Here are a few comments on a University of Miami essay by Professor Jaime Suchlicki and Jason Poblete, “When Should the U.S. Change Policy Toward Cuba.”
The authors begin by discussing the confusion involved in the terms “transition” and “succession.” I thought the Administration defined the terms pretty well: “transition” meant a change in political system, “succession” a change in leadership with the system unchanged. Then the Administration confused the issue completely, giving us one more reason not to rely on our own government for analysis of what’s going on in
The authors’ real point, however, is to stand up for the all-or-nothing U.S. policy in the Helms-Burton law, which provides that only a complete change in Cuba’s political system, not partial reform, can trigger any easing of U.S. sanctions. They underscore that the law provides that “a transition government cannot include either Fidel Castro or Raul Castro.” Actually, the law goes them one better; it says that a “democratically elected government” cannot include Fidel or Raul, which is worth chewing over for a minute.
Set aside your supposition about Raul Castro’s chances in a free election in
Regarding those principles, the authors try mightily to cram the current
There’s more. They set up an old straw man, claiming that proponents of engagement with
Beneath it all, my hunch is that the authors are beginning to grapple with a scenario that may soon confront us.
No one knows whether, when, or how much Raul Castro would liberalize
What if Americans would react by saying that a degree of liberalization, even if limited, is a positive development? How would we react to a scenario where Cuban policies are changing and Cubans of all political persuasions are debating what should come next? The next question would be to ask, pragmatically, what to do? Are there any tools in
At that point, we would crash right into the big question posed by Suchlicki and Poblete. And the answer, they remind us, is dictated in our law: We would do absolutely nothing until
We would greet a scenario of new possibilities as spectators with our feet in concrete. We would make the perfect the enemy of the good, which is not a typical American approach.
In that scenario, Americans might then look for different options. The system of laws enacted in response to Fidel Castro might lose their sacrosanct quality. The Calle Ocho argument that anyone who seeks a different approach toward
That’s why an economic opening in