Monday, January 19, 2009

Exit Bush

As President Bush leaves office, I’ll say his Cuba policy was strategic, comprehensive, and coherent.

It just didn’t fit Cuba, the real Cuba that turned out to be different than the one on which he based his policy.

As a result, the President’s assumptions – that the Cuban government was “on its last legs;” that Fidel Castro’s absence would prompt systemic change; that U.S. economic sanctions would change Cuba; that it is more important to regulate the flow of hard currency than to allow unregulated contact between Americans and Cubans; that it is against American interests for Cuba to be prosperous; that U.S. government funding is the best way to make Cuban civil society grow; that American policy somehow isolates Cuba, even as our closest allies and the rest of the world have normal relations with Havana – didn’t pan out, and the policy didn’t produce the new political order he wanted in Cuba.

In other words: Right policy, wrong country.

A landmark of the Bush policy was the 2004 transition report, a document that was of political benefit to both Bush and Castro. That report offered future aid to Cuba, but generated perceptions among many Cubans that Washington had a very heavy-handed role in mind. The reaction reminded me of President Reagan’s quip that the scariest phrase in the English language is, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

The report was fodder for several campaigns created by Cuban propagandists; one was a series of billboards (example above) that are still on display, but presumably coming down soon, as the agitation and propaganda guys go back to the drawing board.


Anonymous said...

Bush's Cuban policy a failure. US Cuban policy a failure for the past 50 years. With the exception of maybe Carter. Why is it so hard to realize that how the Americans treat Cuba is simply an extension of their policies dating back to when they took over the country in 1898. Every 'policy' the US promotes is perceived as an attempt to regain what was lost. When US treats Cuba as a sovereign nation, not a colony that got away, then maybe American policies towards Cuba will make sense. As long as America keeps telling Cuba what type of govt they Have to have, who can lead them, dictating political and economic matters, preparing to take over the country again, harboring terrorists in Miami; then US policies will always fail. But then, all US policies have ever been designed to do is harm the Cuban people. In that they've been very successful.

leftside said...

MIAMI, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Incoming U.S. President Barack Obama plans further moves to relax restrictions on contacts with Cuba than he promised during the campaign, sources say.

A unnamed senior Republican aide in Washington who recently returned from Cuba told Monday's Miami Herald that Obama is likely to go beyond his stated goals of allowing Cuban-Americans to send money without restrictions and to travel to the island as often as they want to visit relatives.
"Most likely there will not be an end to the embargo," the aide said. "But very likely there will be more than what was articulated."

Anonymous said...

"When US treats Cuba as a sovereign nation... then maybe American policies towards Cuba will make sense.... But then, all US policies have ever been designed to do is harm the Cuban people."

Right on, Anon! Cuba is just like South Africa a while back, when rude furriners DARED to tell the sovereign South African government how to manage its own affairs, as if the grateful South African masses did not worship their lawful rulers! Will these "human rights" reactionaries in the U.S. ever learn?

Anonymous said...

To both anonymous,
both of your comments fit right in with the official Granma. Maybe you both should be writing for that very "independent" newspaper.

Anonymous said...

anonymous above
because the truth is spoken you accuse those of being dupes for Granma. What's your comment then about 50 years of failed policies that do nothing but hurt the cuban people. We await your sage wisdom.