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Monday, November 23, 2009

Lets Spell It Out

On the Foreign Policy Association’s Cuba blog, an excellent posting is made by Melissa Lockhart.
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The crux of her argument is this,
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“If the two sides cannot have open dialogue, then both will continue to be able to perpetuate misinformation about the other. And this creates what is perhaps the largest rift between the two countries.”
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Both countries need to keep making sincere efforts to talk with each other. Each country has experienced diplomats and there is plenty to discuss in an environment conducive to making progress. There is even a Cuban offer to discuss and release political prisoners on the table. But where are the negotiations? It does seem ridiculous when the President of the United States states publicly that there are no intentions or plans for military action in Cuba and the Cuban government’s responses are military invasion defense exercises on the island. This lack of trust and paranoia must be broken by some good will by both countries. We allowed Cuban Americans unfettered visits to their families in Cuba. But how was correcting a moral violation upon our own citizens by the Bush Administration a gesture to the Cuban government? We also now allow more telecommunications to enter Cuba. But no U.S. telecommunications business is taking place in Cuba. Why? Because we left out the most important part of that gesture – Cuba is still on the terror list of countries. Business in a more normal way with Cuba is not likely under that legal designation. It still costs a dollar a minute to call Cuba from the U.S. and Cuba is in dire need of expanding its internet capabilities.
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And what can Cuba do? Certainly it can make travel easier and less expensive for Cuban Americans visiting their families on the island. We will have a list of suggestions in a future posting. Both countries need to keep talking with each other, not at each other. When that happens, progress will occur.

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