefully sorted
out, according to Cuban officials speaking on Friday in Philadelphia.
In a rare public forum, Cuban officials were given a platform to state
their points of view about the warming of relations between the two
countries. Cuban Interests Section Deputy Chief of Mission Juan
Lamigueiro and First Secretary Yanet Stable addressed The World Affairs
Council of Philadelphia, a private, non-partisan organization dedicated
to creating global citizens.
The officials laid out some of their concerns in the ongoing progression
of changing government relations between the two neighboring countries
that have been estranged for the last half century.
“We must establish diplomatic relations and banking services, and
understand that Cuba does not support international terrorism,” said
Lamigueiro. “We need to lift the embargo, discuss Guantanamo Bay and
find a solution.”
One item was checked off the list on the day of the conference itself.
On Friday the Cuban Section in Washington reported that it had finally
established banking services in the U.S. after more than a year during
which it could not find a U.S. bank that would deal with Cuba.
But the process of normalization is still in its infancy, according to
Stable. The two countries do not even have embassies in each other’s
“Opening up the embassies — which can be a long process — will help in
establishing communication between the U.S. and Cuba,” said Stable.
Lamigueiro and Stable made a number of points during the discussions,
including the following.
• Cuba structures its “own form of democracy” differently than the way
the U.S. is governed. The officials stated their belief that a majority
of Cubans support the “revolutionary political system” of Cuba, and they
stressed that the United States should not seek to impose its form of
government on Cuba.
• However, although Cuba does not plan on modeling its government and
society on that of the U.S., it has established reforms that allow more
free enterprise in Cuba and more economic exchange with the U.S. Cuba
wants to establish free tourism from the United States and hopes to
welcome as many as 10 million American tourists to Cuba every year. To
make this possible, Cuba is seeking significant U.S. foreign investment
to build the infrastructure needed for mass- scale tourism.
• As these reforms take shape and evolve, Cuba will continue protect its
“social and political values” despite economic liberalization, and will
control the nature and the extent of foreign influence during the
process of opening itself to the United States.
Source: Cuba Will Retain Its Unique Character, According to Officials |