Author Archives: Hernández Rafael

DEBATING U.S.-CUBAN RELATIONS: HOW SHOULD WE NOW PLAY BALL? 2nd Edition

Edited by Jorge I. DomínguezRafael M. HernándezLorena G. Barberia

© 2017 – Routledge

To Order: Routledge

ABOUT THE BOOK

The boundary between Cuba and the United States has become more and more porous, as have those with Latin America and the Caribbean. Never in the past half-century has Cuba’s leadership or its social and political fabric been so exposed to the influence of the outside world. In this book, an all-star cast of experts critically address the recent past and present in U.S.-Cuban relations in their full complexity and subtlety to develop a perspective on the evolution of the conflict and an inventory of forms of cooperation. This much needed approach provides a way to answer the questions “what has been . . .?” and “what is . . .?” while also thinking seriously about “what if . . .?”

To illustrate the most significant areas of U.S.-Cuban relations in the contemporary era, this newly updated edition of Debating U.S.-Cuban Relations adds six more themes to the study of this complex relation: political, security, economic, and cultural/academic issues; the triangular relations of the United States, Cuba, and Europe; and the politics of Cuban migration/emigration. Each topic is represented by perspectives from both Cuban and non-Cuban scholars, leading to a resource rich in insight and a model of transnational dialogue.

The future course of U.S.-Cuban relations will likely be more complex than in the past, not only because of the matrix of factors involved but also because of the number of actors. Such a multiplicity of domestic, regional, and global factors is unique; it includes the rise to power of new administrations in both countries since 2008. Raúl Castro became president of Cuba in February 2008 and Barack Obama was inaugurated president of the United States in January 2009. And it will feature the inauguration of a new president of the United States in January 2017 and a new president of Cuba, likely in February 2018.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1: Introduction: A Baseball Game. Jorge I. Domínguez and Rafael M. Hernández

Chapter 2: Intimate Enemies: Paradoxes in the Conflict between the United States and

Cuba. Rafael M. Hernández

Chapter 3: Reshaping the Relations between the United States and Cuba. Jorge I. Domínguez

Chapter 4: Cuba’s National Security vis-à-vis the United States: Conflict or Cooperation? Carlos Alzugaray Treto

Chapter 5: Cuban-United States Cooperation in the Defence and Security Fields: Where Are We? Where Might We Be Able to Go? Hal Klepak

Chapter 6: Terrorism and the Anti-Hijacking Accord in Cuba’s Relations with the United States. Peter Kornbluh

Chapter 7: The European Union and U.S.-Cuban Relations. Eduardo Perera Gómez

Chapter 8: European Union Policy in the Cuba-U.S.-Spain Triangle. Susanne Gratius

Chapter 9: U.S.-Cuba Relations: The Potential Economic Implications of Normalization. Archibald R. M. Ritter

Chapter 10: United States-Cuba Economic Relations: The Pending Normalization. Jorge Mario Sánchez Egozcue

Chapter 11: Cuba, Its Immigration and U.S.-Cuba Relations. Lorena G. Barberia

Chapter 12: U.S.-Cuba: Emigration and Bilateral Relations. Antonio Aja Díaz

Chapter 13: The Subject(s) of Academic and Cultural Exchange: Paradigms, Powers, and Possibilities. Sheryl Lutjens

Chapter 14: Academic Diplomacy: Cultural Exchange between Cuba and the United States. Milagros Martínez Reinosa

 

Posted in Blog, Featured | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“NO ES FACÍL”: THREATS AND OPPORTUNITIES IN CUBA–U.S. RELATIONS

By Rafael Hernandez

January 8, 2015

Original here: “No Es Facíl”

Cubans have become used to preparing for war with the United States, not for dialogue and negotiation. U.S. policy-makers have specialized in attacking the island, which has kept them from learning to understand it. Neither side has been trained to deal with an adversary rather than an enemy. Each side’s success in a scenario of rapprochement depends on its ability to acquire such knowledge and turn it into real policy.

What does the United States have to gain in negotiations with Cuba? It hopes to moderate future Cuban actions, increase its ability to influence Cuban politics, and obtain benefits from specific areas of bilateral activity by doing the following:

1. Responding to a constituency of interest groups (agribusiness, biomedical, tourism, maritime transportation, health care, higher education, sports, entertainment, and perhaps oil) and freeing South Florida Cuban-American people and businesses, hostages of established policies, to organize in favor of tighter ties;

2. Paving the way for the 5,911 U.S. companies that were nationalized in 1960 to negotiate some kind of compensation under Cuban law (as Spanish, Canadian, French, Swiss, and other foreign firms did long ago);

3. Removing a point of contention with Latin America and U.S. allies that rejected the Helms–Burton Act on free-trade grounds, and easing the bilateral tension within international organizations like the U.N. Human Rights Commission;

4. Improving the flow of information between the two countries via legitimate exchange of radio and TV programs between public institutions, a fiber-optic cable connection, and improved mail, telephone, and Internet service;

5. Consolidating migration agreements (signed in 1994 and 1995); and

6. Reaching formal agreements to back ongoing cooperation in drug traffic interception, naval and air security, military and coast guard coordination, environmental protection, and other areas.

U.S. recognition of the socialist government favors Cuba’s independence and self-determination. For Cuba, dialogue with the United States could lead to additional benefits:

1. Lessening the cost of security and defense and the burden on economic development imposed by hostility and a multilateral embargo that affects Cuba’s relations with the rest of the world;

2. Gaining access to U.S. markets and capital flows, with a multiplier effect on all of Cuba’s foreign relations;

3. Forming alliances with various sectors of U.S. society;

4. Facilitating cooperation in areas related to geographic contiguity, like transportation and other trade-related issues, and environmental concerns, such as ocean pollution in the Florida Straits and protection of migratory species; and

5. Pursuing the return of the Guantánamo naval base territory to actual Cuban sovereign control. same Cuban regime that has been called illegitimate for half a century), and instate reciprocal agreements in place of unilateralism.

But there are also costs: The United States has to confront long-established resistance within the permanent bureaucracy and the Cuban-American right wing, admit that its Cuban policy has failed (and offer de jure recognition to the same Cuban regime that has been called illegitimate for half a century), and instate reciprocal agreements in place of unilateralism.

Although many Cubans favor détente and appreciate its economic benefits, they also remain worried about U.S. political and ideological intentions. In his recent statement on the new Cuban policy (Dec. 17), U.S. President Barack Obama stressed that U.S. policy will continue to focus “on issues related to democracy and human rights in Cuba … and promote our values through engagement.”

U.S.-style democracy and capitalist values are framed as a “peaceful evolution” strategy when applied to other cases (China, Vietnam) – another version of the old “regime change” policy.

Some Cubans are concerned about the effects of this policy, because it aims to undermine the socialist consensus among some groups in a period of changes during which social and political cohesion are of strategic value. U.S. government agencies and die-hard anti-communist groups in Miami, as well as their representatives in Congress, could use this opportunity to find new ways to fund political opposition, sending anti-government propaganda and trying to influence the Cuban domestic context.

The Cuban government finds itself in an unprecedented situation. It must choose between playing defensively and developing a new proactive strategy. Its ability to build up alliances and consensus will be decisive.

The identities of U.S. allies in Latin America, Europe, and Cuba are quite obvious. So, too, are the identities of Cuban allies, including many Latin American and Caribbean governments, emerging powers like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS), and some paradoxical ones, such as U.S. corporations, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the silent majority of the Cuban-American people.

The main weakness Cuba needs to overcome is not its lesser physical power, but its siege mentality. The United States, on the other hand, needs to overcome its sense of superpower arrogance vis-à-vis a small neighbor. Most counterproductive policies on both sides, from the U.S. Bay of Pigs fiasco to Cuba’s Internet restrictions, have been the consequence of these weaknesses.

As long as bilateral rapprochement moves forward, new issues could appear on the table. Cuba has only two foreign policy principles for negotiating differences, particularly with big powers like Europe and the United States: no preconditions and no double standards.

Cuba must figure out how to keep domestic political affairs within the area of dialogue and exchange rather than negotiation. Structural transformation in the Cuban economic and political system, individual liberties (particularly expression, movement, and association), the role of the mass media, and other issues related to citizens’ rights are internal affairs. To subject them to the dynamic of bilateral agreements with the United States could be politically counterproductive in terms of Cuban public opinion, even in the eyes of Cubans pushing for such changes. It would be like subordinating the patterns of life within a family to agreements with the upstairs neighbor.

Members of Cuban civil society, including rank and file party members, agree that dialogue with the United States may depressurize the domestic atmosphere and facilitate change, encourage generational turnover in the leadership, lead to a more decentralized system, and contribute to empowering the most constructive elements of both cultures and peoples.

Those who are in favor of a reformed Cuban socialism, not a Caribbean capitalism, support a détente with the United States that may help dissipate the siege mentality and lead to a political environment that facilitates a more democratic model.

Cuban socialists aspire to a kind of democracy that is defined by more than just a commitment to periodic elections within a highly regulated multiparty system. The Cuban public debate points toward radical democratization of the society and system as a whole – not just the polity, but also the community, schools, workplaces, economic management, and social and political organizations, including the Cuban Communist Party.

For the Cuban government, the issue will no longer be how to keep the ideological enemy from penetrating, because in a sense it is already inside. Instead, the government must be concerned with how to reshape and promote the domestic consensus, reactivate a socialist political culture on a new basis, and get rid of old rituals that have lost their meaning.

A new Cuba–U.S. relationship could certainly improve relations between Cuban-Americans and their counterparts on the island. Would the Cuban-American elite keep paying its dues to the declining industry of anti-Castroism as real business between the two shores prospers? Would its members hold on to their identities as ideologues rather than businesspersons, or would they opt to behave like other historical overseas economic elites (Vietnamese, Chinese)?

Finally, to what degree can those hostile networks withstand the emergence of economic and strategic interests that would broaden the surface of contact between the two sides? If this new correlation of forces emerges, classical torpedoes launched by hostile networks to destabilize the process of rapprochement will be less likely to succeed.

The conflict has already entered a transition phase. As often occurs between human beings, when favorable circumstances arise, a first step can unleash a march that exceeds all expectations. As President Obama said in his statement (adopting a Cuban expression made popular by Kermit the Frog), “no es fácil” – “it is not easy.” Although the process will be complicated, the most costly point for a U.S. president is now past: The ice has been broken.

rafaelhernandezRafael Hernandez

Posted in Blog | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cuba: hacia un redimensionamiento de los derechos humanos

Una discusion sobre derechos humanos en Cuba era publicada en Espacio Laical. La publicacion completa esta aqui: Derechos Humanos Dossier, Espacio Laical, December 2013

La temática de los derechos humanos ha sido una constante que ha marcado, durante muchos años, los debates sobre Cuba. La construcción de versiones particulares sobre el tema, desde diferentes puntos del espectro político-ideológico nacional, nos muestra la existencia de una gran contraposición de opiniones. Se trata de un tema crucial que, más temprano que tarde, cobrará mayor fuerza en los procesos de transformación que vive el país. Por este motivo nuestra revista ha convocado a un grupo de expertos para debatir sobre este asunto trascendental. Participan en el dossier el jurista Roberto Veiga, editor de la revista Espacio Laical; el politólogo Rafael Hernández, director de la revista Temas; el jurista Julio César Guanche, ensayista y pensador cubano; monseñor Carlos Manuel de Céspedes,vicario de la Arquidiócesis de La Habana, pensador y ensayista; y el politólogo Arturo López-Levy, académico y activista cubano radicado en Estados Unidos.

Las Preguntas:

1-¿Puede hacer una reseña sobre los imaginarios históricos de nuestra nación acerca del tema de los derechos de la persona?

2-En las últimas décadas, ¿cuáles concepciones han conseguido en nuestro país una mayor elaboración y difusión? ¿Alguna noción ha prevalecido?

3-¿Cuánto han avanzado en materia de derechos las generaciones que hoy comparten el país?

4-¿Cuánto nos queda por avanzar? ¿Cuáles podrían ser los mejores mecanismos para lograrlo?

 New Picture (9)

 Roberto Veiga, Rafael Hernández, Julio César Guanche, Monseñor Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, y Arturo López-Levy

Posted in Blog | Tagged | 1 Comment

Debating U.S.-Cuban Relations: Shall We Play Ball?

Debating U.S.-Cuban Relations: Shall We Play Ball?

Jorge I. Dominguez (Editor), Rafael Hernandez (Editor), Lorena G. Barberia (Editor)

New York: Routledge, August 2011;

ISBN-10: 0415893232 | ISBN-13: 978-0415893237



Book Description

Two decades ago, affairs between the United States and Cuba had seen little improvement from the Cold War era. Today, U.S.-Cuban relations are in many respects still in poor shape, yet some cooperative elements have begun to take hold and offer promise for future developments. Illustrated by the ongoing migration agreement, professional military-to-military relations at the perimeter of the U.S. base near Guantánamo, and professional Coast Guard-Guardafrontera cooperation across the Straits of Florida, the two governments are actively exploring whether and how to change the pattern of interactions.

The differences that divide the two nations are real, not the result of misperception, and this volume does not aspire to solve all points of disagreement. Drawing on perspectives from within Cuba as well as those in the United States, Canada, and Europe, these authors set out to analyze contemporary policies, reflect on current circumstances, and consider possible alternatives for improved U.S.-Cuban relations. The resulting collection is permeated with both disagreements and agreements from leading thinkers on the spectrum of issues the two countries face—matters of security, the role of Europe and Latin America, economic issues, migration, and cultural and scientific exchanges in relations between Cuba and the United States. Each topic is represented by perspectives from both Cuban and non-Cuban scholars, leading to a resource rich in insight and a model of transnational dialogue.

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This volume brings together twelve exceptional scholars on U.S.-Cuban relations to explore the key dimensions of that troubled relationship. By including the perspectives of both Cuban and U.S. scholars on topics ranging from national security to culture, the editors provide a fascinating look at the issues that still divide Washington and Havana half a century after the Cuban revolution.”
William M. LeoGrande, American University

Debating U.S.-Cuban Relations offers  an agenda that Washington and Havana should be embracing. It is a splendid primer which I hope will be useful when the United States and Cuba decide to bury an antagonism that has served neither well.”
Marifeli Pérez-Stable, Florida International University

“An excellent exploration of a topic which is important (and fascinating) not only in its own right, but also for its larger implications regarding U.S.-Latin American relations. The editors have assembled an A-List of Cuban specialists who bring to bear not only great expertise, but also a variety of perspectives which should interest people on all sides of this long-standing drama.”
Michael Erisman, Indiana State University

Book Launch:

Speakers: Jorge Dominguez and Rafael Hernandez; Discussant: John Coatsworth

When: 4:00pm; September 22, 2011

Location: IAB 802, Columbia University, 420 West 118th Street, 8th Floor IAB MC 3339, New York, NY 10027; Contact: Columbia University Institute of Latin American Studies, ilas-info@columbia.edu

List of Authors:

Jorge I. Domínguez, Profesor. Universidad de Harvard.

Rafael Hernández, Politólogo. Revista Temas.

Hal Klepak, Profesor. Royal Military College of Canada.

Carlos Alzugaray Tret, Profesor. Centro de Estudios Hemisféricos y sobre Estados Unidos, Universidad de La Habana.

Peter Kornbluh, Investigador. National Security Archive, Washington, DC

Susanne Gratius, Investigadora. Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE), Madrid.

Eduardo Perera Gómez, Investigador. Centro de Estudios Europeo. Universidad de la Habana

Archibald R. M. Ritter. Profesor. Universidad de Carleton, Ottawa.

Jorge Mario Sánchez Egozcue, Investigador y profesor. Centro de Estudios Hemisfericos y sobre Estados Unidos, Universidad de La Habana.

Lorena G. Barberia, Investigadora. Universidad de Harvard.

Antonio Aja Díaz, Historiador y sociólogo. Centro de Estudios Demográficos, Universidad de La Habana.

Sheryl Lutjens, Investigadora. Universidad del Estado de California, en San Marcos.

Milagros Martínez Reinosa, Profesora. Universidad de La Habana.

 

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Revista TEMAS Panel on the “Special Period”

TEMAS, Ei Periodo Especial veinte anos despues

TEMAS: no. 65: 59-75, enero-marzo de 2011

http://www.temas.cult.cu/revistas/65/059%20Mesa.pdf

A special section of the TEMAS issue of January-March 2011 includes a Panel discussion on the causes, character and consequences of the “Special Period.” This still seems to be the epoch that Cuba is in officially, as there has been no official termination of the epoch nor a declaration of a new label for a new era. The panelists include Mayra Espina, sociologist ath the Centro de Investigaciones Psicológicas y Sociológicas (CIPS). José Luis Rodríguez, once again at the. Centro de Investigaciones de la Economía Mundial (CIEM) but formerly Minister of Finance and Planning,  Juan Triana, an economist at the. Centro de Estudios sobre la Economía Cubana (CEEC) and Rafael Hernández the Director de TEMAS

The questions addressed to the panel by Rafael Hernández include (in paraphrase):

1.      What was the character of the “Special Period” (SP)?

Were its causes essentially external?

Was it predominantly economic in character?

For how long has it continued?

2.      How effective were the policies implemented to deal with ot”

Were the policies based on scientific research?

Were the policies coherent and effective?

Were there unintended consequences?

To what extent did the policies succeed?

3.      Has the SP generated positive or progressive advances?

4.      Questions from the floor.


Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New Publication on US-Cuba Relations: Cuba-Estados Unidos, tan lejos, tan cerca

Revista TEMAS, Cultura, Ideologia Sociedad, La Habana,

número 62-63 abril-septiembre de 2010

Web Address: http://www.temas.cult.cu/index.php.

After some three or four years trying to win approval within Cuba, a joint US-Cuba project on the relations between the two countries has finally come to fruition.

Rafael Hernandez, Editor of Revista TEMAS in Havana and Jorge Dominguez, Professor of Mexican and Latin American Politics and Economics, and Vice Chancellor for International Relations at Harvard University have succeeded in bringing together a multinational team of authors and in producing a study already published in Revista TEMAS in Cuba.

An English-language version is in process of publication in the United States with the title Debating U.S.-Cuban Relations: Shall We Play Ball? This is Jorge Dominguez second successful collaboration with Cuban authors in recent years, the first being The Cuban Economy at the Start of the Twenty-First Century, edited with Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva of the Centro de Estudios sobre la Economia Cubana, Universidad de La Habana, and Lorena Barberia also of Harvard.

An essay of mine is included in the collection, namely Estados Unidos-Cuba: potenciales implicaciones económicas de la normalización,

I must confess that I was surprised – but pleasantly surprised – that my essay was included in the collection. My expectation was that the essay would be rejected for ideological reasons.This article contains criticism of current economic policy and institutional structures. though couched in terms of an argument that the gains to Cuba from normalization with the United States would be significantly greater if a series of economic reforms were adopted. The reforms considered include

  • legalization of small, medium and cooperative enterprises,
  • relaxation of taxation and restrictions on self-employment,
  • modification of foreign investment policy to permit majority foreign ownership,
  • relaxation of controls on financial flows from abroad, and of course
  • monetary and exchange rate unification, among other things.

The absence of labor rights – the right to form independent labor unions, to bargain collectively, and to strike – is also discussed as a possible impediment to direct foreign investment in view of the opposition that US groups will have to US firms investing in Cuba under current conditions of the absence of labor rights.

The vetting process that the article underwent was rigorous but surprisingly un-ideological. A long series of critiques were made of the draft that arrived in Havana by the editorial advisors of TEMAS. Some of the criticisms were useful, some were ideologically oriented and a few were neither ideological nor useful. However, following Jorge Dominguez advice, I answered all the queries and criticisms as carefully as I could. Some I accepted. I changed some wording to be less inflammatory. Some criticisms I rejected as diplomatically as I could. In the end, my revisions were accepted by the TEMAS Editor, Rafael Hernandez.

One interesting change that the editors proposed and that I accepted was to remove the name of president Fidel Castro who I had referred to in mentioning the ambiguity of Cuba’s policies towards direct foreign investment, promoting it on the one hand but pronouncing against “globalization” – of which DFI is a part – with President Castro taking lead roles at the podium of the “Anti-Globalization” conferences that occurred for a number of years. The editor wanted Castro’s name removed from that discussion, but did not object to the discussion itself. This seemed to be a version of the hesitancy of many Cuban citizens to  mention Fidel’s name, but to use the hand motion of stroking a beard instead.

I will have to modify my criticisms of freedom of expression within Cuba – though only somewhat!

Below is the Title, Table of Contents, and Web address for the issue. The essay titles are hyper-linked to the TEMAS Web site though the connection often seems very slow.

Cuba-Estados Unidos: tan lejos, tan cerca

Reconfiguración de las relaciones de los Estates Unidos y Cuba, Jorge I. Domínguez, Profesor. Universidad de Harvard.

Enemigos intimacy. Paradojas en el conflicto Estados, Unidos-Cuba, Rafael Hernández, Politólogo. Revista Temas.

Cuba y los Estados Unidos en  las esferas de la defensa y la seguridad, Hal Klepak, Profesor. Royal Military College of Canada.

La seguridad nacional de Cuba frente a los Estados Unidos: conflicto y ¿cooperación?, Carlos Alzugaray Tret, Profesor. Centro de Estudios Hemisféricos y sobre Estados Unidos, Universidad de La Habana.

El terrorismo y el acuerdo anti-secuestros en las relaciones de Cuba con los Estados Unidos, Peter Kornbluh, Investigador. National Security Archive, Washington, DC

La política de la Unión Europea en el triángulo Cuba-Estados Unidos-España, Susanne Gratius, Investigadora. Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE), Madrid.

La Unión Europea y su papel en las relaciones Estados Unidos-Cuba, Eduardo Perera Gómez, Investigador. Centro de Estudios Europeo. Universidad de la Habana

Estados Unidos-Cuba: potenciales implicaciones económicas de la normalización, Archibald R. M. Ritter. Profesor. Universidad de Carleton, Ottawa.

Las relaciones económicas Estados Unidos-Cuba. La normalización pendiente. Jorge Mario Sánchez Egozcue, Investigador y profesor. Centro de Estudios Hemisfericos y sobre Estados Unidos, Universidad de La Habana.

Cuba, su emigración y las relaciones con los Estados Unidos, Lorena G. Barberia, Investigadora. Universidad de Harvard.

Los Estados Unidos-Cuba: emigración y relaciones bilaterales, Antonio Aja Díaz, Historiador y sociólogo. Centro de Estudios Demográficos, Universidad de La Habana.

Corrientes académicas y culturales Cuba-Estados Unidos: temas y actores, Sheryl Lutjens, Investigadora. Universidad del Estado de California, en San Marcos.

La diplomacia académica: los intercambios culturales entre Cuba y los Estados Unidos, Milagros Martínez Reinosa, Profesora. Universidad de La Habana.

Jorge Dominguez and Rafael Hernandez

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment