Tag Archives: US-Cuba Normalization

POLL: AMERICANS FAVOR DIPLOMATIC ENGAGEMENT WITH CUBA

THE HILL,  09/03/21

Original Article.

By Rafael Bernal

More Americans favor engaging Cuba diplomatically than any other approach to the island, according to a new poll by the online political platform Moxy.

The survey found that 41 percent of respondents favored diplomatic engagement, followed by 35 percent saying it should be easier for Cubans to migrate to the United States, 34 percent wanting to sanction Cuban human rights abuses in international courts, and 33 percent favoring ratcheting up sanctions on the communist regime.

“We presented 10 different policy measures, and the respondents can choose as many as they want,” said Cesar Melgoza, CEO of Moxy.

“The one that was chosen most often, overall as well as by Republicans and Democrats, was diplomacy,” added Melgoza.

The polling results come as the Biden administration is expanding its diplomatic footprint in Cuba. The State Department last month allowed diplomats on the island to be accompanied by adult relatives, but the White House has stopped short of the policy of rapprochement from the Obama era.

Meanwhile, Cuba remains in the political spotlight, particularly in Florida after protests on the island renewed interest in supporting the Cuban opposition among some U.S. groups.

But according to Moxy’s poll, Americans overall don’t see Cuba as a top issue.

On a scale of 1 to 5, Cuba received a score of 2.74 as a policy that affects how respondents vote.  Among Democrats, the average score was 3.01 and among Republicans it was 2.67.  Cuban-American voters were most likely to have their vote swayed by Cuba policy, with an average score of 3.75.

Former Rep. Joe García (D), a South Florida political veteran, said the poll results indicate a need for President Biden to engage more in Cuba policy.  “I’ll go so far as to say that if he does not, he will have missed a premium opportunity to endear himself to the Cuban people in South Florida, perhaps to impact the next election,” said García.

“I don’t know what his advisors are thinking. From my point of view, it’s the perfect opportunity, and it’s harmonic with democracy. It’s harmonic with human rights, it’s harmonic with the best political strategy. So there’s no reason not to pay more attention,” he added.

According to the poll, 24 percent of respondents think Biden proactively represents the interests of the Cuban people.  That puts the president behind Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), at 29 percent. But Biden is ahead of Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), at 17 percent, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), with 15 percent.

Although Republican politicians dominate the list of individuals who represent the interests of the Cuban people, almost 37 percent of voters said Democrats best represent Cuban Americans, and nearly 27 percent of voters said Republicans do.

García interpreted the poll results as an invitation for Biden to engage Cuba with a “carrot and stick” approach.

“And frankly, invite those Republicans who are most outspoken on the issue into the dialogue, because otherwise they’ll criticize probably anything he proposes anyway. But bring them in into it, make them part of the team, come up with a plan. And more importantly, do something about it,” he added.

The poll was conducted online Aug. 2-9, with 1,014 completed responses and an oversampling of Cuban-origin voters.

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Center for Democracy in the Americas’ STATEMENT: CDA URGES THE BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION TO TAKE ACTIONABLE STEPS TO REMOVE SANCTIONS WHICH IMPEDE ITS OWN POLICY OBJECTIVES

Center for Democracy in the Americas, Washington D. C., August 3, 2021

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

WASHINGTON – In response to the ongoing situation in Cuba that began with protests on July 11 throughout the island, and the subsequent announcements made by the Biden-Harris administration, Jorge Quintana, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, released the following statement:

“In the wake of the July 11 protests in Cuba and following six months of inaction on the Cuba policy front, the Biden-Harris administration has finally signaled its intention to engage with the issue. However, while recent statements from the Administration convey support for the Cuban people, current policy is not only incompatible with those sentiments, but counterproductive to them. If the Administration truly wishes to support the Cuban people, it will need to first take concrete actions to remove sanctions that serve to stymie this support. The Biden-Harris administration should stop serving as a roadblock and start serving as a conduit. I urge the Administration to take immediate action toward implementing policies of engagement that benefit the Cuban people. Engaging with a community that continues to suffer the effects of a strenuous diplomatic relationship should be a priority of the United States.
 
Human rights are universal, and the Cuban people deserve to speak freely without fear of retribution and to have a voice in their future. This will happen when Cuba’s government listens to the voices of its people and respects their right to peacefully protest. Protesters throughout Cuba were met with violent confrontation from Cuba’s security forces while calling for an improved COVID-19 response, and relief from food, medicine, electricity and good shortages. Some also called for changes to the island’s economy and for political change. Cuba’s government responded to the demonstrations by preventing internet access to many websites and social media platforms, and with the arrest, detention, and/or disappearance of reportedly more than 700 protesters, activists, and independent journalists thus far. Protesters should not be punished for exercising their rights as set forth in Cuba’s updated 2019 constitution, which include the right to due process in legal proceedings and the right to freedom of assembly. For those protesters who engaged in violence or the destruction of property, prosecutions must be open, transparent, and with guarantees of due process. Cuba’s government has an opportunity, at this critical moment, to steer away from its response of repression and to convene and listen to groups of civil society actors in good faith, actualize the economic changes that have been promised, and respond to the concerns of the Cuban people with openness.
 
While the protesters’ calls were directed at internal grievances and not directly at U.S. sanctions or the U.S. embargo, the U.S. can help facilitate this internal change through lifting sanctions and removing the embargo. Once again, I call on the Biden-Harris administration to prioritize the humanitarian situation in Cuba by suspending regulations that inhibit the flow of humanitarian aid. Specifically, I call on the Administration to remove the specific licenses required to send medical supplies to Cuba, lift restrictions on the percentage of U.S.-made material used in foreign produced medical supplies, remove end-use verification for humanitarian imports, lift restrictions and caps on family and donative remittances, lift restrictions on banking, and remove travel restrictions that prevent this robust and dynamic form of diplomacy from taking place and prevent the Cuban people from receiving necessary humanitarian supplies.
 
The Biden-Harris administration should restore remittance channels, thereby allowing Cuban-Americans to exercise their right to send, or not send, remittances, which help support Cuba’s private sector and offer much-needed start-up capital from relatives abroad. The Administration should not, however, view remittances as an end-all-be-all to financial support. Many protesters on July 11 were Afro-Cuban, who tend to have less family abroad and less access to remittances. The Administration’s newly announced Remittance Working Group will expedite a review of how to send remittances directly to the Cuban people, bypassing Cuba’s government. As it considers this, it should take into account that Cuba’s government no longer captures the amount of revenue from remittances as it has in the past. Since July 2020, Cuba no longer taxes dollar remittances or requires Cubans to convert dollars to local currency, and has significantly decreased hard currency store markups. Much of the government’s revenue from remittances captured from hard currency store sales is channeled to food, fuel, and goods imports. The Remittance Working Group is rightfully operating under a deadline. The Group should be judged on its ability to answer operational issues that serve the goals of supporting small and medium sized enterprises, improving the standard of living of Cuban families, and respecting the rights of Cuban-Americans to support their families.
 
The Administration has expressed interest in exploring ways to support free and effective internet access in Cuba. Images, videos, and accounts of the July 11 protests shared by Cubans on social media were largely made possible by increased internet availability on the island and the introduction of 3G and 4G which occurred over the past few years. Nearly half of the island’s population has a cell phone and 2.5 million have 3G or 4G access. However, internet outages following the protests, allegedly initiated by Cuba’s government, have sparked concern. The Biden-Harris administration does not need to start at square one. The Administration should re-examine the 2019 Cuba Internet Task Force recommendations, including facilitating the export of telecommunications equipment and infrastructure, promoting technological literacy and digital safety education, promoting exchange programs, and empowering local, organic, network growth. Though the telecommunications environment has changed, many of the challenges and opportunities remain the same. It is important that Cuban citizens themselves have both access to and autonomy over their internet. Efforts to weaponize the internet, to use it for the spread of disinformation, or to censor it by any government should not be tolerated.
 
Additionally, the Administration should expedite its review of restaffing the U.S. Embassy in Havana and reinstating consular services, including visa processing and the Cuban Family Reunification Program. Regardless of future actions on the part of Cuba’s government, a fully staffed embassy will allow the U.S. to provide critical support to Cuban civil society, monitor the situation on the ground, initiate a human rights dialogue with Cuba’s government, and advocate against arbitrary detentions.
 
The policy of hostility and isolation is not improving democracy or human rights on the island; rather, it is politicizing a humanitarian crisis and distracting from dynamic and actionable solutions. In order to remedy the inherent disconnect between supportive messaging and punitive policy in the Administration’s response to the current crisis in Cuba, the Biden-Harris administration must change the role that U.S. policies and sanctions have in contributing to the crisis by pursuing a policy of engagement. Engagement is the best way to alleviate the hardships faced by the Cuban people, advance U.S. interests, offer an opportunity for dialogue and cooperation on a wide range of issues, from human rights to national security, and to allow the necessary conditions for Cubans to determine their own future.
 
Pursuing a policy of engagement and removing the current counterproductive policies that only serve to compound hardships faced by Cubans, would allow President Biden to stand with the Cuban people while continuing to condemn any repression of human rights in Cuba. It’s time for the U.S. to support the Cuban people in both spirit and in practice.

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CUBA STUDY GROUP STATEMENT ON THE JULY 30 MEETING BETWEEN PRESIDENT BIDEN AND CUBAN AMERICAN LEADERS

Contact: Ricardo Herrero
Phone: 202-709-8191

August 2, 2021

WASHINGTON D.C. — On July 30th, the Executive Director of the Cuba Study Group, Ricardo Herrero, was among eleven Cuban American leaders invited to meet with President Biden to discuss his administration’s response to the situation in Cuba in the wake of the historic July 11th protests.

We thank the President for his time, for the opportunity to share our views, and for his administration’s commitment to the Cuban people by addressing the island’s ongoing crisis through a “whole-of-government approach.” We encourage his administration to continue to respond to recent events with a sense of urgency and look forward to the prompt reopening of remittance flows, the expansion of internet access and the restaffing of the U.S. Embassy in Havana.

We also commend the Biden administration for levying targeted sanctions on those responsible for the repression of peaceful protesters on, and since, July 11th. Targeted sanctions against Cuban government officials send a strong message that their human rights abuses will not be tolerated, even if their practical effect is blunted by the blanket sanctions of the U.S. embargo that already make it unlikely that Cuban officials have significant assets in the United States.

Yet, as the Biden administration seeks to hold the Cuban government accountable, we can and must do more to empower the Cuban people. In fact, we maintain that strengthening the Cuban people, more so than punishing their government, is the key to meaningful change in Cuba.

This is why we ask the Biden administration to empower the American and Cuban American private and NGO sectors to be the driving force in extending support to the Cuban people at this precarious juncture. Not only is it often more efficient to enable private actors to lead the way, but it also undermines the Cuban government’s Cold War-era narrative that their struggle is against the U.S. government, when the truth is that their present-day struggle is with their own people, both at home and abroad.

Covid-related assistance from the United States can help save lives and stem a pandemic that has overwhelmed the Cuban healthcare system. To that end, we ask the Biden administration to lift all restrictions and licensing requirements on donations of food, medicine, and medical supplies to Cuba, thus enabling churches and other NGOs to quickly mobilize.

Secure internet access is indeed crucial to providing Cubans with the unfettered flow of information they deserve and the tools to mobilize for peaceful change. However, there are immediate, practical steps the U.S. government can take to improve the quality of internet access on the island. These include allowing U.S.-based firms to provide cloud-based services like online payment processing and subscription-based platforms in Cuba. Not only are they powerful tools for private sector and civil society development; they also can help get money—including remittances—directly into the hands of the Cuban people.

Finally, open travel remains the best way for Cuban Americans and Americans to serve as ambassadors of our values and provide direct assistance to the Cuban people. Thus, we ask the Biden administration to reinstate travel to all airport destinations in Cuban provinces as Covid-19 restrictions allow.

Ultimately, the best way to “stand with the Cuban people” is for Americans and Cuban Americans to be present on the ground in Cuba. We look forward to an ongoing, fruitful dialogue with the Biden administration in which we intend to continue pressing this case.
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The Cuba Study Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, comprised of business and professional individuals with a deeply rooted love for Cuba and the Cuban people. We aim to put our collective experience in leadership skills, problem solving, and wealth creation at the service of the Cuban people. We aim to facilitate change, help empower individuals and promote civil society development.
 
Our mission is to help facilitate peaceful change in Cuba leading to a free and open society, respect for human rights and the rule of law, a productive, market-based economy and the reunification of the Cuban nation.


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BIDEN SHOULD PURSUE A FULL ENGAGEMENT WITH CUBA

Responsible Statecraft, April 15, 2021
By Arturo Lopez-Levy

Original Article: Engagement with Cuba

The United States needs a fundamentally different policy towards a post-Castro Cuba than the one applied for the last four years. Engagement is the best long-term strategy to peel Havana away from Washington’s rivals in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and Caracas. It is also the optimal choice to signal American goodwill to the new leaders of post-Castro Cuba and put the onus on them. 

President Biden should restart normalization efforts not only because the retreat from normalization falls squarely at the feet of the Trump administration, but also because he understands — as his predecessor did not — how to conduct a great power bilateral relationship with a smaller neighbor. Estrangement from the United States was not the Cuban government’s choice, which embraced engagement long before the last embers of the Cold War had cooled.

What Happened after Obama’s opening towards Cuba?

A new and effective engagement policy requires an honest assessment of what happened between Cuba, the Cuban American community, and U.S.-Cuba relations after President Obama launched his full engagement approach in 2014. The Cuban government responded positively to the first African American president’s offers of negotiation. Of course, Cuban officials could have done more, particularly regarding reconciliation with the Cuban American community, but the two countries signed 22 important agreements. President Obama was welcomed in Havana by Raúl Castro. In his memoirs, Ben Rhodes, the architect of Obama’s rapprochement, describes how, in a relative short time, Cuba and the United States built a partnership removing many obstacles to a comprehensive interaction between the two societies.

In 2016, President Obama visited Cuba with a focus on transcending the traumas of history and a policy of sanctions repudiated by the overwhelming majority of the international community. The visit was welcomed by almost every segment of Cuban civil society. During this visit, the widespread hope about a new era rose above the resentment expressed toward President Obama by the most radical elements of the Cuban Communist Party. The Cuban Catholic Church, the main protestant denominations, and the Jewish Community welcomed an approach that improved their chances for close relations with their brothers and sisters in faith in the United States. At the same time, Cuba’s emerging private sectors received tangible benefits and profits from the inflow of American visitors.

Unsurprisingly, Trump and his ally, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), cluelessly deviated from Secretary Henry Kissinger’s golden rule for negotiation with Cuba: “Behave chivalrously; do it like a big boy, not like a shyster.” Most of the new sanctions against Cuba were implemented amid the 2020 electoral race. Distrust in Cuba about Obama’s rapprochement as a mere change of imperial tactics, aired by the most radical Cuban left, was confirmed by Secretary of State Pompeo’s last minute gratuitous return of Cuba to the State Department list of state sponsors of terror. This damage has made engagement considerably more difficult and in need of some dramatic gesture in line with the dignity of a democratic great power.

Trump didn’t achieve anything in Havana, but his supporters’ disinformation campaign presenting President Obama as an appeaser touched some nerves within the Cuban American community. By stigmatizing any supporter of Obama-Biden’s engagement as a Castro sympathizer, Trump and Rubio rang the bells of McCarthyism and conspiracy theories within the Latino community. The Democratic Party was portrayed as a communist beachhead. 

By avoiding the discussion about the merits of Obama’s engagement policies, Florida Democrats surrendered a significant political space to Trump’s narrative. Trump succeeded without easing any migration restriction for Cubans, Venezuelans, or Nicaraguans. Using his stay in Mexico anti-immigration policy, Trump kept thousands of Cuban refugees from entering the United States, while increasing the number of deportations to the same archipelago Senator Rubio compared to Hitler’s Germany in senseless analogies. 

A win-win engagement

There is no rationale to argue in favor of half-measure engagement if the decision is to engage. U.S. sanctions against Cuba are not a human rights policy but a violation of the very human rights principles they purport to support. Biden’s policy towards Cuba must eliminate all the counterproductive sanctions contrary to international law and must attempt to implement full normalization of relations with Cuba predicated on Obama’s Presidential Policy Directive of October 2016. 

Adopting a full package of dialogue and rapprochement will multiply the impact of engagement measures in Cuba. For example, it makes no sense to ease travel to Cuba while preventing U.S. airlines from traveling to other cities but Havana. Moreover, given the notoriously electoral nature of the Trump administration’s hostility towards Cuba, it makes no sense to treat Trump’s actions as standard procedure while trying to change U.S. policies which have applied tightened sanctions for 25-years under the Helms-Burton Act’s imperial image.

In public diplomacy, a drastic cut from Trump’s policies will be better for American interests. U.S. diplomats will be in a better negotiating position if their marching orders are seen by Cubans as reflecting a full commitment to engagement. This perception will allow issue-linkage strategies when dealing with the Cuban government. It will also encourage the Cuban government on the path of reforms that are absolutely needed to overcome the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. A summer immigration crisis with thousands of Cubans trying to reach the American or Mexican shores in road to the U.S. southern border is not improbable. Is this in the interest of the Biden administration?

A Biden’s commitment to normalcy in U.S.-Cuba relations will expose all Cuban government’s self-limitations versus the U.S. government’s propensity to engage and respect international norms. A full engagement disposition will attract to the U.S. side the goodwill of Western allies like Canada, the European Union, and most of Latin America. Such an approach might even have spillovers in Cuba’s attitude towards a negotiated solution to the Venezuelan conundrum. After four years of a policy of America First, translated as America Only, it will be an act of productive humility to show some deference to the U.S. allies.

From a political perspective, President Biden should be reminded about his advice to Prime Minister Netanyahu in 2011 that “there’s no sense dying on a small cross.” The opposition by radical exiles will be the same if the president attempts a partial or a full normalization. Concurrently, the political benefits of engagement would multiply the sooner and the more comprehensive the rapprochement policy is adopted. 

Of course, normalization is a tango for two. If the Cuban government wants to reestablish lasting relations effectively with the United States, it must behave as a country, not as a revolutionary cause. It is in Cuba’s national interest to reduce as much as possible the relevance of the Cuban right-wing radicals in the swing state of Florida. This will be possible by reducing the bases for their grievances and opening economic opportunities for the Cuban diaspora. A mixed economy with rule of law and a more committed Cuban human rights policy is in the interests of Cuban society, regardless of what the United States does or says.

Engaging Cuba is not a favor to the Cuban Communist Party. By opening trade and travel to the island and opening American doors to as many Cubans as possible, the United States will influence how the Cuban people view their society and its place in the world. Developing business ties between the two countries, allowing Cubans to visit, work, and study in the United States, and easing visa restrictions as the Obama administration did, will increase the information flows between Cuba and the outside world.

U.S. interests in Cuba are advancing a gradual, peaceful, and well-ordered transition to a market economy and eventually a pluralistic democracy. Ideology aside, such an outcome is also optimal for the majority of Cubans. If there is a marketization of the Cuban economy, more openness and contacts between the Cuban people and its diasporas, and close ties with the United States, it will most likely happen. Not overnight, but it will happen faster and with better results than 60 years of sanctions and siege.

Arturo Lopez-Levy

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ON ANNIVERSARY OF OBAMA VISIT, CUBANS FRET OVER WHETHER BIDEN WILL RESUME DETENTE

Reuters, March 19, 20213:11 By Reuters Staff

Original Article

HAVANA (Reuters) – Five years after former U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Havana, many Cubans hope Joe Biden will also pursue detente but fret he will not do so as energetically after recent White House announcements.

Obama visited Havana in March 2016, the first trip by a U.S. president to Cuba in 88 years. It was the culmination of a diplomatic opening towards the Communist-run country, seeking to put an end to years of Cold War-era hostility.

His successor Donald Trump unraveled that detente and tightened the crippling U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, arguing that he would force democratic change.

Biden, who was vice president under Obama, vowed during his campaign to reverse Trump’s policy shifts that “have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights.”

But the White House said earlier this month a broader Cuba policy shift was not currently among Biden’s top priorities, even if it was “carefully reviewing policy decisions made in the prior administration, including the decision to designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

“I am very concerned that Biden will not continue in the same vein as Obama and will allow himself to be influenced by the politics of Cubans in Miami,” said retired Cuban economist Ileana Yarza.

Trump may have lost last year’s election but he did win the swing state of Florida, in part due to a Republican campaign to paint Biden as in hock to the radical left, a charge that hit home with the state’s large Cuban-American population.

The Cuban economy is now suffering its worst crisis since the fall of former benefactor the Soviet Union, partly due to a slew of new U.S. sanctions under Trump which ended cruises to Havana, limited flights, reduced remittances and dampened foreign investment.

Families separated by the Florida Straits are more divided than ever after he reduced the Havana embassy to skeletal staffing, following a series of unexplained illnesses among diplomats. Consular services for Cubans have been moved to third countries.

Sarah Batista, who runs a souvenir crafts shop in Old Havana, said private entrepreneurs like her had especially benefited from the detente and ensuing tourism boom.  “With Trump, please! Everything has been declining, you know? And now with the pandemic it is even more so,” she said.  “Hopefully, with this other president (Biden), we can have the same luck and the same opportunity that we had with Obama.”

The U.S. sanctions have hurt a state-run economy already smarting from its own inefficiencies and a decline in aid from ally Venezuela.   Proponents of the sanctions say it is these and the resulting economic squeeze that have forced Cuba to pick up market-style reforms once again lately. Critics underscore the cost to a population dealing with shortages of basic goods like food and medicine.

Analysts say it is still early days and Biden has many more pressing foreign policy issues after four years of the turbulent Trump presidency. But for Cubans, every extra day counts.

“In fact, already, the policies aren’t the same because there are no new sanctions,” said Carlos Alzugaray, a former Cuban diplomat.  “But everything that the previous (Trump) administration did that stands in the way of a return to the path of normalization has not begun to be reversed.”

Black flags outside the US Embassy in Havana, placed there by the Cuban Government, 1990s
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Nuevo Libro: 90 MILLAS. RELACIONES ECONÓMICAS CUBA-ESTADOS UNIDOS, 1898-2020

Editores: Azcona Pastor, José Manuel, y Santamaría García, Antonio.

Ficha técnica

Nº de páginas:                       471

Editorial:                               S.L. – DYKINSON

ISBN:                                     9788413772882

Año de edición:                     2021

Plaza de edición:                   ESPAÑA

Fecha de lanzamiento:         05/03/2021

COMPRAR LIBRO: 90 MILLAS

RESUMEN DEL LIBRO

Las relaciones entre Cuba y Estados Unidos han estado determinadas por el embargo a la isla que el gobierno de Washington estableció tras el triunfo de la revolución en 1959. Esa política no ha cambiado, aunque ha sufrido endurecimientos y también flexibilizaciones. Al llegar Barack Obama a la Casa Blanca inició una fase de normalización, coincidiendo con el avance de las reformas aperturistas en la Gran Antilla, iniciadas en la década de 1990, pero hasta hace poco discontinuas. Sin embargo, para ello empleó los recursos de relajación de las medidas que ofrecen las propias leyes del embargo. Es decir, sin modificarlo, lo que ha permitido a su sucesor, Donald Trump, restablecerlas en su versión más dura. Este libro estudia el problema de los vínculos entre los dos países desde comienzos del siglo XX desde la perspectiva de lo económico, que fue razón esencial de los mismos, y muestra cómo la falta de un sentido de estado y de conformidad con la influencia tuvo en la constitución de otro –Estados Unidos ocupó Cuba entre 1898 y 1902, tras su guerra de independencia– implicó dejarlas al juego de intereses particulares que rige el funcionamiento del sistema político norteamericano y que tal defecto los ha dotado de un asimetría que ha prevalecido a los cambios de coyuntura y circunstancias desde entonces, al triunfo de la revolución, al fin de la Guerra Fría.

INDICE GENERAL

Capítulo I. 90 millas. Relaciones económicas Cuba-Estados Unidos en perspectiva histórica. Antonio Santamaría García; José Manuel Azcona Pastor

Capítulo II. Avance y retroceso de los capitales norteamericanos en la industria cubana del azúcar, 1890-1959. Alejandro García Álvarez

Capítulo III. Proteccionismo y restricción de la oferta: los orígenes de los controles de producción de azúcar en Cuba y la relación comercial con Estados Unidos, 1921-193. Alan D. Dye

Capítulo IV. Ajustes al modelo de dominación: la política de Estados Unidos hacia Cuba tras la revolución de 1933. Oscar Zanetti Lecuona

Capítulo V. “Cuba sería un cementerio de deudores”. El problema de la moratoria en la década de 1930. Julio César Guanche

Capítulo VI. El nacionalismo moderado cubano, 1920-1960. Políticas económicas y relaciones con Estados Unidos. Jorge I. Domínguez

Capítulo VII. Relaciones comerciales azucareras Cuba-Estados Unidos, 1902-1960. Jorge Pérez-López

Capítulo VIII. Las relaciones Cuba-Estados Unidos desde la revolución hasta el periodo especial.Victor Bulmer-Thomas

Capítulo IX. Failed on all counts. El embargo de Estados Unidos a Cuba. Andrew Zimbalist

Capítulo X. La ventana de oportunidad que se abrió y se cerró: historia de la normalización de relaciones Estados Unidos-Cuba. Carmelo Mesa-Lago

Capítulo XI. El bloqueo económico en el contexto de las agresiones de Estados Unidos contra Cuba. Historia no contada y evolución reciente.José Luis Rodríguez

Capítulo XIII. Cuba-Estados Unidos: la gestión de las empresas cubanas. Ileana Díaz Fernández

Capítulo XIV. Viajes, remesas y trabajo por cuenta propia. Relaciones económicas entre los cubanos emigrados y su país de origen.Jorge Duany

Capítulo XV. El papel de los visitantes de Estados Unidos en la economía cubana. Historia y realidad. Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva; José Luis Perelló Cabrera

COMPRAR LIBRO: 90 MILLAS

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Wall Street Journal Editorial, BIDEN SHOULD RETURN TO ENGAGEMENT WITH CUBA

It would benefit ordinary Cubans and put the onus on the regime to respond.

By Editorial Board , Wall Street Journal

March 11, 2021, 8:00 a.m. EST

Original Article: Engagement with Cuba

USA and CUBA

House Democrats are reportedly pressing President Joe Biden to reverse U.S. policy on Cuba once again, returning to the detente that prevailed before Donald Trump took office. Biden should indeed take the first steps toward renewed openness — and put the onus on Cuba’s Communist leaders to respond.

As with so many of his predecessor’s policies, Trump was quick to declare the Obama administration’s rapprochement with Cuba a “bad deal” and began dismantling it wholesale, imposing or re-imposing more than 200 restrictions on travel, trade, and financial and diplomatic ties. The clampdown won Trump votes in southern Florida, but by almost any other measure it failed. Cuba’s Communist regime remains firmly entrenched. If anything, it’s grown even more dependent on U.S. rivals Venezuela, Russia and China. Hardliners in Havana have continued to crack down on dissent. Cuban entrepreneurs flourished when Americans were allowed to visit the island, but the combined impact of revived U.S. restrictions and the pandemic have left them struggling.

None of this serves U.S. interests. Under Obama, the U.S. and Cuba struck more than 20 agreements that addressed U.S. security concerns, on issues ranging from counter-narcotics to the environment. Biden should open the door to renewing such cooperation.

That will require lifting Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, which the Trump administration imposed in its closing days with no real justification. Biden will also need to restore frayed diplomatic ties — appointing an ambassador, staffing up the U.S. embassy (taking additional security precautions while the cause of a mysterious illness that struck U.S. diplomats in recent years remains under investigation), and resuming consular services so Cubans can travel to the U.S. again. The two sides should cooperate on public health to combat the pandemic and restart talks on security issues.

Further opening should focus for now on improving the lives of Cubans on and off the island. The administration should lift restrictions on remittances. And it should allow travel to the island, because American visitors are good for local enterprise. That means permitting flights to cities other than Havana and people-to-people exchanges, while drawing up a shorter “restricted list” of entities with which Americans are forbidden to do business.

Cuba shouldn’t expect the U.S. to lift more targeted sanctions, however, let alone the decades-old embargo — whose provisions are now codified into U.S. law — unless it begins to move, too. Among other things, that means addressing certified claims for property seized after the 1959 revolution, now estimated at nearly $9 billion with interest. Cuba’s leaders should play a constructive role in resolving the Venezuelan crisis and improve their record on human rights at home. The government has recently taken some steps to rationalize the country’s currency system and promote the private sector, but should do more to open the economy to outside investment. The Communist Party transition next month, when 89-year-old Raul Castro is scheduled to step down, offers a moment for the regime to affirm its intention to reform.

Stubborn and suspicious as they may be, Cuba’s leaders should remember two things. First, all these measures are in their nation’s own best interests. Second, any thaw in relations will be temporary unless Biden can point to results. The Cuban regime made a big mistake in failing to build on Obama’s initiative, leading many in the U.S. to conclude that engagement was pointless. The next detente will fail unless it benefits Americans and Cubans alike.

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CUBAN AMERICAN BUSINESS LEADERS CALL ON BIDEN ADMINISTRATION AND CUBAN GOVERNMENT TO MAKE ENGAGEMENT RESILIENT TO POLITICAL CYCLES

February 16, 2021
Contact: Ricardo Herrero
 C
In a newly published policy paper, the Cuba Study Group cites engagement as the best way to advance U.S. national interests, reassert regional leadership, and promote freer, more prosperous future for Cuban people


*Download the policy paper in English and Spanish versions.* 


Washington/Miami – The Cuba Study Group, a non-partisan organization comprised of Cuban-American business leaders and young professionals, published a policy paper on Tuesday calling renewed diplomatic engagement with Cuba vital to advancing U.S. national interests and to promoting a freer, more prosperous future for the Cuban people. The policy paper, delivered Tuesday morning to the White House, is the first comprehensive policy vision delivered to the Biden Administration by a prominent Cuban American organization, and challenges both the United States and Cuban governments to “strive to make the normalization of relations resilient in order to insulate progress from unpredictable political cycles.” 

The policy recommendations come just two weeks after the White House asserted that its efforts on Cuba policy will be grounded in support for democracy and human rights, and that Cuban-Americans are the best ambassadors for freedom in Cuba. The white paper, titled U.S.-Cuba Relations in the Biden Era: A Case for Making Engagement Resilient as a Means of Providing Long-Term Support for the Cuban People, which can be downloaded in English and Spanish versions on our website at www.cubastudygroup.org, calls for a new approach at engagement that puts long-term support for the Cuban people, and their well-being, at the center of U.S.-Cuba relations

“As the new Administration undertakes a review of standing Cuba policies, it’s important to communicate that simply reversing Trump era actions that unduly harmed the Cuban people during the last four years won’t be enough,” said Carlos Saladrigas, Chairman of the Cuba Study Group. “We believe the Cuban people at home and abroad hold the keys to more resilient relations between the United States and Cuba, and should be seen as partners in this effort. That means both governments must take proactive steps to strengthen ties between their nations’ civil societies and private sectors over the next four years. Only through deep and transparent socio-economic bonds will we be able to protect progress toward normalization against cyclical political winds.”

The policy paper reaffirms that the United States should continue to highlight Cuba’s democratic failings and continue to support actors across the Cuban spectrum working to ensure that greater economic and civic freedoms are guaranteed on the island. It cautions, however, that “strident denunciations of the failures of communism and absolutist conditions for sanctions relief are feeble substitutes for robust diplomacy” like the kind needed to empower the Cuban people to shape their own destinies.

The policy paper delineates three specific tracks:

  1. Restoring Support for the Cuban People as a Policy Priority and Rebuilding Trust
  2. Tackling the “Tough Stuff” and Making Normalization Stick Through High-Level, Direct Diplomacy
  3. Responding to Openness with Openness 

The first track lays out detailed policy recommendations for rolling back harmful Trump-era policies, as well as steps for restoring support for the Cuban private sector, resuming public health cooperation, restarting fundamental diplomatic functions, rebuilding trust, and better engaging Cuban-Americans as partners. The second recommends the designation of a special representative to tackle long unresolved disputes and to move forward on the negotiation of cooperation agreements. The track third argues for further openness to steps taken by the Cuban government, which has begun important reforms such as ending its dual currency and its recent expansion of the private sector. However, the Cuban government will need to recognize greater rights for its citizens to help cement progress and increase congressional support for further action on counterproductive Cuba sanctions or other targeted assistance. 

“While the Cuban government was slow to respond to many of the opportunities provided by renewed diplomatic relations in 2014, the Cuban people themselves made significant progress expanding the island’s nascent private sector and civil society,” added Ricardo Herrero, CSG Executive Director. “Cuban-Americans are ready to be constructive partners, and have long contributed to the future of the island. The Biden Administration has a window of opportunity to act, and to do so boldly, but Cuba must also do its part. Failure to lock in significant progress during the next four years could entrench another generation on both sides of the Florida Straits into the patterns of hostility and suspicion that have defined most of the past seven decades.”

“Cuban-Americans are clamoring for a legal framework that makes it possible to openly work with and invest alongside Cuban entrepreneurs, not only to help them succeed individually but also to bolster the island’s nascent private sector and improve the island’s economy,” added Karina Duquesne, a Cuba Study Group Young Professional Member and corporate attorney. “Now that Cuba has opened up much of its economy to private enterprise, enabling Cuban entrepreneurs to open bank accounts in the United States and authorizing American companies to provide business-to-business services to those entrepreneurs would help build a community of stakeholders vital to sustaining this new era of engagement.”

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BIDEN SHOULD ACT FAST ON CUBA

By William M. LeoGrande

Special to the Sun Sentinel |

Jan 28, 2021 at 10:09 AM

Original Article: Biden Should Act Fast on Cuba

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s last-minute ploys to poison the well of foreign relations with China, Iran and Cuba will force President Joe Biden to make repairing foreign policy a priority. China and Iran are intrinsically more important than Cuba, which poses no real threat to the United States. Nevertheless, there are good reasons for the president to move quickly to re-engage with Cuba as he promised during the campaign.

Cuba is a high-profile foreign policy issue because it played such an out-sized role as a focal point of Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. President Obama’s 2014 opening attracted global attention and praise as a historic achievement akin to President Richard Nixon’s opening to China. Quick action to re-engage with Cuba will send the message that Biden intends to have an active foreign policy, re-engaging with both allies and adversaries and rebuilding U.S. stature in the world.

Moreover, the humanitarian situation on the island justifies early action. The Trump administration has caused real hardship by blocking travel and the flow of remittances to Cuban families. If the new administration delays in fulfilling Biden’s campaign promise to reverse those sanctions, it will prolong the suffering of Cuban families unnecessarily.

Re-engagement is also the best way to support human rights. Although Cuban leaders have never been willing to make concessions about internal affairs in order to mollify Washington, human rights conditions in Cuba have been linked to U.S.-Cuban relations historically. When relations have improved, the human rights situation has improved as well; when relations have deteriorated, Cuban leaders’ heightened sense of threat has led to crackdowns on dissent. The best way to exert a positive influence on human rights in Cuba is to re-engage with the Cuban government while, at the same time, continuing to express our basic commitment to democracy and human rights.

The crisis in Venezuela poses another humanitarian challenge. The hardship endured by Venezuelans and the migration pressure on neighboring countries demands early attention.

President Trump’s failed policy of regime change has made matters worse, underscoring the reality that the only path back to democracy in Venezuela is through a negotiated political settlement. Given Cuba’s support for Nicolas Maduro’s government, Cuban cooperation will be necessary to achieve a Venezuelan settlement, just as it was necessary for ending the conflict in southern Africa in the 1980s. By re-engaging with Cuba sooner rather than later, the Biden administration can begin to create the conditions for progress in Venezuela.

Practically speaking, the upcoming Ninth Summit of the Americas, scheduled for late 2021 and hosted by the United States, is a decision-forcing event that will compel the new administration to formulate its policy toward Latin America, including Cuba. The summit will also provide an opportunity for President Biden to meet Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel — a meeting that would be more productive if the new administration has already taken steps to repair the damage done to relations by Trump.

Although the United States may not have as much at stake in relations with Cuba as it does elsewhere, the bilateral relationship offer a wide variety of opportunities for cooperation because Cuba is a near-neighbor. During President Obama’s last two years in office, the United States and Cuba signed 22 bilateral agreements on issue of mutual interests ranging from counter-narcotics to environmental protection.



Many contemporary foreign policy issues are transnational and can only be addressed through cooperation with our neighbors. On most of those issues, U.S. and Cuban interests coincide; significant progress can be made if Washington returns to a policy of engagement. For the Biden administration, delaying means delaying opportunities to advance U.S. interests.

Of all the foreign policy challenges that Biden faces, re-engaging with Cuba is among the easiest. The basic principles of re-engagement can be laid out quickly because they were well-defined in then-President Obama’s Oct. 14, 2016 policy directive.

Every sanction Trump imposed on Cuba was imposed unilaterally by executive authority, so they all can reversed the same way. Most could be retracted in a single package simply by returning the regulations that govern the U.S. embargo to their status on Jan. 20, 2017. A few of Trump’s actions will take longer to repair — removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and re-staffing the U.S. embassy in Havana. But much can be done in the meantime.

Since Biden’s election, Cuban leaders have expressed their interest in a better relationship based on cooperation and mutual respect. Washington should not wait for Havana to take the initiative. Trump broke off engagement with Cuba, so Biden should take the first steps to restore it — the sooner the better.

William M. LeoGrande is Professor of Government at American University in Washington, DC, and co-author with Peter Kornbluh of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana.

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UNITED STATES AGRICULTURE COALITION FOR CUBA ENCOURAGES BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO IMPROVE U.S. / CUBA AGRICULTURE RELATIONS

For Immediate Release January 14, 2021

Contact: Paul Johnson Phone: 773-814-2493; Email: usagcoalitionforcuba@gmail.com

Original Letter: USACC

United States Agriculture Coalition for Cuba Encourages Biden Administration to Improve U.S. / Cuba Agriculture Relations

The United States Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) today wrote to President-Elect Biden to urge a return to policies of engagement toward Cuba, for the sake of the U.S. national interest, to boost U.S. food exports to Cuba, and to support the development of beneficial relations between our countries’ agricultural sectors.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear Mr. President-Elect: The undersigned members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba congratulate you on your election victory and wish you every success in office.

We would like to offer our views on U.S. relations with our neighbors in Cuba.

We share your view that six decades of economic sanctions against Cuba have been ineffectual. Our sanctions hurt the Cuban people, limit American influence in Cuba, and antagonize friends and allies, while doing nothing to advance any U.S. interest.

A turn to policies of engagement will serve our national interest and benefit U.S. agriculture, which has long practiced many forms of engagement on a global scale. Freed of restrictions, we expect that ties between our agricultural sectors will produce important economic and humanitarian benefits and contribute to better relations between our peoples and governments. American strength in agricultural exports has been built over the years on the principle that all markets matter.

Cuba is an opportunity for U.S. farmers and ranchers: it imports $2 billion in food each year, less than ten percent from the United States. U.S. exports of potatoes, wheat, animal feed, dairy, poultry, rice, and other products stand to grow significantly.

U.S. farmers, businesses, private organizations, NGOs, and universities can work with Cuban counterparts on the challenges of increasing productivity, adapting to climate change, and building sound commercial strategies.

With Cuba now allowing its private sector to import and export, and also inviting foreign investment in private farm cooperatives, the opportunities for Americans to assist in the growth of that private sector have expanded

We offer these recommendations.

First, we urge you to resume efforts to normalize relations. We hope you make clear that neither our principles nor our interests are served by harming the Cuban economy and increasing hardship for the eleven million neighbors who live in it. We urge you to inform Congress that your Administration would welcome legislation to end the embargo entirely, should Congress choose to act.

Second, we urge early action to restore the Cuban Asset Control Regulations to those in place January 20, 2017 and to suspend Title III of the Helms-Burton Act of 1996. These regulatory steps are important to U.S. agriculture, to business generally, and to any Americans seeking to make a positive difference. Recent experience shows that U.S. travelers propel growth across Cuba’s private sector, benefiting many thousands of Cuban families.

Third, we urge you to support legislation to put U.S. exporters on an equal footing with our competitors by allowing us to negotiate trade terms including private financial credit.

Fourth, we urge resuming full operation of our Embassy in Havana as health considerations permit. The lack of consular and other operations impedes travel, business, and effective diplomacy. A full Embassy staff, which we hope will include U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel, can support continued work on the 2016 agriculture memoranda of understanding, especially in plant and animal health, and to create conditions for two-way trade, including Cuban exports. American agriculture supports a Cuba policy based on our broad national interests, enabling citizens and business across our country to engage freely.

We are confident that such a course will have strong bipartisan support, and we urge you to take it.

We appreciate your consideration of our views.

Sincerely,

 USA Rice Federation

National Corn Growers Association

American Soybean Association

US Grains Council

U.S. Wheat Associates

National Sorghum Producers

National Potato Council

National Association of Wheat Growers

National Onion Association

National Turkey Federation

US Dry Bean Council

Keesling Farms-Chase,

Kansas Isbell Farms-England,

 Arkansas American Feed Industry

Michigan Agri-Business Association

 Minnesota Department of Agriculture

 Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Iowa Corn Growers Association

Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture

Kansas Wheat Commission

 Hoverson Farms-Larimore,

North Dakota Sietsema Farms, Allendale,

Michigan Allied Potato-Bakersfield, California

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