14ymedio, Pedro Campos, Havana, 17 December 2015 – Several articles have already appeared alluding to the first anniversary of the normalization of relations between Cuba and the USA and evaluating the results.
For some nothing has happened: nothing has changed. But diplomatic relations were restored and there have been some institutional agreements on drug control, human trafficking and postal services.
For his part, President Obama issued several resolutions which, according to various political analysts, converted the embargo into Swiss cheese, and he started to talk about the issue of compensation, while several high-level political, diplomatic and economic delegations from the United States have come to Cuba to study and propose solutions and agreements, although little or nothing has been achieved.
The Cuban government also has a proposal of its own: “There can be no normalization of relations between the two countries while the blockade and the Cuban Adjustment Act are maintained and Guantanamo Naval Base is not returned,” it says, adding, “we will not take a step back… we will not make concessions,” which in good Castilian means: the investments that we are going to allow here are those of interest to the Cuban government, under the conditions we set.
One thing has become very clear: the Obama administration’s willingness to advance the development of multilateral relations, and to cooperate in various fields with the Cuban government and society, and the unwillingness of the government in Havana to take concrete steps that do not benefit the narrow interests of the Government-State-Party, by which they do not mean those of the entire Cuban people.
The Obama administration, responding to strategic interests in the region, has demonstrated to the world, to its own people and to the Cuban people its readiness to advance in the normalization and strengthening of relations with Cuba, taking a series of steps within the purview of the executive branch. It has made clear that there are a number of laws related to the blockade-embargo which can only be repealed by Congress, which has been working to try to lift them.
The Cuban government is “standing its ground.” It knows that for there to be movement in Congress with regards to the laws of the embargo-blockade, it would have to start a clear process of democratization in Cuba, there would have be an amnesty, decreeing freedom of expression and association and it would have to initiate a dialog with the opposition and those who think differently, and with the whole nation, about a new constitution and a new democratic electoral law.
But it gives no signals in that direction, as much as it is the only existing party and according to the current constitution directs the destiny of Cuba and resists implementing the agreements of its own 2011 6th Communist Party Congress. These agreements addressed the establishment and development of self-employment, cooperatives, business autonomy, and the opening to foreign investment. Meanwhile, the economy continues to tank and the Cuban government’s image constantly deteriorates.
It is clear: if there is freedom, if there is democracy, if there is respect for human rights, no one is going to come to demand you comply with these precepts. It was written long ago: a political democratization and a diversification of the economy would permit a cushioning of the impact of investment and closer relations with the United States. Falling on deaf ears.
Moreover, in the last month, Nicaragua’s closing of its border with Costa Rica, to block Cubans from heading to the United States, has created a regional immigration issue with many sharp edges. Everything indicates that Cuba is behind the Nicaraguan decision, as part of its announced interest in eliminating the Cuban Adjustment Act. However, what it seems to have done is demonstrate to the world the inability of its unproductive statist economic system and the lack of political and civil liberties in Cuba which, instead of attracting young people pushes them to emigrate, at the same time it has shown its interest in complicating, rather the solving, the Cuban-US referendum.
Who has come out ahead in this process? The government of the United States has demonstrated flexibility, tolerance and a willingness to resolve the dispute with Cuba. And this has been a point in its favor.
The government of the Cuba has demonstrated the exact opposite: inflexibility, intolerance and an unwillingness to resolve the dispute, and in addition, the inability to anticipate changes, and even its flouting of its own constitution by failing to comply with the guidelines of the Communist Party, because, in its Stalinist fashion, it believes that it would be “like delivering the Revolution to its class enemies: the self-employed, the cooperatives, the small, medium and large capitalists.”
Cuban leaders have confirmed that in order to remain in power, they are capable of reneging on Party agreements that they themselves shaped, agreements that should guarantee the economic, political and social development of the country, decentralize power, diversify and broaden the productive forces and the productive relationships that expand the economy.
One would have to conclude, therefore, that even the Communist Party, under pressure from its bases, conceived solutions that go against the interests of populist and decadent statism represented at the highest levels of the Party and the government. This also would be another point in favor of Obama’s policy which, instead, favored economically aiding Cuban entrepreneurs, for which the Cuban government has not provided the necessary facilities.
Today, the Cuban government does not want to walk the blue carpet laid out by Obama, nor the red one laid out by its own Communist Party, nor a combination of both. It prefers to continue riding on the old nag, lame and battered by the most vulgar Stalinism that does not help to solve the problems with the United States, and that leads to the abyss Raul once spoke of, although I do not think that is the path he wants to travel.
Clearly, what happened in the presidential elections in Argentina and in the parliamentary elections in Venezuela points to a complication of the Latin American scenarios for this stagnant Cuba. In addition, it makes a democratization of politics and the economy more urgent than ever.