Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cuba and the USA - Beyond Confrontation

Cuba and the USA: Beyond Confrontation
October 20, 2014
Roberto Veiga Gonzalez*

HAVANA TIMES — The normalization of relations between Cuba and the
United States has long been a thorny issue. Bilateral conflicts between
the two countries date back to the 19th century and reached a peak with
the embargo policy applied following the triumph of the revolution in 1959.

That said, following Raul Castro's appointment as head of State, the
matter has been gaining momentum (unexpectedly for some), to the point
that the strained relations between the two countries and the island's
ties to other States and a number of supra-national institutions could
be modified. It is also worth emphasizing that this could make Cuba's
domestic social structures (be these economic, civil, political or
other) more dynamic.

It's not that I am inclined to think that the improvement of our
internal and international relations ought to ultimately depend on the
sensibleness of US power sectors vis-a-vis the issue of Cuba. I believe,
on the contrary, that, regardless of the policy of any country, no
matter how powerful they are, any bloc of countries or any international
mechanism, the progress and balance of the nation should always
ultimately depend on our political maturity and ingenuity.

I am also of the opinion, however, that, without normalized relations
between Cuba and the United States, securing the internal conditions and
the atmosphere needed to consolidate ourselves as a nation in important
areas would prove burdensome. We cannot deny the history, culture,
geography and other economic, social and political realities that bind
us to the United States, for better and for worse.

In this sense, we are duty-bound to strengthen the ties that could make
a positive contribution to both societies and, on the basis of the
mutual trust this ought to afford us, we must make an effort to overcome
the negative situations that could arise, or become more intense, as a
result of power asymmetries. This could contribute to helping us
overcome the difficulties we face and set us down the road of economic
and socio-political development.

There's a broad consensus within Cuban society regarding the need to
transform the current social model in order to make it increasingly
easier to materialize the shared aspirations of the nation. The
country's current collective longings stem from a process of national
maturation rooted in the numerous achievements and frustrations it has
accumulated over history.

The generations that share the country today wish to have greater
possibilities to develop responsible forms of freedom and social
justice, greater balance in terms of the entire range of rights,
educational, cultural and spiritual efforts capable of bolstering human
virtue and solidarity within communities, an economic model aimed at
development and the common good, a heterogeneous social tapestry that is
committed to the overall development of society, an increasingly more
effective citizen's democracy and relations of peace and cooperation
with all of the world's countries.

There are, however, different ideas and proposals as to how to move
forward to attain the above, and this demands the tracing of common path
among Cubans. This process is already a reality in the nation today, but
it still lacks all of the needed facilities.

To secure these, as we all know, developing the country's
socio-political institutions is of the essence. Though some sectors find
more than enough reasons to try and destabilize this process and exclude
those sectors committed to the historical process known as the Cuban
revolution from it, it isn't difficult to see that the changes brought
about by this, though potentially positive, would not suffice in terms
of achieving greater and more plural political participation. This is
both obvious and irrefutable, as no one in their right mind provides
others with the tools needed to destroy them.

In addition, if we pay close attention to the genuine demands of those
Cubans who are in dearest need of change in the country, we see that we
cannot aspire to restoring the past or to completely and hastily
dismantling the current system. We must, rather, strive to broaden the
entire universe of human possibilities in a peaceful and gradual manner.

Therefore, if we seek to transform Cuba's current model to a more
positive arrangement, in which there are, of course, no newly excluded
sectors, but rather collective and liberating efforts based on
solidarity, we must develop the conditions that make it possible. To
achieve this, we require an intense leap forward where the economic and
social stability of the country is concerned, for this, in turn, will
reduce the potential for an internal, heart-rending political
confrontation and will gradually create – likely to the displeasure of
some at either end of the political spectrum – the conditions for a
diverse, serene and edifying political spectrum.

I have focused on this, which eminently appears to be an issue of
domestic policy, because I want to reiterate that, without the
normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, it would
be very difficult to achieve economic and social stability on the
island, conditions that could sustain a far more audacious and intense
process of reforms. The potential for pluralistic political
participation would also not be feasible while it can be argued, and
even proven that spaces for citizen participation can be utilized by
certain US power sectors, and their allies, with a view to perturbing
and irresponsibly modifying sovereign socio-political processes.

In this connection, we must express satisfaction over the island's
current reform process. Though perceived as inadequate and confused now,
these can mobilize a process sustained by a vision that can create ever
more solid forms of social justice in a continuous and unrestrained fashion.

Similarly, we must commend all efforts in the United States aimed at
arriving at a solution to these bilateral conflicts, particularly those
undertaken as of 2006, when the Cuban head of State and government
announced the country's willingness to hold talks with the US
administration and, on the basis of respect and equality, to address all
pertinent issues, with a view to easing tensions between the two states.

The movements in Cuba and the United States that support these processes
have expanded and are being coordinated by important personalities and
sectors in the two countries. This embodies a possibility and a radical
sign of hope that was long unheard of for most Cubans. It suggests that
human and political hatred, the different but identical attempts at
exclusion and vengeance, and the creation of mechanisms for
confrontation and destruction, may today be on the retreat, and that
their somber ambitions to determine the present and, most importantly,
the future of the Cuban nation, may also be vanishing.

*General Coordinator of Cuba Posible.

Source: Cuba and the USA: Beyond Confrontation - Havana Times.org -

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