Saturday, July 25, 2015

Effects of Our Cuba Policy

Effects of Our Cuba Policy
JULY 24, 2015

To the Editor:

In "The New Era Begins With Cuba" (editorial, July 21), you acknowledge:
"It would be naïve to expect that the Cuban government, a dynastic
police state, will take big steps in the near future to liberalize its
centrally planned economy, encourage private enterprise or embrace
pluralistic political reforms. In fact, in the face of potentially
destabilizing change and high expectations at home, Cuban officials may
be tempted to tighten state controls in the short term."

That, in fact, is what has been occurring since President Obama's Dec.
17announcement of a policy change, and, given the regime's totalitarian
proclivity and apparatus, the state's repression of dissidents and civil
society, and its control over the lion's share of the island's economy,
it is likely to continue into the distant future.

As an academic and policy consultant specializing in Cuba, I came to the
conclusion several years ago that the United States faced a moral and
political conundrum in its Cuba policy: how to help the Cuban people
without helping the Castro regime. Unfortunately, the president's new
engagement policy now makes the United States complicit in propping up
the regime both economically and politically, while leaving Cuban
society even more isolated and defenseless vis-à-vis the all-powerful,
coercive state.

If so, we are "back to the future," whereby Washington coddled or looked
the other way toward the Somoza, Trujillo and Batista dictatorships in
Latin America — only in the case of today's Cuba, the longevity of the
regime may now be assured.


Malibu, Calif.

The writer is professor emeritus of political science at U.C.L.A.

Source: Effects of Our Cuba Policy - The New York Times -

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