Looking ahead to the U.S. election, blogger Yoani Sanchez asks whether the United States should “raise a fist or offer a hand” to Cuba. Whoever wins, she says, will encounter a changing Cuba, and the key issues to be resolved are among Cubans themselves. Her discussion of U.S. policy is a little elliptical, but when she says that the embargo-forever crowd sees Cubans on the island as “guinea pigs” in a “pressure cooker,” her views are clear enough:
With the increased cash from remittances, the small businesses that emerged from Raul Castro's reforms were able to use the money coming from the north for start-up capital and to position themselves. Meanwhile, thousands of Cuban-Americans arrived at José Martí airport every week loaded with packages, medicine and clothes to support their relatives on the island.
Those who see the Cuban situation as a pressure cooker that needs just a little more heat to explode feel defrauded by these “concessions” to Havana from the Democratic government. They are the same people who suggest that a hard line – belligerence on the diplomatic scene and economic suffocation – would deliver better results.
Sadly, however, the guinea pigs required to test the efficacy of such an experiment would be Cubans on the island, physically and socially wasting away until some point at which our civic consciousness would supposedly "wake up." As if there are not enough historical examples to show that totalitarian regimes become stronger as their economic crises deepen and international opinion turns against them.