Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More on del Pino and negotiations

General del Pino’s ideas about negotiations with Cuba provoked some discussion at Penultimos Dias.

One comment goes to the effect that for a negotiation to work, two parties have to be interested in making it work. True. But even though del Pino writes about negotiation, in a way he’s not really proposing a standard negotiation.

He is saying that some authorities in Cuba are interested in liberalizing some economic policies, and it would be constructive for the United States to make it known that if Cuba takes certain steps, the United States will respond in specific ways.

He outlines his first step in such a way that would not require face-to-face talks.

This is the approach taken in the Cuba Democracy Act of 1992, the famous Ley Torricelli that was worked out with and endorsed by the late Jorge Mas Canosa. The only difference is that del Pino is specific, and that 1992 law was general. It said that if Cuba liberalizes its economy or politics – without specifying how – Washington would respond in carefully calibrated ways.

Of course, Helms-Burton came along four years later, wiping out these provisions and replacing them with a checklist of all-or-nothing requirements that surely delighted the Castros, and that makes the American President a spectator in the event that Cuba starts to change.

I think General del Pino’s ideas – and other similar ideas, such as those proposed by the Cuba Study Group – are constructive, even though it’s hard for me to imagine a political scenario where a negotiation on Cuban domestic policies would take place. My view is that Cuba will change when its government is good and ready, and it will do so for internal reasons. Outside actors may have less influence than we imagine. And as we have seen, outsiders have as many chances to exercise negative influence as positive.


Mambi_Watch said...

I was listening to Radio Mambi yesterday morning, and the suggestions of DelPino were totally bashed, and his background was called into question.

The hard-liners have no tolerance for such ideas to be considered. Also, they suggest that if DelPino want to negotiate, then he should go to Cuba and do so. But, notice that they really don't talk about the specific suggestions and recommendations of DelPino. Such ideas are virtually banned on Radio Mambi.

Phil Peters said...

Thanks for your comment. I heard that on Miami radio they are saying that the release of the CIA "family jewels" material is a sign of CIA collusion with the Cuban government -- is that so?