Thursday, May 15, 2008

CFR report on Latin America relations

A Council on Foreign Relations task force report on U.S. relations with Latin American and the Caribbean, released yesterday, calls for renewed engagement with the region centered around “four critical issues” – “poverty and inequality, public security, human mobility, and energy security.” It also focuses on “four strategic relationships,” calling for “the deepening of the United States’ relations with Mexico and Brazil, and the redefining of relations with Venezuela and Cuba.”

The report is here (pdf, 96 pages).

These are the task force’s recommendations for U.S. policy toward Cuba:

“The United States should:

• Permit freer travel to and facilitate trade with Cuba. The White House should repeal the 2004 restrictions placed on Cuban-American family travel and remittances.

• Reinstate and liberalize the thirteen categories of licensed people-to-people “purposeful travel” for other Americans, instituted by the Clinton administration in preparation for the 1998 Papal Visit to Havana.

• Hold talks on issues of mutual concern to both parties, such as migration, human smuggling, drug trafficking, public health, the future of the Guantánamo naval base, and on environmentally sustainable resource management, especially as Cuba, with a number of foreign oil companies, begins deep water exploration for potentially significant reserves.

• Work more effectively with partners in the western hemisphere and in Europe to press Cuba on its human rights record and for more democratic reform.

• Mindful of the last one hundred years of U.S.-Cuba relations, assure Cubans on the island that the United States will pursue a respectful arm’s-length relationship with a democratic Cuba.

• Repeal the 1996 Helms-Burton law, which removed most of the executive branch’s authority to eliminate economic sanctions. While moving to repeal the law, the U.S. Congress should pass legislative measures, as it has with agricultural sales, designed to liberalize trade with and travel to Cuba, while supporting opportunities to strengthen democratic institutions there.”


Anonymous said...

does the report require the Cuban government do to ANYTHING to warrant changes in US policy?

Anonymous said...

the cuban gov. has nothing to do with USA, therefore, why should we require anything from them.

On the other hand, we should change policy, for example, family travel, not b/c of cuba, but b/c one's right to travel to see dying members of family (or just a birthday party) is a GOD-GIVEN right, regardless of the regime.

Anybody who thinks that cuban-americans don't have GOD-given right to see their family members, whenever they choose is truly a facist! and doesn't beleive in Jeffersonaian america.

Mambi_Watch said...

How can you require anything of, or ask for guarantees from, the Cuban government when US-Cuba relations are so poor?

The CFR recommendations follow the principles of incentives rather than punitive measures, a policy which has clearly not achieved any significant political changes inside the Cuban leadership.

The nearby region is fortunate that US-Cuba relations has not caused massive demonstrations of violent destabilization since the end of the Cold War, and thus economic incentives are still a diplomatic tool that is worth using towards Cuba.

While the recommendations do not call for the end of the embargo (just helms-burton), they are nevertheless positive steps that can realize significant steps in improving US-Cuba relations.

The US should work towards building trust, respect and confidence with its neighbors, at the very least in honoring the principles of the Universal Declaration.

These recommendations are a great start.

I would add one more thing: Wayne Smith, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, yesterday reiterated the fact that Cuba should not be listed among state-sponsors of terrorism. This list by the US State Department targeting Cuba continues to be an obstacle to improving relations, and should be seriously re-examined.

theCardinal said...

For a total moron like Wayne Smith to be right on anything at all goes to prove that his recommendation be accepted immediately so he can go on being wrong about everything else.

As for requiring nothing of Cuba to make changes that is just flat out wrong. It is Foreign Policy 101 that there has to be give and take. I have one very simple request: That the changes promised by Raul, specifically the one of freer travel, be fulfilled. If someone has been granted a visa to travel to the US then give them the right to visit.

Don't throw the Universal Declaration at the US when Raul and bro wipe their posteriors with it. US policy towards Cuba is a mess but lets not encourage poor policy decisions and repression. Let's talk, let's reach agreements, let's loosen things up a bit but don't give up the store for nothing.