The U.S. needs to change its Cuba policy which is outdated and counterproductive. At a time when Cuba was the ally of the Soviet Union and posed a threat to U.S. interests, the policy made sense. But that time has long since passed. Cuba now poses no threat whatever to the U.S. or to anyone else and is open to normal diplomatic dialogue. All the other states in the Western Hemisphere now have diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. Only the U.S. does not. It is now the U.S. in other words, that is isolated, not Cuba. And the other states have taken note. As the President of Brazil put it last year just before the Trinidad Summit, U.S. policy toward Cuba detracts from its credentials for leadership. Clearly, U.S. influence in Latin America is declining. Increasingly, the states to our south are organizing themselves into groups which exclude the U.S. The U.S. was opposed to Cuba’s renewed participation in the OAS. The other states went against U.S. wishes and invited Cuba to join. Cuba declined, but the point had been made. The U.S. no longer calls the shots.
U.S. policy toward Cuba is irrational and inconsistent with what it does elsewhere. We have normal diplomatic and trade relations with China, and even with Vietnam, with which we fought a bitter and bloody war, but not with Cuba. As a Latin American diplomat here in Washington put it recently: “Your treatment of Cuba suggests a certain irrationality almost bordering on psychosis; it does not inspire confidence in your leadership on a broader scale.”
By: Wayne Smith