Saturday, June 27, 2015

Access to International Banks: Cuba’s True Objective in These Negotiations

Access to International Banks: Cuba's True Objective in These
Negotiations / Juan Juan Almeida
Posted on June 24, 2015

Juan Juan Almeida, 25 May 2015– For many, it was a surprise that the
United States and Cuba should conclude its new round of negotiations
without achieving the expected agreement, the reopening of new
embassies–more so when both delegations described the recently concluded
meeting as "respectful, professional, and highly productive."

Thus does the Island's government operate; it maneuvers with painstaking
craftiness any process that entails sociopolitical transcendence for the

I hope (although at times I doubt it) that the US State Department and
US authorities involved in these proceedings clearly understand that not
Josefina Vidal–member of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist
Party and director for the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Relations director
for relations with the United States–nor José Ramón Cabañas, chief of
the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, nor any other member of the
Cuban delegation, have decision-making authority. They are simply
employees who have been given precise instructions: explore the actions
and reactions of their counterparts, buy time, maximize media coverage
(which they easily do because all media around the world are covering
the big story), and show toughness.

For the Cuban government–sorry, for the 7 or 8 individuals who today
comprise the center of power–reestablishing relations with the US is
simply the "rice" in the chicken-and-rice pot. The compass of this
process–the "chicken" of this meal–is directed towards two goals:
removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and press
for the end of the "Embargo." All the rest is just part of the same
theater showcasing well-rehearsed acting.

It is not hard to understand that to remove Cuba from that list will
unleash an immediate effect on the banking institutions, which will
cease to view the largest of the Antilles through the "anti-terrorist
lens" and, concurrently, erase the shock of receiving a sanction for
doing business with Cuba.

I cannot state with certainty that as of today our country conforms to
the definition of a state that sponsors or supports terrorism. Although
I have heard Fidel and Raúl denounce terrorist acts such as that visited
on Charlie Hebdo; and a high ranking Cuban military officer describe
how a representative of these terrorist groups lives a comfortable and
relaxed life, very near to the residence of the Spanish ambassador; and
a good friend recount an amusing anecdote in which one day, through no
fault of his own, he found himself turned into a gift to the Middle
East, where he was presented to a group of Islamic leaders with
hyper-radical tendencies who, through an interpreter, wanted to know
personal stories about his father who, even in death, continues to be an
icon of history, hysteria and schizophrenia.

The end of the Embargo will open to the country the doors to credit and
funding and, with them, the real possibility of buying and exporting
weapons, services, information, medical personnel, medicines, or any
other product–harmful or not to world peace.

I have no doubt that Cuba will emerge from this controversy in a ready
mode, will reestablish its relations with the US, and, if the wind
continues to blow in the same direction, the Embargo will be lifted. Is
this right? I do not believe so, but I learned to be pragmatic because,
as my grandmother used to say after lighting up the same cigar butt for
the fourth time, "In this world there is no justice, God forgives everyone."

Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

Source: Access to International Banks: Cuba's True Objective in These
Negotiations / Juan Juan Almeida | Translating Cuba -

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