On the other hand, The United States, and particularly Obama, are keeping to their original line of seeking rapprochement with the Cuban civil society by making key points more flexible related to that rapprochement (remittances, travels, packages, academic and from people to people interchanges, expanding flights and ports, financial support for the alleged dissidents); while they keep up the blockade and put pressure on those elements that could cause damage the Cuban economy.
President Obama always tries not to repeat the same mistakes as his predecessor-although his policy is actually aimed at keeping the same goal: a change of regime- and he does it in a way that proves Bush’s policy towards Cuba was counterproductive.
Nevertheless, the context in which Obama is trying to continue his policy has changed and continues to change. I would say that it has worsened; compared to the time Bush ended it.
1-The internal economic crisis in the U.S. has not yet been solved and it seems to be very difficult to fulfill it.
2- There is no solution in sight of the end of the war in Afghanistan, nor political and economic stability in Iraq.
3-Conflicts in Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria, among others, have complicated the political context in that region, a matter which the United States can not ignore.
4-The U.S. plans to keep the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran in check do not show tangible results.
5-They have not got Israel to accept its policy of a return to the positions of 1967.
6-The current situation in Latin America and the Caribbean increasingly shows the failure of U.S. policy towards that region. The forced setback of the coup in Honduras is clearly showing that the policies of brute force do not work any more as they used to.
7-The political map of those regions is forcing the U.S. to make crucial adjustments in its policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean.
8-The economic situation in Europe is increasing the risk for the U.S. economic recovery, which can no longer count on benefit from the European economy.
Obviously, the alleged capture and killing of Bin Laden was a triumph for the president’s popularity, but when the voters go to the polls in November 2012, successes or failures will have accumulated and people will have forgotten that event, taking into account, all above, the situation of the US economy.
Obama is facing a complex situation amidst which he has changed some matters of the US policy against Cuba, which shows his interest in keeping a strategy of moving slowly in his purposes, taking advantage of the complex internal situation in Cuba currently. Such policy keeps its intention of putting pressure on the Cuban government with the blockade, while it seems that with those alleged measures taken in favor of the Cuban people his policy is just against the political leadership.
Meanwhile, Cuba has been creating -faster than usual- a scenario increasingly more favorable to face the U.S. policy.
Some factors include:
1- Changes –mainly in the economic sector- emerging to a large extent from the discussions held at the Sixth Party Congress.
2- The strategic- economic plans supported by strong allies which are willing to help Cuba’s economic development such as China, Brazil, Vietnam and Venezuela among other countries.
3-The oil strategy, which has a program in which Cuba can get benefits, even from the political point of view by moving forces within the United States that are willing to negotiate not to stay out of a business that could be very lucrative.
4- The Cuban leadership’ disposition to make deep economic changes in Cuba in order to provide more opportunities for foreign investment, initiative for private sector and self employment.
5- The clear willingness to increase popular participation in solving some of the problems affecting the country.
6- The open disposition of the government to vigorously face inefficiency, misconduct and corruption.
7- The disposition of improving the social policy through the search for better efficiency in health care, education and other social activities.
8- A process of rapid responses to the concerns and opinions of the Cuban population, mainly in matters related to the economy, has been shown.
9- A debate on the part of the population, which increasingly incorporates all those problems that can be improved in the society, has been opened. Some of them include: matters related to social equality, homosexuality, racism and discrimination, improvements in education, relations with the church, emigration relationships, the so-called political prisoners and others.
That all means that the Cuban society is gradually improving its ability to react to the problems it is suffering, spoiling thereby the possibilities of the U.S. political maneuver to turn the problems of Cuba’s domestic issues into a destabilization mechanism for the current political regime.
The intentions of US policy have been clearly shown, since they have invested large amounts of money and resources in influencing young people, the training of alternative political leadership, the training of alternative organizations, information and Internet, among other issues that have been previously stated in Collin Powell’s report and then corroborated by Condoleeza Rice.
The current situation related to the political confrontation between Cuba and the U.S. is that Obama’s policy is all the more difficult since this country is moving forward by trying to find solutions to any problems that could have made Obama’s intention to destabilize our country easier.
Obviously, the U.S. policy towards Cuba is being spoiled by obstacles for them that have acquired importance. Some of them include:
1-The debate on the policy towards Cuba in the U.S. Congress, which is gradually growing, and particularly in the so-called Cuban community.
2 – The interest on the part of a business group of Cuban-Americans to invest in Cuba.
3- The debate on freedom to travel on the part of U.S. citizens, which has forced Obama to create more flexibility for the US citizens travel to Cuba.
4- The interest in participating in oil exploration of the Cuban platform located
in the Gulf of Mexico.
5- The growing relationship of Cuba with Latin America and the Caribbean.
6 – The growing unpopularity of the US blockade against Cuba in many sectors of US society.
7- The growing interest of the U.S. academic and scientific world to establish and maintain relations with Cuba.
8- The improvement of the relationships between Cubans living in Cuba and in the United States.
Cuba, as Raul Castro has said, is fighting against its difficulties in circumstances of “last chance”, but the U.S. policy towards Cuba, is also losing its last chance in its attempt of changing the Cuban political regime.
For his remaining presidential time (2011-2012), Obama will have to focus on the battle for his reelection, in which he seems to have advantages at this moment. In addition, as head of state, Obama enjoys additional benefits by giving speeches that hit in order to adjust policy in favor of the presidential campaign.
If Cuba, as we expect, strengthens its position, especially in the economic and social sectors, reorganizes its economic model and shows some progress in those fields before the U.S. elections, a possible reelection of Obama could contribute to changes in the policy of the White House towards Cuba and the lifting of the US blockade against our country.
A translation by: Silke Paez Carr