Monday, June 25, 2007

Negotiate with Cuba?

Brigadier General Rafael del Pino, Cuba’s highest-ranking military defector who flew a Cessna to the United States with this wife, son, and daughter in 1987, issues an interesting call for U.S.-Cuba negotiations in today’s El Nuevo Herald.

The general, who has appeared regularly on Radio Marti, writes with military pragmatism. He notes that in spite of military conflicts with Vietnam, China (in Korea), and Iraq’s Sunni insurgents that have killed American soldiers, the United States negotiates with all three. He thus dismisses the idea advanced by the Administration and many in the Cuban opposition – in Cuba and in Miami – that the Cuban government should negotiate with its domestic opponents, and Washington has nothing to negotiate with Havana.

Standing up for Cuban sovereignty, del Pino argues that Cuba’s democratization is a matter for Cubans to resolve among themselves, without the involvement of Americans or anyone else.

He points out that the conditions advanced by the Reagan Administration for a normalization of relations – repatriation of “Mariel excludables,” withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola, an end to support for FMLN guerrillas in El Salvador, and an end to Cuban-Soviet ties – have been met.

Del Pino argues that for a long time, a faction in Cuba, “made up mainly of military officers involved in the economy and business, has proposed liberalizing the retail and service sectors.” He then proposes that if such a liberalization were to take place, the United States could allow Cuban Americans to do business in that sector. A change in Cuba’s investment law could allow the United States to permit investment by Americans in general, and release of all Cuban prisoners of conscience would allow Washington to drop travel restrictions on all Americans.

These initiatives would put the “ball in Cuba’s court,” the general argues, they would encourage wealth-generating activities in Cuba, they would give Cubans reason to stay in Cuba, and they would cause Cubans to stop paying $10,000 per person to alien smugglers to bring relatives to America.

“One has to start somewhere,” de Pino says. “Those over there don’t want to die in misery and those over here don’t want to end up with their names on a stone in Woodlawn Park.”

More on General del Pino: a 1997 article on his political activity, and a 2004 interview that proposes similar ideas on negotiations with Cuba.

[News agency photo]

2 comments: said...

Great article and very refreshing.

Fantomas said...

Con los comunistas cubanos no se negocia

ellos no sabe lo que significa negociar..

ah pero si conocen la palabra BLACKMAIL...CHANTAGE SON EXPERTS DE 48 AÑOS